• Ideas

HHS Innovator-in-Residence

What Is HHS Innovator-in-Residence Pathway?

Solving Shared Problems Through Partnerships. First established in 2012, the Innovator-in-Residence Program brings new ideas and expertise into HHS programs through collaboration between the Department of Health and Human Services and private sector not-for-profit organizations.

The HHS Innovator-in-Residence is a partnership in which private, not-for-profit organizations sponsor a position to be filled by an individual with an entrepreneurial and innovative background to work on a problem of common interest to HHS and the partner organization.

Why was the HHS Innovator-in-Residence Pathway Developed?

The HHS Innovator-in-Residence (IIR) pathway was developed as a way in which non-governmental agencies can partner with HHS to support talented individuals who can work as experts on important projects and issues. We identified a need for an influx of outside talent and expertise to help tackle some of the biggest challenges in government and health care. The IIR pathway gives HHS and outside organizations a way of partnering to take on these challenges together.

Past and Current Activity

The first HHS IIR, Pierce Graham-Jones, sponsored by the West Health Institute, helped develop and release the first set of standards for Blue Button data sharing, establish the Health Data Consortium’s Health Data Affiliates network, and assist in the development of a Million Hearts Challenge.

There are currently two HHS IIR partnerships, one with the West Health Institute, with Innovator-in-Residence Nag Murty focusing on patient engagement, and one with the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), which will focus on patient data matching.


Eligibility Requirements to be an IIR
This collaborative program jointly supports individuals new to government in 1- or 2-year positions that have a high level of demonstrated knowledge in key technology or programmatic areas.  Persons serving as an IIR are employees of the sponsor and participate in government activities through the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) which enables the exchange of talent between government and organizations for a wide array of practices.  The types of talent that are typically sought for the IIR position may include expertise in engineering, design expertise, computer science, software programming, complex adaptive systems design, and architecture development, among other areas.  In each case, the desired applicant should have strong entrepreneurial experience or ambitions, and knowledge of lean design or agile software development is preferred.

During the period of the project, the IIR remains an employee of the sponsor.  The sponsor is expected to support the salary commensurate with the experience, and typically in the range of a GS 14/15 position, and provide benefits typically associated with an equivalent position.  HHS will provide space and administrative support, technology platforms, supplies, equipment and additional resources as needed in the work scope.  The HHS CTO may play a role in evaluating finalist candidates for the IIR position.  HHS will also provide the necessary training in areas important to the work in addition to required training on privacy and security, conflict of interest, and other ethics issues.  HHS may support travel and administrative needs on an ad hoc basis.  Information regarding intellectual property management and sharing principles is available upon request.

Eligibility Requirements to be a Sponsoring Organization
Eligible sponsoring organizations are non-profit organizations, non-federal government agencies, and academic institutions.  If an organization has not previously participated in an IPA employee exchange with HHS, an application is submitted and reviewed for approval before the project is started.  At the outset, the IIR pathway manager works with IIR candidate, the employee’s supervisor (the sponsor), and designated HHS mentors to develop a project concept and establish project goals that are mutually agreed upon.  Typically, the targeted problems are ones that are important for public health, relate to improvements in health and health care, and have significant policy and technology components.

If your organization is interested in becoming a sponsoring organization or has additional questions regarding eligibility, please email idealab@hhs.gov.

How to Apply

HHS IIR positions are open on a rolling basis. Eligible applicants can submit an application to the sponsoring organization.

Current open applications:

Current Innovator-in-Residences

Nag Murty is the current West Health Innovator in Residence. Nag’s work is focussed on healthcare product, process and delivery innovation. He bring a combination of business, technical and operational skills to the table acquired through experience in startups, management consulting and venture finance. He has been educated at Stanford University and IIT Bombay.

Most recently, prior to joining the IIR program, Nag co-founded a medical device company – Embrace – out of a design class at Stanford. He helped raise multi-million dollar funding from marquee Silicon Valley investors, and built up the company into an 80-person team across US and India.   At Embrace, he oversaw the innovation, development and commercialization of Embrace’s first product – the Embrace Nest - an innovative approach towards warming low birthweight and premature newborns. The product has impacted over 50,000 lives till date across 7 countries, at 1/100th of the cost of traditional incubators.

Nag is currently exploring new ideas in patient engagement and aiding behavior change, within the context of complex chronic disease management and workplace wellness. If you have ideas or would like to collaborate, please email him at nvmurty@westhealth.org

LinkedIn profile: www.linkedin.com/pub/naganand-nag-murty/3/338/b00/

Current Sponsoring Organizations

West Health Institute - The West Health Institute is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) medical research organization whose mission is to lower health care costs by developing innovative patient-centered solutions that deliver the right care at the right place at the right time.

Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) - HIMSS is a global, cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information technology (IT). HIMSS leads efforts to optimize health engagements and care outcomes using information technology.

HHS Innovator-in-Residence Projects

Below is the HHS Innovator-In-Residence Project Gallery. Each project is associated with one of our Pathways which is denoted with a Pathway logo (HHS Innovator-in-Residence Logo, Innovator-in-Residence Icon). To read more about each project click on the beaker icon (beaker icon) under the project title.


Automate Blue Button Project
Automate Blue Button Initiative
hhs-innovator-in-residence Beaker: Automate Blue Button Initiative
Health Data Consortium Affiliates Network
Health Data Consortium Affiliates Network
hhs-innovator-in-residence Beaker: Health Data Consortium Affiliates Network
Project Boundary
Project Boundary
hhs-innovator-in-residence Beaker: Project Boundary
Project Sandbox
Project Sandbox
hhs-innovator-in-residence Beaker: Project Sandbox
Million Hearts Initiative
The Million Hearts Risk Check Challenge
hhs-innovator-in-residence Beaker: The Million Hearts Risk Check Challenge

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