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Craig Newmark's Badge of Honor: VA 'Nerd-in-Residence'

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Though he is best known as the founder of Craigslist, Craig Newmark also is a driver of innovation in government. As a consultant to the Veteran's Affairs Department, Newmark likes to call himself VA's "Nerd-in-Residence." His work there focuses on the Blue Button initiative to make electronic health records available to all veterans. The Blue Button program aims to accelerate the processing of claims and improve patient care. 

He recently spoke with reporter Joseph Marks at Nextgov Prime in Washington about his work on the project. Newmark noted that one of his most important roles at VA is to stand up for and publicize the people who are doing good work at the agency. If no one hears about it, it's as if it hasn't happened, he said. 

"People doing good work deserve to be acknowledged," Newmark said. "If you don't have good medical records around and family history, that can kill you."

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Caitlin Fairchild joined Government Executive in summer 2011 as an editorial fellow, after graduating from the College of William & Mary, where she spent four years writing for the student newspaper, The Flat Hat. In March 2012, she was hired full time as a web producer. She has completed internships at Washingtonian Magazine and at the public affairs office of Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas.

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