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Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA)

The ASPA serves as the Secretary's principal counsel on public affairs. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs conducts national public affairs programs, provides centralized leadership and guidance for public affairs activities within HHS' Staff and Operating Divisions and regional offices, and administers the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts. The Division leads the planning, development and implementation of emergency incident communications strategies and activities for the Department. The ASPA reports directly to the HHS Secretary.


ASPA serves as the Department's principal Public Affairs office, leading efforts across the Department to promote transparency, accountability and access to critical public health and human services information to the American people.


Communicate information on HHS's mission, the Secretary's Key Initiatives and the Department's activities to the general public through multi-channels of communication.


The ASPA Divisions include:

View the ASPA Organization Chart

Freedom of Information Act Division (FOIA)
FOIA is a federal statute that allows individuals access to certain federal agency records. The Privacy Act protects certain personal information from release without the written permission of the person to whom the records pertain. The FOI/Privacy Acts Division administers FOIA and Privacy Act issues and requests, including appeals. Learn more...

News Division
The News Division plans, directs and coordinates the issuance of public information from HHS to the press and broadcast media. Staff prepares news releases and material for the Secretary and other top Department officials and review and clears all news materials prepared by HHS components. The division also identifies media opportunities for the Department and makes recommendations concerning press releases on upcoming publication of regulations or other actions.

Staff members review interview requests and assist in preparing background briefings for the press. The News Division briefs the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Chief of Staff, in conjunction with other departmental experts for all media events. They handle all press inquiries and coordinate press conferences for the Secretary. The News Division also monitors and analyzes media coverage for the Department. Learn more...

Speech and Editorial Division
The speech and editorial division writes and edits speeches, talking points, op-eds, articles, and letters, for the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Digital Communications Division (DCD)
Digital Communications leads the development and review of HHS Web content, social media, and supporting technologies. The division also recommends and implements Web-based information policy, standards, guidance, and tools for the Department. DCD assesses the content and usability of all proposed Department-wide and OS-level websites to ensure they are consistent with Departmental policies and goals.

The Division manages daily operations of the main HHS/OS public website and associated social media. DCD also manages several cross-federal topic websites such as and, Secretary priority sites including and, Secretary-level Web pages, and the HHS intranet. Staff members provide clearances for news releases and other public affairs announcements, ensuring the websites they link to are 508-compliant.

Communications Services Division
This division provides a comprehensive range of audiovisual production and programming services including developing and implementing media campaigns, special projects and establishes departmental policy and procedures regarding these audiovisual activities.  Learn more about the HHS studio.

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