Commissioner Deidre Gifford will speak at UConn Pharmacy Pharm.  Start

Commissioner Deidre Gifford will speak at UConn Pharmacy Pharm. Start

Dr. Deidre Gifford, Connecticut State Department of Social Services Commissioner and the Governor’s Senior Advisor for Health and Human Services, will be the commencement speaker for UConn School of Pharmacy’s Pharm.D. class 2022. It will intervene on Sunday 8 May at 18:00 the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts where the ceremony will take place.

Gifford was appointed by Governor Ned Lamont to lead the Department of Social Services in June 2019, following executive service with the Federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and experience in medical practice, the nonprofit sector, and government service in the Rhode Island.

In May 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic escalates, Governor Lamont also named Gifford to direct the Department of Public Health, as Interim Commissioner. She was a leading member of the Governor’s team in planning and implementing the state’s global response to the public health emergency through September 2021.

Commissioner Gifford’s leadership is the reason our School of Pharmacy has been closely involved in the Connecticut state’s effort to vaccinate its citizens. Both students and faculty were involved in contact tracing in 2020 and then in 2021 they witnessed the vaccination, training and certification of health care workers such as EMTs and dentists, who usually do not vaccinate. He also invited one of our faculties, Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Jennifer Girotto, to join the Governor’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group, ‚ÄĚsays Philip Hritcko, Pharm.D., Dean. “We are grateful that we were able to help and grateful that Dr Gifford acknowledged that we could.”

CT DSS Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford, MD, MPH

In July 2021, Governor Lamont appointed Gifford with the additional assignment of serving as the Governor’s senior advisor for health and human services. In this role, she is tasked with coordinating a multi-agency approach between nine state health and human services agencies to improve health and healthcare in Connecticut. The Senior Advisor is responsible for convening and leading coordination efforts between these agencies, working closely with the Office of Policy and Management, as well as providing the Governor with policy input and recommendations addressing health issues, health costs , quality and disparities.

Before starting service in Connecticut, Gifford was Deputy Director for Center for Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) services at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from 2016 to 2019. Prior to joining CMS, she was Director of State Policies and Programs at the National Association of Medicaid Directors, where he led that organization’s efforts with states to support and promote value-based purchasing in Medicaid.

From 2012 to 2015, Gifford served as the Director of Medicaid at the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services, having previously served as the agency’s medical director. During his tenure, you have made changes to the payment and delivery system to improve the quality of care and increase the value of Medicaid services, including development of numerous initiatives in the fields of service coordination, information technology and supplier payment innovations.

A graduate of public health from the University of California at Los Angeles, Gifford received her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College in New York. She specializes in obstetrics and gynecology and holds a master’s degree in public health in epidemiology from UCLA.

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