Health and Human Services CTO Bryan Sivak to Leave Feds

As a thought leader in open data disruption and out-of-the-box procurement methods, Sivak championed numerous initiatives after taking the position in June 2012.

by / March 30, 2015
Health and Human Services CTO Bryan Sivak hosts the 2014 Health Datapalooza in Washington D.C. where he spoke about the department's many initiatives to improve health through open data. Jason Shueh

At the end of April, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will lose Bryan Sivak, its chief technology officer.

An HHS staff email, obtained by Government Technology, confirmed the departure, and marked the end of Sivak’s prolific impact on the federal agency. As a thought leader in open data disruption and out-of-the-box procurement methods, Sivak championed numerous initiatives after taking the helm from his predecessor Todd Park in June 2012.

Some of his notable contributions include founding the HHS Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship and Action (IDEA) Lab; establishing the HHS Buyer’s Club for better procurement; and spearheading a national campaign to expand open data across the agency’s many state and federal organizations. The HHS Ignite Accelerator, a program housed within Sivak’s IDEA lab, has funded and incentivized dozens of department projects, endeavors that have optimized processes, and in some cases, saved HHS thousands.  

“Since joining us in 2012, Bryan has been a force for promoting innovation across the department, designing and deploying initiatives that improve the performance of the department for those we serve, and for our employees,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell in the email.

“Bryan has championed some of the department’s most innovative projects. The HHS IDEA Lab has built an ‘investment pipeline’ through the HHS Ignite Accelerator and Ventures Fund, which has provided tools, resources and training to department employees to experiment with groundbreaking ideas. The IDEA Lab has also been at the forefront of liberating departmental data, and in promoting private- sector collaborations to find novel applications for our data,” Burwell added.

Calls and emails to HHS for comment on Sivak’s exit and next steps were not immediately returned. However, it can be expected that the HHS IDEA Lab will continue under Read Holman, the lab’s program manager and Sivak’s senior advisor of internal entrepreneurship. Further, Damon Davis, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services director of health data initiative, continues to rally the lab’s open data campaign efforts.

In a November 2014 interview with Government Technology, Sivak said he hoped his work would help to ensure innovation was institutionalized at HHS, and most importantly, that it became a process independent of any one leader or administrator.

“In the 21st century, things are changing at such a rapid pace, both from a technology perspective and from a societal perspective, that if we want government to be effective, then we need to have an organization that can be proactive — or immediately reactive — without the constraints and confines bureaucracy places on it,” Sivak said.

Check back for more updates on this developing story.