Yale expert picked as next Connecticut public health chief
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Dr. Manisha Juthani, an infectious disease specialist at Yale School of Medicine, was nominated by Connecticut’s governor on Monday to serve as the next commissioner of the Department of Public Health.
Juthani will succeed Dr. Deidre Gifford, the state social services commissioner who has also been leading the health agency since the departure of Renee Coleman-Mitchell in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic.
Juthani was among the doctors who signed a letter in November to Gov. Ned Lamont urging him to prohibit indoor dining, close gyms and ban nonessential social gatherings to slow the spread of the virus.
Juthani will begin the new role on Sept. 20. At a news conference she said she was eager to work on issues including health care equity and disparities in access to treatment. She also commended the health care workers and others who have helped the state through the pandemic.
“We have all been dependent on the guidance of people at the Department of Public Health. It is civil servants in the Department of Public Health who have helped guide the way forward. They have been advocating for the most vulnerable,” she said.
She joined the faculty of Yale’s medical school full-time in 2006 and took on the role of infectious disease fellowship program director in 2012.
“Dr. Juthani’s background in infectious diseases will be a tremendous benefit to the people of Connecticut as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen our vaccination efforts,” Lamont said.
A daughter of immigrants, Juthani said she was humbled by the selection.
“As the first Indian-American commissioner in the state of Connecticut, it gives me great pride to showcase the multicultural state that we are and to showcase the path that any immigrant can take coming to this state to achieve the American dream,” she said.