CommunityHealth IT, Inc. (CommHIT) is a 501(c)(6) at the Kennedy Space Center that was established in 2011 at the request of Florida stakeholders (e.g., leadership of learning institutions, economic development, medical facilities, behavioral health, schoolboard, VA).
CommHIT’s purpose is to connect communities to improve community health and medical community financial viability through:
- Community-based Health Information Exchange — MyHealthStory
- Connections to Care through Transportation — MyHealthDrīv
- Community-engaged Research — OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium & Data Trust
- Digital Connectivity — CommHIT FCC-approved Consortium
- Digital Security & Risk Management — Population Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (PH-ISAC) and the Community & Transportation ISAC (C&T-ISAC)
- Workforce Development — DoL-supported Rural Roads to Connected Care and Tech Quest Apprenticeship Programs
CommHIT is endorsed by Enterprise Florida, the business development arm of the state of Florida. CommHIT was developed through two federal Rural Health Network Development grants (awarded in 2008 and 2011). The grant projects’ overarching purpose was to ensure that no communities would get left behind in the digital divide as healthcare delivery became electronic with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. CommHIT prioritizes the patient, social factors, and the local workforce in the care continuum.
Meet the Team
Kendra Siler, PhD
Dr. Siler is a nationally-recognized leader in technologies and policies to support communities’ needs, digital security, information sharing, and interoperability. She has over 20 years of experience in technology architecture design and community capacity building for complex healthcare, transportation, and communication issues. As President and CEO of CommHIT at Kennedy Space Center, Dr. Siler connects individuals to their patient health information and health-related resources, securely and privately. She was an appointed stakeholder advisor to the White House Office of American Innovation and works in an advisory role to several federal agencies.
Starting in 2008, Dr. Siler led the development of one of the first operational community-based Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) for rural and underserved patients; this HIE was appointed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow veteran-initiated electronic sharing of their My HealtheVet health records with civilian providers to improve veterans’ healthcare access.
She is a member of the HHS CISA Task Group and was a keynote panelist at the 2017 HHS healthcare cybersecurity initiative inaugural event alongside the HHS Chief Information Officer. Dr. Siler was the primary writer of 2019 federal award-winning Technical Section Volume 1 of the “Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices” (HICP) that is being widely distributed nationwide by HHS to help healthcare organizations of all sizes improve their cybersecurity practices.
She is an appointed expert for the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Transportation Research Board Panel for Emergency Management in State Transportation Agencies.
Dr. Siler received her PhD from the University of Florida Department of Microbiology and Cell Science where she specialized in Immunology and Biochemistry. In 2000, she was inducted into Gamma Sigma Delta (ΓΣΔ), the Honor Society of Agriculture, for excellence in her work in animal sciences. She received a National Research Service Award (NRSA) Fellowship to do post-doctoral research at the McKnight Brain Institute. During her time at the McKnight Brain Institute, she also started working on combining technologies to improve community health and the best ways to protect the privacy and security of centralized data.
Dr. Siler developed the Care Coordination Neighborhood model, the foundation for MyHealthDrīv. She also spearheaded the development of the American Planning Association (APA)-recognized Community Health Element that is in the Alachua County Comprehensive Plan; this was one of the State of Florida’s first county health elements.
For Dr. Siler’s depth and breadth of work in helping the nation’s rural health systems adopt HIT, she received a 2013 Critical Access and Rural Hospital Champion Award from the head of the U.S. Office of the National Coordinator. Her work focuses on HIT, innovative healthcare access models, patient safety, and connected communities.
David C. Willis, MD
Dr. Willis is a Board Certified Family Physician who has served as Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) for Munroe Regional Medical Center and Chief Medical Officer for the Heart of Florida Federally Qualified Health Center, a NCQA Level-3 Certified Medical Home with eight clinical locations offering the following services: pediatric and adult medicine and dental, maternity, and behavioral health. He continues his clinical practice in a Direct Primary Care practice in Ocala, Florida.
Dr. Willis completed his undergraduate training in mathematics at Stetson University and obtained his Medical Doctorate at University of South Florida. He completed his training at the Florida Hospital Family Practice Residency in Orlando in 2000, and then returned to Ocala to practice. Starting in 2005, he was instrumental in establishing Healthy Ocala, one of the first community-based HIEs.
As CommHIT’s CMIO, Dr. Willis merges his clinical and technology expertise to assist medical providers and social service organizations with cybersecurity, community engagement research, and better uses of technology to improve community health. Dr. Willis also serves as CommHIT’s Honest Broker for the OneFlorida Data Trust Program.
For Dr. Willis’ depth and breadth of work in helping the nation’s rural health systems adopt health information technologies, Dr. Willis received a 2013 Critical Access and Rural Hospital Champion Award from the U.S. Office of the National Coordinator.
