Secretary Becerra Welcomes New Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Jeffrey A. Nesbit
Recognizes Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Kamara Jones for her leadership.
Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra welcomed Jeffrey A. Nesbit to the role of Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. He also recognized Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Kamara Jones for her leadership.
“We are excited to have Jeff join the HHS leadership team as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. He is a seasoned strategist who has led communications at three federal agencies – including one of our very own, the FDA, where his communications strategies helped the federal government successfully take on the tobacco industry. He has also led communications for a vice president.
“In the face of malicious misinformation, deep disparities, and other barriers, reaching Americans where they are with public health information they can trust is not easy. Jeff’s experience and expertise as a tested and trusted leader in public affairs will be instrumental in our efforts to communicate our work to enhance health and wellbeing for all.”
Kamara Jones, who served as Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs while maintaining the responsibilities of her role as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs, will return to the latter role full-time. Kamara served as Communications Director for Public Health at HHS during the Obama Administration and returned to the agency in May 2021.
“When Kamara is in a room, you can trust that any plan that comes out of it will be more strategic, creative, and equitable. You can also trust that she will go the extra mile in the face of any challenge or opportunity that comes her way.
“Kamara has led our public affairs division with fidelity and focus, while making press and process improvements that have changed the division for the better. As Secretary, it is important to have leaders around you who have vision, operate with integrity, and get the job done. Kamara is such a leader. I am grateful for Kamara’s leadership and for her commitment to telling the HHS story.”
Additional Background on Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Jeffrey A. Nesbit
Jeff has served in the federal government under four presidents – leading public affairs at three federal agencies in Washington, DC, and serving as a senior communications official in the White House. Before his new role at HHS, he was the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) deputy commissioner for communications.
Jeff also served as the director of legislative and public affairs at the National Science Foundation during the Obama and Bush administrations, former Vice President Dan Quayle’s communications director, and former FDA Commissioner David Kessler’s public affairs chief at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, where he was instrumental in the agency’s successful efforts to ban the marketing of cigarettes to children and require fact-based information on nutrition labels. He founded Climate Nexus, a well-known climate communications non-profit, and served as its executive director from 2011-2022.
Earlier in his career, he was a national journalist with Knight-Ridder newspapers and other outlets prior to that; and has written dozens of science, environmental, and political opinion pieces for The New York Times, Time, Axios, U.S. News & World Report and others. He’s written 27 books and novels, including his latest novel, The Billionaires’ Club, published this past June.