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Roussel Named CIO, Deputy Director for State Public Health

Veteran technologist and executive John Roussel, who describes himself as an “enterprise change agent,” was promoted this month from chief technology officer and assistant deputy director of the California Department of Public Health.

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The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has named John Roussel, a veteran state tech executive, to be its chief information officer and deputy director. He began in his new role this month.

For the past year, Roussel had been assistant deputy director and chief technology officer for CDPH. The department had been recruiting for the position for at least six months.

In his LinkedIn profile, Roussel describes himself as “a transformational leader.”

“This is a very complex, continually evolving, responsive, health-centric ecosystem which is focused on meeting ongoing public health needs and emerging public health threats,” Roussel says, adding that he strives “to advance and strengthen foundational capabilities and services” and invest “in critical areas essential for supporting this health ecosystem and advancing resilient public health operations.”

In his new role, Roussel will oversee an annual IT budget of about $70 million and a large project portfolio.

The position, a Career Executive Assignment, “has full management responsibility for a large, complex, multidisciplined organization and oversees an annual IT budget of approximately $70 million and the large IT project portfolio” within the IT Services Division, according to the job posting at the time.

Roussel will establish enterprise IT governance protocols and set strategic direction through the formulation of an IT strategic plan, as per the recruitment announcement. He is responsible for the management of more than 314 state staffers.

“I have over 20 years of practical experience in IT business management,” Roussel says in his profile, “implementing effective approaches such as governance, intake and demand management, cost optimization, enterprise portfolio management and digital transformation to maximize IT spend and drive improved business value.”

Roussel has a deep background in state government, working in architecture, network architecture and other roles with the state Franchise Tax Board and the California Health and Human Services Agency. He moved up to the role of chief enterprise architect and branch chief with the Department of Health Care Services, then assistant deputy director for the IT Services Division of the California State Lottery. From that role, he was named CDPH CTO and assistant deputy director a year ago, followed by this month’s appointment as CIO and deputy director.

In his LinkedIn profile, Roussel describes his approach to his role: “As an enterprise change agent, I emphasize a strategic approach to future state innovation. This approach is based on four strategic pillars: public health program partnership; advanced public health information analytics; services leveraging flexible, scalable technology backbones; and a maturation of information technology operations and processes.

“In addition, I support the advancement of cloud migration, leveraging cloud technologies and platform systems (to) drive the rapid delivery of resilient business services. This forms the basis of an agile responsive framework to expanded data access and interoperability; enable data-driven decision-making and advanced analytics to inform and optimize decisions, solve problems, and improve performance; and execute disease surveillance, licensing, certification, and vital health and safety programs.”

He adds: “I will continue to promote and nurture a culture of diversity, trust, and accountability as well as drive innovative transformative solutions in public health and meet the rapidly growing demands on our technology infrastructure, technology leaders, and IT staff.”
Dennis Noone is Executive Editor of Industry Insider. He is a career journalist, having worked as a reporter and editor at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies in California, Nevada, Texas and Virginia, including as an editor with USA Today in Washington, D.C. He lives in Northern California.