Kevin Salzer, MSP, AICP
Kevin Salzer is CommHIT‘s Chief Technology Officer. Before dedicating his efforts to CommHIT, Salzer served as the Transportation Innovation Officer for Jacksonville Transportation Authority in Jacksonville, Florida. He developed and applied strategies to adapt emerging technologies and diverse transportation modes to better move people in Northeast Florida—a rural and urban mixed landscape. Salzer’s experience in Applied Researcb comes from his prolific work as a Senior Research Associate at the University of South Florida’s Center of Urban Transportation Research (CUTR). There he performed applied research on emerging technology solutions including connected vehicles, shared mobility, transit operations, service planning, health access, and emergency food systems.
Salzer served as one of four US expert delegates on the International Standards Organization (ISO) TC204 Work Group 8 for Intelligent Transport Systems.
Within the US, he served on two national Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) panels. TCRP is an applied research program sponsored by the US Federal Transit Administration that develops near-term, practical solutions to problems facing public transportation.
Salzer holds a Master of Science Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Florida State University and has been a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners since 2012.
Gwen Garris, the founder and owner of G2 Telecom, is the CommHIT Consortium Federal Funding Specialist. Garris supports the financial viability of healthcare facilities and education systems with two federal programs: the Healthcare Connect Fund and E-Rate Programs.
Prior to establishing G2 Telecom, Garris served as a Wireless Business Solutions Consultant and Account Manager. As an Independent Agent, she represented various wireless carriers: Sprint, Nextel, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. Along with wireless services experience, Garris has represented several software and hardware products as well as business services, ranging from location-based services, time-clock integration, payroll, and more recently, customized telecom restructuring for businesses.
Garris attributes her longevity in the industry to establishing rock solid client relationships. She prides herself in being accessible and available to work with clients through detailed and complex funding requests. Garris builds long-term relationships based on trust and respect by consistently delivering results while minimizing the burden on clients’ staff time.
Andrew Post, MA
Post serves as CommHIT’s VP of Operations. He administers the CommHIT’s Florida Department of Education-registered Technology and Apprenticeship (THAP) and is the Project Director of CommHIT’s Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network Program grant program entitled Community Connected Care Workforce (or C3w+ for short). Post began working with CommHIT in 2011, where he assisted in identifying and securing community partners, establishing budgets for identified projects, coordinating community meetings, and submitting reports to state and federal partners. Post has a BS degree in Sociology and a MA in Applied Sociology with an emphasis in Health and Human Service.
Deidra Newman, MBA, HCM
Newman is recognized for her 25+ years of community relations, marketing, and business development. She’s best known for igniting audiences and creating impactful, meaningful change while building positive stakeholder relationships. As CommHIT’s Communications Director, Newman builds profound, long-lasting relationships with workforce professionals and employers to meet workforce demands in occupations that are drastically needed and equally under-represented in patient care, behavioral health, health technology, transportation, and digital security. While serving as board chair for the North Florida Rural Healthcare Workforce Development Network with The Florida State College of Medicine, Newman applied her grant management experience on multiple federal HRSA HIT grants.
There, she led the team to organize and facilitate training, recruitment, and retention of healthcare professionals in rural communities, Healthcare and HIT, to increase access and foster economic development in rural and high unemployment areas.Newman founded Validity, the first military spouse magazine dedicated to motivation, support, and inspiration for military spouses, distributed to over a million military families worldwide. She established critical relationships with key military commands of all military branches, which led her work to be recognized by military and civilian organizations and media outlets. She received the Pacific Air Force (PACAF) Family Readiness and the Secretary of Defense Outstanding Public Service Awards. Newman is passionate about making a meaningful impact by improving lives for generations. Newman holds a MBA and Healthcare Management (HCM) from Saint Leo University.
Lila Guertin, MSHI
Guertin, MyHealthStory’s VP of Practice Accounts, combines her experience in healthcare delivery and education in health informatics to assist providers and patients to use the MyHealthStory system to its fullest, privately, and securely. Guertin is a certified MyHealthStory Technology Evolution Specialist. Guertin is also the director of the Cardiovascular Technology Program at Santa Fe College, where she teaches echocardiography, vascular sonography, and patient care.
In addition to assisting providers and practices with MyHealthStory implementation, Guertin helped develop the Health Information Technology Certified Manager – Physician Practice Certification Program for the national Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM).
Guertin’s education includes a Bachelor’s of Health Sciences degree from Florida Gulf Coast University and a Master’s degree in Health Informatics from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Please find CommHIT’s privacy statement at https://www.communityhealthit.org/about-us/privacy-statement/.