Policy News

The Nation’s River: How the Potomac Got its Name

Hot Topics | April 30th, 2021

While Washingtonians may be “only intermittently in love with their rivers,” the Potomac River is an enduring and defining feature of the Washington, D.C.’s geography. Before the first European settlers arrived in Virginia, the area around our nation’s capital was home to the Patawomeke tribe, and it is from this tribe that the Potomac river derives its name. Over the years, Patawomeke was Anglicized and of the many different spellings that were used including Potomach, Pittomack, Pottomeek, Potomac rose above the rest.

The river has gone by other names as well. George Washington called it “the Nation’s River” while Lyndon B. Johnson called it “the national disgrace,” taking a swipe at how polluted the waterway had become in the mid-20th century. If Johnson were alive today, he would be happy to hear that the city is upgrading infrastructure as part of the multi-billion dollar Clean Rivers Project that will significantly improve water quality in the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, as well as the Chesapeake Bay downstream. 

And now we take you three miles east from our Nation’s River to our nation’s Capitol for this week’s healthcare policy news headlines:

Washington’s white whale

  • Last week we told you that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was encouraging lawmakers to include a measure on drug pricing reform in President Biden’s American Families Plan (AFP). (The Hill) On Wednesday night, President Biden unveiled the AFP, which notably did not include a provision on drug pricing policy. President Biden asked Congress to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, but the nation’s legislature is under no obligation to respond to the President’s request. (STAT, The Hill)
    • Read more: The White House and Congressional Democrats are not seeing eye to eye on drug pricing reform, prompting comparisons to President Trump’s relationship with the 116th Congress on the issue. (STAT)

FDA to move against menthols

  • On Thursday, the FDA announced it would issue a new proposal in the next 12 months to ban menthol-flavored cigarettes, and all flavors in cigars. The move was hailed by public health groups which have long pushed for such a ban. Even once the proposal is issued, any ban is likely years away as the tobacco industry is all but certain to contest the new regulations. (Axios, The Hill, STAT)

Updated mask guidance

  • With the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in the United States making strides in vaccinating huge swathes of the population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new mask-wearing guidance for those who are fully vaccinated. According to the latest guidance, it is safe for fully vaccinated people to participate in the following activities outdoors without wearing a mask: exercise with members of your household, attend a small outdoor gathering with others who are fully vaccinated and dine outdoors at restaurants. (Axios, Roll Call, The Hill)
    • Read more: The CDC’s guidance can be reviewed in full, here

Biden expands access to buprenorphine

  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has updated federal guidelines that will allow more healthcare providers to prescribe buprenorphine, an FDA-approved treatment for opioid use disorder. Previously, medical professionals had to undergo an eight hour training course before they could prescribe the drug, a training that fewer than 100,000 providers out of an eligible one million completed. Deaths from opioid overdoses rose sharply during the past year, and public health experts hope expanded access to buprenorphine will help combat this alarming trend. (STAT, The Hill)

If you enjoyed this excerpt from this week’s Policy News from Goodfuse, we invite you to email us at [email protected] to sign up the full weekly “insider only” newsletter featuring fun-to-read round-ups of Hot Topics, breaking news and some quirky facts to make your Fridays Goodfused.

Policy News

Meet me on J Street…or Not…

Hot Topics | April 23rd, 2021

In Washington, D.C., streets running east to west are assigned letters. However, look closely at a map and you’ll notice something appears amiss: the streets are lettered “G…H…I…K…L.” A popular (but untrue) urban legend claims that city planner Pierre L’Enfant left J Street out of his plans because he disliked Chief Justice John Jay. The real reason has nothing to do with personal squabbles with founding fathers and everything to do with the evolution of the English language. J emerged in English as a variant of the letter I, and in the late 1700’s, these two letters were often interchanged and indistinguishable when written by hand. For Americans living in our nation’s capital in the late 18th Century, omitting J Street from the city’s plans would have helped avoid confusion and would not have raised eyebrows as it might today. 

Drug pricing reform: now or later?

