Matthew Stearns

Vice President, External Communications

Matt Stearns is vice president, external communications for Optum, the information and technology-enabled health services business of UnitedHealth Group. He leads a high-energy team charged with building, defending and enhancing Optum’s reputation among key stakeholders across all lines of business through media relations, issues management, thought leadership and other visibility efforts.

Prior to joining Optum in 2015, Stearns served for four years as vice president, public affairs communications for UnitedHealth Group. In that role, he provided communications counsel and support for UnitedHealth Group’s government affairs, social responsibility, and public policy and research functions.

Before joining UnitedHealth Group, Stearns was vice president in the public affairs practice of Ketchum, a leading global public relations agency. There, he provided communications counsel to government and Fortune 100 clients in international relations, healthcare during the ACA debate, and financial services during the TARP program, and was lead media strategist across all practice groups in Ketchum’s Washington, D.C. office.

Previously, Stearns spent 12 years as a newspaper reporter in Kansas City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., culminating as national political correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers, the U.S.’s second-largest newspaper chain, during the 2008 presidential campaign. Stearns appeared as a political analyst on several television and radio programs and contributed to a book on the 2006 midterm elections, The Sixth Year Itch.

Stearns earned a bachelor’s degree in religion, with a minor in government, from the College of William & Mary and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.