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Vid Desai Steps Up as FDA Acting CIO

FDA’s CTO takes on the new role amid Principal Deputy Commissioner Amy Abernethy’s departure.

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Vid Desai joined FDA at chief technology officer in 2019. Photo Credit: Food and Drug Administration

Food and Drug Administration CTO Vid Desai is now also acting CIO following the departure of Principal Deputy Commissioner and Acting CIO Dr. Amy Abernethy.

Desai joined the agency in August 2019 from the private sector and has worked in tandem with Abernethy to advance FDA’s public health goals through emerging technologies, including developing modern and more integrated IT systems and advanced analytics.

Abernethy, who resigned from her post last month, had been serving in her role since April 2019. Since that time she led the agency’s data and technical vision and execution — also ensuring the agency had the data support it needed during the pandemic to quickly and efficiently approve COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.

“Despite the pandemic and teleworking, I was very pleased to see the FDA teams give a great send off to Amy. Amy made impressive progress in our journey toward tech and data modernization at the FDA,” Desai said in a LinkedIn post.

Abernethy worked with Desai to stand up the agency’s Technology Modernization Action Plan (TMAP) and the Data Modernization Action Plan (DMAP), strategies to provide patients and clinical care providers with better tools and data in support of public health initiatives. As acting CIO, Desai will now lead these efforts along with FDA Chief Data Officer Ram Iyer.

“FDA was looking for someone who could drive change and make transformational changes,” he said on a recent GovCast episode. “We are going to have to think differently, and we’re going to have to drive change. That’s the traction for me.”

“I now look forward to the awesome responsibility to get the FDA team to at least a few higher camps if not the summit itself,” Desai said in his announcement.

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