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is encouraging lawmakers to include a measure on drug pricing reform in President Biden’s American Families Plan (AFP). On Thursday, House Democrats reintroduced their drug pricing reform legislation (H.R. 3) in a signal to the White House that they want the upcoming legislation to address drug pricing. The push comes as the White House signaled it plans to leave drug pricing reform out of the AFP, preferring instead to tackle the issue as part of a separate legislative initiative. (The Hill)
    • Read more: Republicans are organizing their opposition to the Democrats’ proposed drug pricing reforms. (The Washington Post)

Lights, camera, vaccines

  • As of Monday, April 19, all American adults over the age of 16 are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. To coincide with this milestone in the nation’s vaccine rollout, the White House launched a “media blitz” to encourage Americans to take the shot. The initiative is targeting groups where research suggests there might be higher rates of vaccine hesitancy such as Latino and Black communities, as well as conservatives. Millennials: keep an eye on Snapchat where Dr. Anthony Fauci is scheduled to make an appearance. (Axios, The Hill)

CMS nominee stalled in committee

  • Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) has placed a hold on the nomination of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the White House’s nominee for Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Cornyn announced he acted in opposition to the Biden administration, which rejected Texas’ request to extend its Medicaid waiver that had been approved by the Trump administration. The waiver would have allowed Texas to keep its existing Medicaid arrangements for another decade, and the rejection of the waiver was seen as an attempt to pressure Texas to expand its Medicaid program. Despite delays caused by the hold, Brooks-LaSure still has a path to be confirmed by the Senate. (STAT, The Hill)

Veep calls for action on maternal health

  • On Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris called for “sweeping action” to address racial inequities in pregnancy and childbirth in an e-mail interview with STAT News. In the interview, Harris pointed to specific policy actions that could address this issue including: implicit bias trainings, state pregnancy medical home programs and Maternal Mortality Review Committees to provide data on the deaths of mothers who die one year postpartum. (STAT)

If you enjoyed this excerpt from this week’s Policy News from Goodfuse, we invite you to email us at [email protected] to sign up the full weekly “insider only” newsletter featuring fun-to-read round-ups of Hot Topics, breaking news and some quirky facts to make your Fridays Goodfused.

Policy News

Washington D.C., squared

Hot Topics | April 16th, 2021

Do you love Washington, D.C. but sometimes wish there was even more to love? What if we told you that for nearly five decades, there was? When searching for a location to host the nation’s capital, the Founding Fathers originally earmarked ten square miles of land shaped like a rhombus straddling both banks of the Potomac. During the first half of the 19th century, our nation’s capital included not only the land within the modern-day borders of Washington D.C., but also Arlington County, Va. and portions of Alexandria, Va. In 1846, Congress returned or “retroceded” half of the federal district south of the Potomac river back to Virginia giving our nation’s capital its present borders.

First COVID, then cancer

  • The White House unveiled a proposal to create a new $6.5 billion medical research agency housed within the National Institutes of Health that would be tasked with fast-tracking cures for difficult-to-treat diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and diabetes. The agency, modeled on DARPA and ARPA-E would be dubbed ARPA-H, or “Advanced Research Projects Authority – Health.” At this time, ARPA-H is only a proposal, as Congress would have to appropriate the funds necessary to create the agency. (STAT)

Don’t you, forget about us

  • PhRMA, the pharmaceutical industry lobby, is trying out a new digital and print marketing campaign inside the Beltway that can be summarized as: “Don’t take us for granted – we brought medicines and vaccines for COVID-19 to the world in record time.” PhRMA also debuted a new policy agenda that includes “unprecedented” endorsements for drug pricing reforms that would impact the Industry’s bottom line. (STAT)
    • Read more: STAT sat down with PhRMA President Stephen Ubl who explained the lobbying group’s new approach to drug pricing reform in greater detail. (STAT)

White House: J&J is a bump in the road

  • Even before a Centers for Disease Control advisory committee recommended that the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine remain paused, the White House announced that the suspension of the shot would not have a “significant impact” on the United States’ vaccination campaign. (The Hill, POLITICO) To date, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has accounted for less than 5% of COVID-19 inoculations in the United States.

Family planning policy blitz

  • The White House observed Black Maternal Health Week by issuing the first presidential proclamation marking the occasion. (Axios)  
  • On Monday, Illinois became the first state to extend Medicaid coverage for new mothers to one year postpartum. The policy will remain in effect until at least December 31, 2025. (Axios, The Hill)
  • The FDA used its regulatory discretion to end restrictions on mailing abortion pills (mifepristone) to women during the pandemic. The future of the policy after the end of the public health emergency remains unclear. (The Hill, Endpoints News)
  • On Wednesday, the Biden administration released a proposed rule that would make organizations that provide abortions or abortion referrals eligible for family planning funds under Title X. The proposed rule would reverse a rule finalized by the Trump administration in 2019 that prevented these groups from receiving Title X funds. (Roll Call, POLITICO, The Hill)

If you enjoyed this excerpt from this week’s Policy News from Goodfuse, we invite you to email us at [email protected] to sign up the full weekly “insider only” newsletter featuring fun-to-read round-ups of Hot Topics, breaking news and some quirky facts to make your Fridays Goodfused.

