Speaker Spotlight: Aneesh Chopra

Please join us in welcoming another Hopkins alum back to campus as the fourth speaker in our 2017 series, Undercurrent, the first Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the United States – Aneesh Chopra. Chopra graduated from Johns Hopkins with a B.A. in Public Health and served as the first CTO under President Obama in 2009 until 2012. As the first appointed CTO, Chopra was responsible for expanding the use of technology in building connections between the federal government and citizens as well as furthering the goals of improved access to resources via applied technology. Chopra will be joining us in Mudd Auditorium at 7:30 PM – we hope to see you there.

Initiatives Under Chopra's Leadership

Here are just a few of the key initiatives that Chopra spearheaded during his tenure as CTO.

  1. Open Government Initiative – Driven by the idea that government should be transparent, participatory, and collaborative. Created a forum for solutions to be suggested by members of the public for federal government issues.
  2. Innovate health care delivery – Helping to design comprehensive database in healthcare.gov to make information of various plans accessible and clear for citizens.
  3. National Wireless Initiative – Expanding wireless coverage to 98% of Americans. Allow greater access to information for more and improve the education and work skills of the labor force.
  4. Startup America – fostering innovation of private companies by funding projects.
  5. Deliver energy efficiency – Integrating the smart grid at local levels to document reduced electricity demand.

The Atlantic: Interview with Aneesh Chopra

Image courtesy of The Atlantic

Image courtesy of The Atlantic

Q: What framework is the president using to think through questions of technology?

A: I would use the words “true north” to describe his philosophy, where true north is that for every difficult question there’s an objective right answer. You ask the right questions and gather the right evidence. There’s little ideological to the questions that I work on. I wouldn’t know who is up or down politically based on the work that I do. That’s just not a conversation that we have. Everything is about the data. Everything is about the evidence. Everything is about what works.

President Obama on Chopra's Work

As the federal government’s first Chief Technology Officer, Aneesh Chopra did groundbreaking work to bring our government into the 21st century. Aneesh found countless ways to engage the American people using technology, from electronic health records for veterans, to expanding access to broadband for rural communities, to modernizing government records. His legacy of leadership and innovation will benefit Americans for years to come, and I thank him for his outstanding service.
— President Barack Obama

Ted Talk – "The Innovative State"