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CRIST STORY. For Greg Crist, the new head of public affairs for the American Health Care Association, the message is often in the data. A native Virginian and avid golfer, Crist jumped into state politics after graduating from the College of William & Mary. As part of the prestigious Governor's Fellows Program, he worked for former Republican Gov. George Allen, climbing the ranks to become his traveling press secretary. After a stint at the Ketchum public relations firm -- where he worked on the account for AHCA, which represents long-term care providers -- Crist climbed Capitol Hill to replace Ari Fleischer as deputy communications director for the House Ways and Means Committee, when Fleischer went to work on the 2000 presidential campaigns, first for Elizabeth Dole and then for George W. Bush, who made Fleischer his White House press secretary. "Intimately exposed to the marriage of the policy and the press," Crist went on to work for former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, in 2001. "If Dick Armey were a back-bench member of Congress today, I'd be working for him," Crist said. He later worked for the House Republican Conference, then in 2004 he became vice president of strategic communications at Dutko Worldwide, where he honed his knack for translating data. Now at AHCA, he'll be tackling healthcare reform implementation and continue utilizing polling information to "cut through the political white noise." Crist said he has learned that "not everything can be simplified into a bumper sticker. But you need to understand the audiences" and key stakeholders, he says, including seniors, caregivers and policymakers.

BARNES STORMER. Julie Barnes is joining the Bipartisan Policy Center as director of health policy. Most recently deputy director at the New America Foundation, Barnes has worked for a number of lawmakers, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and former Reps. William Lipinski, D-Ill., and Jim Nussle, R-Iowa. At the Bipartisan Policy Center, formed in 2007 by four former Senate majority leaders, Barnes will oversee a project tracking the implementation of the new healthcare law at the state level. "While there may be political disagreement over the final healthcare reform legislation, the BPC believes that all interests -- Democrat and Republican -- will benefit from constructive discussions as the law is implemented," BPC President Jason Grumet said in a statement. Barnes graduated from the University of Iowa and received her law degree from American University. Before joining the New American Foundation, she worked as a litigator at Crowell & Moring. She specializes in a number of issues related to health care, including legal barriers to reform, information technology and reform of delivery systems.


This article appears in the July 17, 2010 edition of NJ Daily.

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