Leading Thinking

Silver Linings of a Global Health Crisis: A New Path Forward for Pharma Media Professionals

Policy News

Caution: Handle Cargo with Care

Hot Topics | April 9th, 2021

Every so often shipping giants UPS and FedEx will make headlines for shipping outlandish cargo such as whales or panda bears. However, these stories almost seem pedestrian when you consider the U.S. Postal Service once allowed people to mail…other people. In 1913 at the inception of the parcel post, there was no USPS policy banning the practice. According to Smithsonian Magazine, “an Ohio couple named Jesse and Mathilda Beagle ‘mailed’ their 8-month-old son James to his grandmother, who lived just a few miles away in Batavia.” Being the doting parents they were, the Beagles insured young James for $50.

Children who were sent via post were treated with more care than the average parcel. Far from being stuffed in a box or a mail sack, children were generally chaperoned on their voyage by a USPS employee.

The last documented account of a child mailed via USPS comes from 1915, and by 1920 the Postmaster General had outlawed the practice. Our sincerest apologies to all the parents out there who thought this sounded like a pretty sweet alternative to a 5:30 AM flight out of Dulles with a fussy toddler in tow.

Your guide to the latest CDC guidance

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated two important pieces of COVID-19 guidance in the past week:
    • People who are fully vaccinated can travel “at low risk to themselves” as long as they continue to wear masks, wash their hands, avoid crowds and social distance. According to CDC guidelines, Americans are fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their last recommended dose of vaccine. (CDC)
    • In a move many experts called overdue, the CDC issued updated guidance confirming the risk of contracting COVID-19 through contact with contaminated surfaces is “generally considered to be low.” (The Hill, CDC)

Vaccine rollout accelerates again

  • On Tuesday, President Biden announced he was pushing states to expand universal COVID-19 vaccine eligibility even earlier. He is now directing states to offer COVID-19 vaccines to any American 16 years of age or older by April 19, two weeks earlier than his original universal eligibility date of May 1. (The Hill)

Trump-era policy rollbacks continue

  • This week the Biden administration announced it was rescinding Medicaid work requirements in Michigan and Wisconsin authorized by former President Trump. The move came after similar authorizations were rescinded in Arkansas and New Hampshire. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), most Medicaid recipients either work or are exempt from work due to illness or disability. (The Hill)

Racism: not just a sociopolitical issue

  • In a move that garnered support from the American Medical Association, the CDC declared racism to be a “serious public health threat.” In a statement published on the CDC’s website, the agency noted, “A growing body of research shows that centuries of racism in this country has had a profound and negative impact on communities of color.” The declaration is part of an agency-wide initiative dubbed “Racism and Health” which is a hub for a push to achieve health equity. (The Hill)

If you enjoyed this excerpt from this week’s Policy News from Goodfuse, we invite you to email us at [email protected] to sign up the full weekly “insider only” newsletter featuring fun-to-read round-ups of Hot Topics, breaking news and some quirky facts to make your Fridays Goodfused.

Job postings

Associate Creative Director

Updated May 25, 2021

Our Community

Goodfuse, a BCW Group company, is an award-wining, high-touch boutique agency designed to guide clients through the most unpredictable communications challenges with a seasoned, hands-on senior team, and full-spectrum, fully integrated capabilities that put people first. Digital to traditional, media relations to public affairs, clients engage us to simplify. Humanize. Make something good far better. And get it right — and remarkable — right away. We bring unparalleled strategic thinking and flawless execution to a Fortune 50 company and its multiple brands around the world. Our work spans the Healthcare and Brand communications spectrum as we work on everything from consumer campaigns to high science initiatives.

What you will do…

As Associate Creative Director based in New York City you will be responsible for leading the design and technology efforts in a growing and vibrant agency. This is an opportunity to take over and build a creative team with lots of autonomy, servicing some of the largest and most well-known pharmaceutical and healthcare companies in the world. You will be tasked with creating engaging content that meets and exceeds the expectations of our clients. We are revolutionizing the healthcare PR industry and looking for someone passionate about pushing those boundaries with us.

