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Oregon Health Authority Names Carolyn Lawson CIO

Carolyn Lawson is a well known IT official in California state government.

Carolyn Lawson has been named CIO of the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), the agency announced Thursday, May 19.

Lawson currently serves as director of the California eServices office and deputy director of the state’s Technology Services and Governance Division. She will assume her new post in Oregon on July 1, replacing former OHA CIO Rick Howard, who left last year.

OHA’s new technology chief has a background in using technology for open government and was previously the CIO of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). While at CPUC, Lawson led an effort to bring cloud computing to the agency and has extensive experience in website re-design in various projects for California state government.

“In Oregon, we have to get high value out of every project and one of the things for the hiring committee that stood out about Carolyn is she is able to deliver IT projects on time and on budget,” said Patty Wentz, OHA’s communications director.

Wentz said that public transparency and citizen access to government is a high priority in Oregon, and Lawson shares that vision. Wentz added that Lawson will be very involved in OHA’s website redesign as the agency looks to freshen up its Web presence.

In addition to her work in California, Lawson serves on the advisory board of Code for America, a nonprofit that pairs Web developers and cities to advance Web applications that benefit the public good.

OHA and Oregon’s Department of Human Services share an Office of Information Services. Lawson will be a part of leadership teams of both agencies.

“In a time when our work is dependent on effective technology as a tool for everything from client services to public communication and our agencies are going through great change, Carolyn is a strong leader who will bring a vision of open government and efficiency to our agencies while sharing our strong values of caring and public service,” said Dr. Bruce Goldberg, director of OHA, in a statement.

Lawson was named as one of InformationWeek’s top-10 “Innovators in Government” in 2009. Lawson is currently pursuing a master's degree in information systems at Harvard University.


Miriam Jones is a former chief copy editor of Government Technology, Governing, Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.