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Featured Chat

   Facilitating Technology Innovation in Human Services
Wednesday, May 28 at 2:00 p.m. UTC

May 28, 2014

This was a free, online event.

Recording: View the multimedia recording of this event on our WebEx site. (Registration is required and is free of charge.)


  • Linda Gibbs (PDF)
  • Uma Ahluwalia (PDF)
  • Anita Light (PDF)

Report (PDF)


The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School, Freedman Consulting, the American Public Human Services Association, and the National Governors Association are excited to present a webinar on facilitating technology innovation in public human services. As the challenges facing public human services agencies continue to grow, the potential exists for technology to serve as a powerful to tool to support well-being among the most vulnerable children and families. This webinar will illustrate the opportunities and rewards for human service agencies leveraging technology innovation, as well as highlight relevant strategies to assist would-be innovators seeking to take advantage of the opportunities provided by technology.

Presenters in this webinar will discuss the number of ways human services agencies stand to benefit by successfully leveraging technology innovation. Following information from each of the presenters there will be the opportunity for webinar attendees to pose questions to the presenters.

Accompanying this webinar is a report entitled “Gaining Ground: Facilitating Technology Innovation in Human Services.” Written by Freedman Consulting, with support from the Ford Foundation, this report details several approaches to confronting common challenges associated with adopting innovative technology to support human services agencies.

Steve Goldsmith, Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government and the director of the Innovations in American Government Program at Harvard Kennedy School, former mayor of Indianapolis, and former deputy mayor for Operations in New York City, will moderate the discussion among:

Linda Gibbs, Principal, Bloomberg Associates

Linda Gibbs served as New York City Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services from 2005-2013. Supervising the city's human service, public health, and social justice agencies, she spearheaded major initiatives on poverty alleviation, juvenile justice reform, and obesity reduction. “Age Friendly NYC”, a blueprint for enhancing livability for older New Yorkers; and “Young Men’s Initiative,” addressing race-based disparities facing Black and Latino young men in the areas of health, education, employment training, and the justice system, are two of the collaborative efforts she shaped to address significant social challenges. Gibbs also improved the use of data and technology in human service management, contract effectiveness, and evidence-based program development. During her tenure, New York City has been the only top-20 city in the US whose poverty rate did not increase while the national average rose 28 percent. Prior to her appointment as deputy mayor, Gibbs was commissioner of the New York City Department of Homeless Services and held senior positions with the Administration for Children’s Services and the Office of Management and Budget.

Uma Ahluwalia, Director, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services

Uma S. Ahluwalia is currently the director of the Montgomery County (Maryland) Department of Health and Human Services. With nearly 1,600 employees, the department is one of the largest agencies in Montgomery County and includes Aging and Disability Services; Behavioral Health and Crisis Services; Children, Youth and Family Services; Public Health Services; and Special Needs Housing. The 2014 budget for the department was more than $261 million, representing a decrease over the past four years, as the county reacted to local and national economic conditions. Caseloads for the Department during the same period increased dramatically as more families and individuals struggled through the tough economy. Ahluwalia holds a master’s in Social Work from the University of Delhi in India and a specialist post-master’s in Health Services Administration from George Washington University. Over a 25-year career in human services, she has progressively moved from case-carrying social work to executive leadership at the state and local levels.

Anita Light, Executive Director, American Public Human Services Association

Anita Light is the senior deputy executive director of APHSA and leads the Policy, Practice, and Program team focused on securing effective public human services policy and examining and promoting innovations occurring in state and local agencies across the nation. Currently, Light leads the National Workgroup on Integration, an initiative that focuses on horizontal integration through the use of a 21st Century Health and Human Services Business Model. She works with APHSA’s National Council of Local Human Services Administrators, several affiliates, and grants and contracts that advance the outcomes in Pathways — APHSA’s vision for a transformed human services system.


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