  • Conceptualize creative ideas with clients and manage the creative process from concept to completion
  • Formulate compelling brand stories in line with client objectives; help clients visualize data, and engage with patients and HCPs in captivating and unique ways
  • Translate communication and marketing objectives into clear creative strategies
  • Establish design guidelines, standards, and best practices
  • Lead and direct creative team in the production of all design collateral
  • Carry out design tasks and contribute wherever necessary, dynamic leader with an all hands on deck approach
  • Apply working knowledge of creative software to provide live art direction to team members
  • Test and improve website design
  • Maintain the appearance of websites by enforcing content standards
  • Design visual imagery for websites and ensuring they are in line with branding for clients
  • Communicate web design ideas using user flows, process flows, site maps, and wireframes
  • Ensure visual communication and client brand standards are met
  • Oversee client pitches and proposals
  • Oversee profitability, deliverables, timeline, and budgets
  • Meet with clients or upper management to explain campaign strategies and solutions
  • Remain actively involved in hiring and training creative staff
  • Visualize data, create a motion graphics story around it
  • Foster and reinforce a culture of visual storytelling
  • Manage, mentor, and cultivate career development of staff members

Who you will be…

  • 6+ years’ experience as an art or creative director in the PR/Advertising space
  • Web design experience a must
  • Experience working with healthcare clients a plus
  • Exceptional communicator, both written and verbal
  • Top-notch project management and attention to detail across ever shifting priorities
  • Impeccable account and client relationship skills especially with high-touch clients
  • Ability to be senior member of an agency team with many moving parts, and lead junior team as a project manager, coach, and mentor
  • Working knowledge of the Adobe Creative Suite including Illustrator, Photoshop, and After Effects
  • Strong strategic thinking and counseling ability
  • Strong presentation and speaking skills

Interested? Send your resume and cover letter to Sheila Powers at [email protected]. To learn more about us please visit:

Goodfuse does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, age, national origin, marital status, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other reason prohibited by law in provision of employment opportunities and benefits.

Interested? To apply, send your resume and cover letter to Carina Goldbach, HR Lead, at [email protected]

Download job description pdf.
Policy News

Here’s the situation

Hot Topics | April 2nd, 2021

In January 2021, ex-POLITICO reporters Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer and John Bresnahan launched their new media venture Punchbowl. The new media outlet is “focused on the several dozen people who have power in Washington, and exercise it, how they exercise it and why.” The trio chose the name Punchbowl because it is the Secret Service codename for the U.S. Capitol, and reflects their focus on the main levers of power in Washington.

It is in this spirit that we have decided to change the name of our weekly “insider only” newsletter from Policy News from Goodfuse to Cement Mixer from Goodfuse, with Cement Mixer being the Secret Service codename for the White House Situation Room. The name change reflects our aspirations to one day move into broadcast news and take over Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room on CNN. For more on this name change, please read to the very end of this week’s newsletter excerpt.

“Right now I’m scared”

  • Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), issued an emotional plea to Americans this week to follow public health precautions just a little bit longer as cases of COVID-19 appeared to be on the verge of another spike. (STAT, The Hill) The plea comes as several states continue to lift mask mandates and relax other public health measures put in place to combat the spread of the pandemic. Following Dr. Walensky’s appeal, President Biden implored states to follow federal guidance and reconsider their rollbacks of restrictions related to COVID-19. (POLITICO, The Hill)

The race to herd immunity

  • The Biden administration will scale back efforts to vaccinate Americans at large mega-sites after data showed Americans prefer to get their jabs at small retail pharmacies. (POLITICO) This news comes as President Biden announced “90 percent of U.S. adults will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine and will have a vaccination site within 5 miles of where they live by April 19.” (The Hill) To further build America’s confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines, the Biden administration also announced the “COVID-19 Community Corps” network of volunteer health experts and community leaders who will help combat vaccine hesitancy in their communities. (POLITICO, The Hill)

The patent protection predicament

  • A spokesperson for the U.S. Trade Representative confirmed that the Biden administration is exploring the possibility of weakening patent protections on COVID-19 vaccines as a means of expanding access. About 100 countries led by India and South Africa are asking the World Trade Organization to temporarily suspend patent protections. PhRMA and BIO have vigorously opposed any measure that would impact vaccine patent protections. (Axios)

Behind the scenes at the Trump administration

  • This week new details and accusations emerged regarding the conduct of former Trump administration officials who were responsible for coordinating the country’s response to COVID-19. First, former CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told an interviewer he was pressured by former Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to revise data reports on COVID-19. (The Hill) Then on Wednesday, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released documents showing senior officials, including former trade advisor Peter Navarro, sounded an early alarm bell in March 2020 when COVID-19 in the United States was limited to a few isolated cases. Senior officials like Navarro then pushed federal agencies to offer non-competitive contracts to preferred companies to produce personal protective equipment. (POLITICO, The Hill)

If you enjoyed this excerpt from this week’s Cement Mixer from Goodfuse, we invite you to email us at [email protected] to sign up for the full weekly “insider only” newsletter featuring fun-to-read round-ups of Hot Topics, breaking news and some quirky facts to make your Fridays Goodfused.

P.S. – April Fool’s! Our newsletter will continue to be published under the name Policy News from Goodfuse starting next week.