Beth Lynk serves as the CMS Director of the Office of Communications (OC) and Senior Advisor to the Administrator for External Affairs. As part of her responsibilities, Beth is the head of Communications and External Affairs for CMS and provides consultation on stakeholder engagement, campaigns, and strategy of key public engagement initiatives. Beth brings a wealth of knowledge as a strategist and communications expert in campaigns, crisis communications, and strategic planning with experience working in health care, government, political, non-profit, and corporate environments.
Prior to joining CMS, Beth served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs for the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. In this role she led the Health Care Portfolio and coordinated communications strategy for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, CMS, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Office of Health Reform, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). She supported Secretary Becerra in his first 100 days focusing on strategic communications surrounding several issues including the Marketplace Special Enrollment Period, health equity, drug pricing, and the implementation of American Rescue Plan.
Before HHS, Beth worked at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, where she served as the Senior Director of the census program and ran the Census Counts Campaign at the Leadership Conference Education Fund. In this role, Beth served as the chief coordinator of the Census Counts campaign; developing a campaign that brought together community-based organizations across a wide spectrum of advocacy to ensure communities the census has historically missed were counted in the 2020 Census.
Beth has previously worked on Capitol Hill and also served as Associate Director of Federal Communications for Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, directing Planned Parenthood's communications around federal policy, congressional action, advocacy campaigns, and related litigation. Beth is a graduate of Northwestern University and currently lives in Washington DC.
Mary Wallace is the Deputy Director for Operations of the Office of Communications (OC) within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. OC serves as the focal point for strategic and tactical communications for CMS programs delivering healthcare to millions of Americans. Ms. Wallace provides leadership over daily operations and executive direction in the areas of program analysis, customer service, acquisition strategy and financial management.
Ms. Wallace has been with CMS since 1999. She began her career in the Center for Beneficiary Services working on project planning and financial management for the implementation of the National Medicare Education Program. She subsequently led a variety of projects including the implementation of a Knowledge Management web portal for the agency.
Prior to her current role, Ms. Wallace served as the Deputy Director in the Office of Beneficiary Services, providing leadership in the areas of financial analysis and contract management. Ms. Wallace also led several special projects which improved the performance and efficiency of CMS’ customer service programs.
Karen Aldana serves as the Deputy Director, Office of Communications for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. In her current position, she is Washington D.C. based and is responsible for driving the vision and overall strategy of the public relations function, which includes teams across several OC groups.
Prior to joining CMS, Ms. Aldana served as the Public Affairs Director, Office of Communications and Consumer Information for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) where she was responsible for overseeing the agency’s strategic communication and media outreach efforts. She led and coordinated communications for technically complex issues with large national and international media and public interest. The division was responsible for representing and promoting the safety agency, its policies and safety programs.
Before NHTSA, Ms. Aldana served as a Public Affairs Specialist for the U.S. DOT’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA). During her tenure there, she was responsible for promoting transit projects across the nation. Most notably, FTA’s Lower Manhattan Recovery program, aimed at expediently fixing the transit systems destroyed in New York City in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks.
Before moving to Washington D.C., Ms. Aldana worked in New York City as an Account Executive at RLM Public Relations, and prior to that, ExcitePR, promoting a wide-range of clients, including start-up companies, grassroots organizations, authors and products. She was in New York City on 9/11 and experienced first-hand the fear, devastation and toll it had on the city. Her experience inspired her to pursue a career with the federal government to serve the public.
Ms. Aldana holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.