The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has developed an AI strategy to enable AI fluency and adoption across the enterprise. The strategy also establishes an AI Council to oversee the agency’s AI implementation efforts.

“As the Department builds upon its current capabilities and adapts to a changing environment and emerging technology, HHS recognizes that [AI] will be a critical enabler of its mission in the future,” the guidance says.

The guidance outlines the strategic approach for HHS regarding AI, and says that “HHS Divisions will continue to lead in identifying opportunities for mission-driven AI solutions, mitigating risks appropriately, against a shared framework of Federal and departmental guidance.” HHS and its divisions will be responsible for regulating and overseeing AI use in the health industry, as well as funding programs, grants, and research that leverage AI-based solutions to deliver outcomes.

The AI Council established with this strategy will “communicate and champion” HHS’ AI vision and ambition, and “execute and govern the implementation of the enterprise AI strategy and key strategic priorities to scale AI across the department.” To accomplish this, the AI council will:

  • Set and execute priorities;
  • Cultivate partnerships;
  • Provide governance support; and
  • Sponsor a community of practice comprised of AI practitioners.

Release of the AI strategy comes shortly after the department named Oki Mek its first Chief AI Officer in Dec. 2020. Mek had already been working on AI innovation for HHS as a Senior Adviser to the HHS CIO prior to being named to the new CXO-level position.

“Ultimately, this strategy is the first step towards transforming HHS into an AI fueled enterprise,” the agency guidance says. “This strategy lays the foundation upon which the AI Council can use to drive change across the Department by encouraging the application of AI to promote advances in the sciences, public health, and social services – improving the quality of life for all Americans.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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