Gifford named Acting Commissioner of DPH, replacing Coleman-Mitchell


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Ned Lamont announced Tuesday that he has appointed the Department of Social Services Commissioner Deidre Gifford to serve as Acting Commissioner of the State Department of Public Health.

Renée Coleman-Mitchell had served as Commissioner since the spring of 2019. Governor Lamont thanks her for her service.

“I appreciate Commissioner Coleman-Mitchell’s willingness to join my administration and lead one of our most vital state agencies, which is responsible for overseeing so many critical public health needs,” Governor Lamont said in a release. “Her service over the last year has been a great deal of help, particularly in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic that has brought disruption to many throughout the world. I thank her for her advocacy on behalf of the health and safety of our residents, and for being a dedicated partner in service to the State of Connecticut.”

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has required every state agency to even more closely align with each other and sync our operations to deliver a coordinated response for the people of Connecticut. I am determined to continue these efforts for the duration of our emergency response and beyond,” Commissioner Gifford said.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Coleman-Mitchell said of the decision, “It has been an honor to serve the state of Connecticut as Commissioner of the Department of Public Health.”

She added she was told by the governor’s staff “the decision to move the Department of Public Health in a different direction was not related to job performance.”

When I was appointed by Governor Lamont just over a year ago, I said that I would serve his
administration with an unwavering commitment to the public health needs of our communities, I
would give honest advice, and I would do so without regard to politics. I believe I have fulfilled
that commitment.

I was informed by the Governor’s staff that the decision to move the Department of Public Health in a different direction was not related to job performance. I take them at their word.

I am proud of the work of the Department of Public Health during this time of unprecedented
turmoil and threat to public health. Our coordinated response to the COVID-19 public health
crisis earned praise from public health experts around the country. Our citizens have uniformly
praised our efforts to keep communities safe.

As we have seen this virus ravage underrepresented and underserved communities, we have been resolute in assuring that those in our most vulnerable communities were protected. I am most proud of my role in promoting and implementing the creation of COVID recovery facilities, which will help make our retirement and elderly community populations safer and less susceptible to the indiscriminate suffering that the virus causes. Indeed, our plan was praised by David Grabowski, a professor of public health care policy at Harvard Medical School….

I thank Governor Lamont for the opportunity to serve his administration I look forward to greater opportunities to come.

– Renée Coleman-Mitchell

This is a developing story, check back for more details.

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