ONC Staff Profiles – Malikah “Mikki” Smith 

Mikki Smith | September 2, 2022

How does your division/office fit into ONC?

Cybersecurity is a critical component to create trust for the ongoing use and advancement of information technology. As part of ONC’s Cybersecurity and Enterprise Architecture Division (CEAD), I lead a team that works to provide cybersecurity and enterprise architecture management functions in an integrated and holistic approach across ONC to ensure and facilitate informed IT Capital Planning and investments, enterprise risk posture & management and coordinated Health IT cyber/privacy support.

Tell us about some of the projects/initiatives that you lead.

While there are a wide range of programs that CEAD focuses on, several key initiatives I am leading include implementing an enterprise operational cybersecurity program.to ensure ONC stays compliant with HHS and federal cybersecurity requirements. We are also developing an enterprise architecture repository and establishing an ONC-level cybersecurity policy repository. I also lead a global cybersecurity workstream as a part of the Global Digital Health Partnership. This includes projects such as the upcoming Model Security Notice.

What has led you to your career here at ONC?

I have enjoyed a long career of public service, including military and federal civilian service.  While working with the Defense Health Agency, I first ventured into the world of what is now called cybersecurity. Ensuring that DHA’s military health systems were secure and active-duty military member’s health data was protected, turned into a long-lasting love of cybersecurity, protection of patient data, and ensuring patient data availability.  ONC’s mission and my professional goals were very complementary.  I feel very fortunate to have found an organization where I can leverage my skills to foster secure patient access and interoperability.

What skills and strengths do you hold that add value to your work portfolio?

I am a seasoned cybersecurity leader with more than 20 years of experience. My experience includes establishing enterprise information security programs for both government and private sector organizations. As a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Authorization Professional (CAP), and Chief Information Security Officer, I am a leader in the cybersecurity industry with the ability to apply federal and executive statutes, guidance, requirements and standards in establishing and maintaining enterprise, organizational or agency-wide cybersecurity programs.

What is a work-related accomplishment you’re most proud of and why?

I am probably most proud of the professional relationships that I have cultivated over my time at ONC. There is not one single accomplishment that I can list that would not be attributable to the support from the internal or external relationships and coalitions we maintain and foster. I am also continually awed by and proud of the strides and accomplishments of the CEAD team. They have what it takes to move ONC cybersecurity into the future, with a focus on active security defense and response.

What would you say is the best part of working for ONC?

As noted in the previous question, I think the best part of ONC is the relationships that we cultivate both internally and externally. I am frequently amazed how little known ONC can feel sometimes, and then someone gets to know the wealth and depth of knowledge we possess, and they don’t let go of that ONC connection.

How would you characterize ONC’s success?

I would characterize ONC’s success as a combination of effective leadership, clearly defined vision and passionate team members who work together to execute on ensuring health technology and interoperability initiatives.

What is a project you are currently working on and how does it fit into ONC mission?

My work ensures compliance with federal laws, regulations and guidance which helps to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of patient data and systems, as ONC fosters the nation’s adoption of health information technology.

How does ONC support your professional development?

ONC is a champion of professional development. Leadership advocacy and support for ongoing training, developmental details (temporary assignments), and coaching are just a few ways ONC supports professional development.

What are the core values of ONC that are important to you?

The primary value of people first within ONC is the most important.

Are there any additional benefits of working at ONC that you’d like to mention?

ONC is a complex, challenging and exciting organization with a group of deeply committed professionals that are like family.