About the HHS Office of the Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer (OCAIO)

Given the immense potential for artificial intelligence (AI) to improve health and human services, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) established an AI Office, appointing its first Chief AI Officer, Oki Mek, in March 2021. HHS is aligned with the federal government’s commitment to “maintain American leadership in AI” (Executive Order 13859) – and “promote the use of trustworthy AI” (Executive Order 13960).

The HHS Office of the Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer (OCAIO) aims to facilitate effective collaboration on AI efforts across HHS agencies and offices.

The primary functions of OCAIO are to:

  • Drive implementation of the HHS AI strategy
  • Stand up the HHS AI governance structure,
  • Coordinate the HHS response to AI-related federal mandates, and
  • Foster collaboration across HHS agencies and offices. 

2021 Accomplishments

In 2021, OCAIO helped advance AI and machine learning within HHS by:

  • Publishing a Trustworthy AI Playbook that includes HHS-specific guidance on major trustworthy AI concepts and how to confidently use and deploy AI solutions. The playbook enables HHS agencies and offices to deploy AI applications that meet HHS and federal government standards set forth in Executive Order 13960, providing standard procedures for deploying different types of AI solutions.
  • Launching an AI Community of Practice (CoP) comprised of AI practitioners across HHS, including data scientists, machine learning experts, mathematicians, system developers, computer programmers, solution architects, health scientists, and program leaders.
  • Finalizing the approach for launching the AI Council. The council, once launched, will govern implementation of the HHS AI Strategy and provide HHS agencies and offices with a body of diverse AI experts to develop AI guidance, implement AI priorities, cultivate partnerships, and support the AI Community of Practice. 
  • Facilitating the HHS response to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memo 21-06 (Guidance for Regulation of AI Applications), providing a comprehensive view into the department’s authorities to regulate AI and demonstrating HHS’ commitment to transparency in its involvement around AI.

2022 Priorities

The AI Office will continue advancing AI and machine learning throughout HHS in 2022 through the following activities:  

  • Cultivate AI fluency, skillsets, and awareness through the AI Community of Practice (CoP). The CoP will continue to provide a medium for AI practitioners from across HHS to connect with peers and identify opportunities for collaboration, shared AI solutions, and resource scaling.
  • Communicate emerging AI innovations across health industry by hosting AI Lunch & Learn sessions for HHS staff.
  • Provide and expand AI guidance and governance by standing up the AI Council to provide strategic oversight around AI as its use is accelerated throughout HHS. The AI Council will support AI strategy execution and develop strategic AI priorities and guidance across HHS agencies and offices as trustworthy AI solutions are deployed. 
  • Promote ethical, trustworthy AI use and development by expanding the Trustworthy AI Playbook.
  • Encourage health AI innovation and research and development by developing a robust AI Use Case Inventory that will allow HHS staff track how and where AI applications are deployed.

Contact Information

For questions or more information regarding OCAIO please contact hhs.caio@hhs.gov

Staff Positions

Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer
Oki Mek

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