The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the CIO (OCIO) has named Greg Singleton the agency’s next Chief AI Officer (CAIO), effective Feb. 28. Singleton takes over for Oki Mek, who was the first-ever CAIO at the agency, an HHS spokesperson confirmed to MeriTalk.

Singleton has been at HHS for more than four years. Mek departs for the private sector after more than 11 years at the agency.

“We are fortunate to count on Greg’s wealth of experience as we build on the remarkable track record of the OCIO team,” an agency spokesperson said in a statement. “It’s important to recognize Oki Mek for his dedication and outstanding service as the very first CAIO.  He built a strong foundation and greatly advanced the Department’s AI efforts during his time at HHS.”

Singleton becomes just the second person to hold the CAIO title at HHS. He served as a senior advisor to the CIO since January 2021, and at the agency since October 2017. In his most recent role, Singleton multi-tasked as a program manager for many of the agency’s critical data systems in its COVID-19 response. Prior to that he served as the director of HHS’ Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center.

Mek was named the CAIO in December 2020, after more than a decade climbing the ranks at the agency. He began his HHS career as an information system security officer in October 2010 and held six more posts at the agency before being named CAIO, including being a senior advisor to the HHS CIO. Prior to that he had been a contractor at the Department of Energy for nearly eight years.

Singleton will now pick up the work of his predecessor, which Mek laid out in his HHS AI strategy in January 2021. That same strategy established an AI council at the agency.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.