Meet the Dedicated Public Servants of the United States Digital Service
Working to deliver the best technology to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The United States Digital Service (USDS) was born in 2014, tasked with bringing healthcare.gov up to modern web standards. Since that time, the agency has grown to include around 180 people — fourteen of whom continue to work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on high-impact projects at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The team at HHS is a continuation of the original USDS cornerstone, building the best infrastructure to drive positive health outcomes for millions of Americans.
Most recently, the team has launched Blue Button 2.0 and has returned ownership of the Quality Payment Program to CMS. Both initiatives highlight the team’s API-first strategy, which makes Medicare claims data more open and accessible for developers to build custom solutions.
The team’s amazing work would not be possible without the diverse perspectives and talents all its members bring to the table. In celebration of Public Service Recognition Week, let’s meet the team.
Shannon Sartin, Executive Director — Oversees the work of the United States Digital Service in the healthcare space. She also has a deep personal passion for the intersection of healthcare and tech. Her career spans startups and federal agencies including the Indian Health Service, VA, and DoD.
Jonathan Sullivan, Deputy Executive Director — Helps Medicare bring groundbreaking APIs to market and drives developer adoption. Before USDS, Jonathan developed a product for healthcare executives at the top 100 health systems in the US.
Sam Gensburg, Software Engineer — Passionate about building APIs that make government data more open and accessible, Sam has a background in Artificial Intelligence. In a prior life he built tech to read X-rays. When he was a Seattleite, he taught high school computer science before going to his day job.
Anthony (Benno) Schmidt, Designer — Benno is a Human-Centered Design Lead who specializes in healthcare. He is modeling and piloting the use of human-centered design in the process of writing healthcare policy. Benno has over 20 years of design experience, collaborating on solutions for the education, automotive, financial services, defense and healthcare industries. He walks a lot.
Scott Haselton, Software Engineer — A full-stack engineer, Scott was instrumental on our flagship product, the Quality Payment Program. He moved to DC with his wife from where, he insists, is the only place to live on earth: Southern California. Prior to joining USDS, Scott worked in the startup scene where he built a bank and lending platform; Scott also serves as our team’s personal financial advisor.
Kelly Taylor, Product Manager — A Data Strategist, Kelly is part of the Blue Button 2.0 effort, enabling Medicare Beneficiaries to share their data with trusted services. Before coming to DC to serve, he worked with natural language processing at IBM Watson Health. Kelly is an avid skier who survived a massive avalanche — and brings that coolness-under-fire to the US government.
David Koh, Software Engineer — Tries to get computers to do what the American people actually need them to do — so occasionally he gets to write some code. He lives in Baltimore, the location of CMS headquarters, embodying our value “go where the work is.” Prior to moving to the east coast, David was Director of Engineering at OkCupid.
Shaun Verch, Site Reliability Engineer — Uses Ansible, Terraform, and AWS to build and deploy essential cloud infrastructure. Hailing from the SF startup scene, he’s a bureaucracy buster, who insists on discussing what we’re actually trying to do instead of checking boxes. An atypical engineer — Shaun has never had a full cup of coffee.
Lexa Pope, Strategic Operations — Creates momentum; Lexa makes our team’s grand vision come to fruition. Before arriving in the nation’s capital to serve, she worked at Google and Facebook when they were still startup companies and built their sales and operations teams. She is the only member of the team to rock a gold MacBook. Lexa enjoys offline time with her mini dachshund, trap shooting, and appreciating modern art.
Natalie Kates, Product Manager — Hell-bent on empowering people to use technology to address infrastructure obstacles and critical user problems in health, Natalie leads product for our team. Before USDS, Natalie built new products for the Advisory Board Company. She has been a tenacious rock climber for over a decade — a fitting hobby for someone who summits the mountains of bureaucracy to solve the tremendous challenges facing our nation’s healthcare system.
Kayenda Johnson, User Researcher — Leading user research efforts for the design of the Quality Payment Program website, Kayenda has also provided human-centered design (HCD) services to the FBI and Secret Service. Her skills make her a strong HCD advocate throughout the agency. She loves mentoring middle and high school girls toward strong character development and academic excellence.
Cyrus Sethna, Communications Lead — Sings our praises and tells our stories. Cyrus is a civic technologist, passionate about evangelizing the next generation of government services built for the digital age. He served a tour of duty with the Peace Corps and held public relations positions with the Ohio Senate and General Services Administration. Cyrus is an avid scuba diver and ukulele enthusiast.
Joni Cooper, Product Manager — Works on Blue Button 2.0 — an API streamlining claims data for 53 million Medicare patients. Prior to USDS, Joni worked in The White House Office of Public Engagement and on Secretary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign. She can walk on her hands — a skill which highlights her ability to find alternative ways to get things done.
Crystal Yan, UX Designer — Asks questions to understand how data and people move through different parts of our healthcare system and visualizes potential opportunities and solutions. She hails from a distinguished career leading user experience design in technology startups. Crystal enjoys exploring the city by foot and discovering the District’s hidden food gems.
The best of technology.
The best of government.
And we want you.
We’re looking for the most tenacious designers, software engineers, product managers, and more, who are committed to untangling, rewiring and redesigning critical government services. You’ll join a team of the most talented technologists from across the private sector and government.
If you have questions regarding employment with the U.S. Digital Service, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit usds.gov/join.