The Innovator-in-Residence Program brings new ideas and expertise into the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)  to tackle a critical problem of shared interest between the Department and not-for-profit organizations.

Through the program, not-for-profit organizations can sponsor a paid fellowship to be filled by an individual with a background in entrepreneurship and innovation.

Innovators-in-Residence leverage the resources and expertise of both organizations – HHS and the sponsoring organization – during their appointment to work on a critical problem of common interest to HHS and the partner organization.

History of the HHS Innovator-In-Residence Program

In 2012, the first Innovator-in-Residence partnership was established between the West Health Institute and HHS. The first Innovator-In-Residence, Pierce Graham-Jones, helped to 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.

Since its establishment, four more Innovator-In-Residences have come to work at the Department on issues from patient data matching to the use of proximity sensors to influence behavior change.

How Does the Partnership Work?

At the outset, the IDEA Lab works with the IIR, his/her supervisor (the sponsor), and designated HHS mentors to develop a project concept and establish project goals that are mutually agreed upon.

Innovators-in-Residence are employees of the sponsor organization and participate in government activities through the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA). The IPA enables the exchange of talent between government and organizations for a wide array of practices. 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.

What Do the Application and Selection Process Look Like?

Step 1: Sponsoring organization proposes to the HHS IDEA Lab a common area of interest in which the Innovator-In-Residence would focus.

Step 2: HHS and the sponsoring organization finalize an agreement.

Step 3: The HHS IDEA Lab and the sponsoring organization solicit applications for the position.

Step 4: Applicants are reviewed by the HHS IDEA Lab and sponsoring organization. Together, the HHS IDEA Lab and sponsoring organization make a final selection.

Nag Murty, a former Innovator-in-Residence, shares why you should consider applying to be an Innovator-in-Residence.

Who Can Be an Innovator-In-Residence?

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.  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.

Why Should I Apply?

The Innovator-in-Residence gets a unique learning opportunity that offers access and career-shaping windows to understanding federal government and affecting change.  As part of the IDEA Lab, the IIR gets a distinct vantage point of a space in government that sits at the intersections of health care, technology, entrepreneurship and innovation. Finally, the IIR has an opportunity to meaningfully tackle a critical issue.

What About Salary and Logistics?

During the period of the project, the Innovator-In-Residence remains an employee of the sponsoring organization. The sponsor is expected to support the salary commensurate with the experience, 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.

How Do I Apply?

We have just completed our recruiting efforts for an Innovator-in-Residence in partnership with the West Health Institute.

Additional opportunities will be announced and posted as available.  So please do check back. 

Why would sponsoring an IIR be valuable to your organization?

Read about the benefits and the impacts of our alumni

Who Can Be an Sponsoring Organization?

Eligible sponsoring organizations are non-profit organizations, non-federal government agencies, and academic institutions.

What Types of Problems Can We Propose?

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.

How Can I Apply to Be A Sponsoring Organization?

If your organization is interested in becoming a sponsoring organization or has additional questions regarding eligibility, please email

Adam Culbertson

staff-adam-culbertsonAdam is currently a HIMSS Innovator-In-Residence, working at HHS, with a focus on patient matching. Adam has years of biomedical research experience including industry and academia. He has completed biomedical informatics fellowships at both the National Library of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute. He is passionate about using technology and entrepreneurial solutions to solve problems facing America’s health care system.


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.

Mona Siddiqui

Photo of Mona Siddiqui Mona Siddiqui, MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a practicing physician with a background in health services research, comparative effectiveness research, and training in quality improvement methods. As an Innovator-in-Residence, she will collaborate with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to promote policies and programs that support successful aging. Her primary areas of interest are delivery system innovations and the role of incentives in promoting provider and beneficiary behavior change. She has published on the impact of cost-sharing on beneficiary utilization patterns, incentive design structures for primary care physicians, and reforming physician payment. Prior to coming to coming to the IDEA Lab, Mona was leading work in the health space for the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team. She has previously worked in the Office of the Director at the National Institutes of Health and as a fellow in the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. She received her MD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and her MPH in quantitative methods from the Harvard School of Public Health.

About West Health

West Health is dedicated to pioneering new and smarter technologies, policies and practices to make high-quality healthcare more accessible at a lower cost to all Americans. Our focus is supporting and creating healthcare delivery models that enable seniors to successfully age on their own terms, preserving and protecting their dignity, quality of life and independence.


Nag Murty

Naganand "Nag" Murty

Nag’s work as an IIR focused on health care product, process and delivery innovation. He brought 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.

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 birth-weight 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 explored new ideas in patient engagement and aiding behavior change, within the context of complex chronic disease management and workplace wellness.

Pierce Graham Jones

Pierce Graham Jones

Pierce Graham Jones was the 1st Innovator-in-Residence and was sponsored by the
West Health Institute. During his fellowship, he helped establish a platform for creating applications and services around CMS Blue Button enabled personal health data. This relationship helped establish many new business partners for West Health and the launch of the Center for Medical Interoperability, a separate organization led by hospitals and health systems to help drive interoperability of medical technologies.

Contact Information

Greg Downing, Executive Director for Innovation,