AHCJ gets contact list of senior HHS media officials

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

AHCJ now has an up-to-date list of the senior media officials at each division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

These are the people reporters should contact when they are not getting meaningful and timely responses from lower-level media officials. If your deadline is approaching and you still don’t have what you need, call a contact on this list.

The HHS public affairs office provided the names, email addresses and direct phone lines in response to AHCJ’s continuing efforts to improve reporters’ access to information from the federal government.

The list includes agencies that reporters frequently contact, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Food and Drug Administration.

Richard Sorian, HHS assistant secretary for public affairs, provided the list after a conference call last week between AHCJ and four members of the public affairs office. The call – which included Charles Ornstein, AHCJ president, and Felice Freyer, chair of AHCJ’s Right to Know Committee – was the first of what are expected to be quarterly conversations between AHCJ and Sorian’s office. It followed an in-person meeting in March in Washington, D.C.

During the call, Freyer summarized a few examples of recent unsuccessful efforts to get information from HHS agencies, drawn from information provided by AHCJ members. Sorian asked for written descriptions, saying he hoped to improve responsiveness.

Sorian’s interest in those anecdotes demonstrates the importance of providing specific examples as we work for better access. Please keep them coming to felice.freyer@cox.net. Write as soon as an incident occurs, while memory is fresh and emails still handy.

“We’re grateful that Richard Sorian and his staff are willing to work with us,” Ornstein said. “With this line of communication now open, we hope that in time AHCJ members will see an improvement.”

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