As the Obama administration implements the Affordable Care Act, communications may rank among its chief responsibilities in the years ahead. Although the bureaucrats must make the trains run on time so new people can obtain health insurance, even perfect systems will be meaningless if Americans don't seek them out. Recent polling shows that a minority of people who will be eligible for new benefits even know about them. Fixing that is the central responsibility of Salcido, 46, the acting assistant secretary for public affairs. The New Mexico native and University of New Mexico graduate has been a chief communicator for both government and business. She worked in the Clinton White House, then went on to be a top PR professional at AOL Time Warner, crafting strategy as the companies merged and expanded into new markets and products. But after Obama's election, she sought a return to public service. "I wanted to work on something really meaningful," she says. "I wanted to work on health care." The selling season has kicked off in earnest: The administration just launched a new website, began negotiations with sponsorship partners, and hammered out a social-media strategy. Salcido is confident the department can break through. "People are starting to listen now," she says.
2013 Health / Health and Human Services Department
Dori Salcido, Assistant Secretary (acting), Public Affairs
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