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October 18, 2021 POWER 25 HEALTHCARE

2021 Power 25 Health Care: Deidre Gifford

Deidre Gifford has been one of the key players leading the state through the coronavirus pandemic.

Deidre Gifford, Interim Commissioner, Department of Public Health

Pre-COVID she was the commissioner of the state Department of Social Services but was appointed in May 2020 as interim commissioner of the Department of Public Health, making her one of Gov. Ned Lamont’s closest advisors on COVID-19.

Gifford’s main task this year has been trying to get as many residents as possible vaccinated against the coronavirus. So far, Connecticut has been a leader in this space, with about 69.1% of residents getting fully vaccinated as of Oct. 5, according to a New York Times analysis.

More recently she’s been trying to figure out strategies to get vaccine hesitant residents to get the shot, while also trying to control the spread of the delta variant.

Deidre recently relinquished her interim DPH title, as a new, permanent commissioner — Dr. Manisha Juthani — took over the role. Deidre has taken on a new title of senior advisor to Lamont for health and human services.

Prior to joining the Department of Social Services, from 2016 to 2019 Gifford served as deputy director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Washington, D.C. From 2012 to 2015, she served as Medicaid director in the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

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