October 30, 2014

Cardin Hires Medical Doctor Beth Vrabel as Health Policy Advisor, Environmental Communications Vet Tim Zink as Press Secretary

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin announced that Dr. Beth Vrabel has joined his Capitol staff as Health Policy Advisor. In this role, she will serve as the senior advisor to the senator on all aspects of health care policy and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Vrabel fills the vacancy left by former Policy Director Priscilla Ross. Also recently joining Team Cardin is Tim Zink, who serves as Press Secretary. Mr. Zink is based at Senator Cardin’s primary state office in Baltimore.

“This is tremendous news for Maryland. I am proud that we have brought to our team an individual with the legal and medical expertise, and commitment to public health, as Dr. Beth Vrabel. I am thankful to have her by my side as we fight to protect the right of every Marylander and every American to affordable, quality health coverage,” said Senator Cardin. “Dr. Vrabel has analyzed the positive impacts of the Affordable Care Act up close, and I am proud to welcome her intelligence, empathy and fresh perspective to our team.”    

Dr. Vrabel earned her MD at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore where she witnessed daily the harsh disparities that result in 30 years difference in life expectancy between Baltimore City’s healthiest and poorest neighborhoods. Her work with a professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, to design and complete a study regarding the projected effect of the Affordable Care Act’s two-year increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates for primary care services and its impact on physician participation and perceptions, helped to cement her decision to focus on policy issues.  While at JHU, Dr. Vrabel also served as co-leader of the Domestic Health Policy Interest Group, organizing events for the medical school community on the legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act.   

Analyzing the nexus between the ACA and the law was inevitable for Dr. Vrabel, as she had previously earned a JD from Harvard Law School. Beth practiced law in New York City as a litigator with Cravath, Swaine and Moore, and as an Assistant Counsel at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She also volunteered with Planned Parenthood and worked as a research associate in New York medical centers, all before heading to medical school. Her undergraduate studies were at Indiana University, where she earned a BS in Biology with High Distinction. Dr. Vrabel most recently has been serving as a health fellow with Senator Ed Markey. 

“Tim has dedicated his career to protecting our environment and especially our precious water resources. We share a love for the Chesapeake Bay and a passion for spreading the word about what it will take to restore this national treasure to good health,” said Senator Cardin. “I’m proud to welcome Tim as part of our press team and an integral part of the Cardin family.”

For four years prior to joining Senator Cardin’s staff, Tim Zink advised the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on communications strategies following oil spills and toxic releases in our nation’s oceans, most notably the 2010 BP/Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He earlier directed communications and marketing for the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, a congressionally chartered non-profit organization, and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a groundbreaking coalition of fishing, hunting and environmental organizations.  Prior to these posts, he managed media relations for Trout Unlimited, the country’s foremost organization devoted to the protection of cold water resources. Zink began his career as an environmental journalist, helping launch Blue Ridge Press, a syndicated column service publishing on environmental issues, and assisting the magazine and television operations of the National Geographic Society. A widely published outdoors writer and halfway decent fly fisherman, he holds a B.A. in Journalism from Washington & Lee University.