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Juthani, Yale Infectious Disease Expert, Is Named Connecticut Public Health Commissioner

July 26, 2021
by Robert Forman

Manisha Juthani, MD, associate professor of medicine (infectious diseases) at Yale School of Medicine and of epidemiology (microbial diseases) at Yale School of Public Health, has been nominated by Governor Ned Lamont to be the next commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Juthani has been a central figure both at Yale and as an advisor to government officials during the effort to subdue the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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,” Governor Lamont said. “When seeking candidates to serve in this role, Dr. Juthani came recommended by many top experts in this field, and I am thrilled to have her join our administration.”

“It’s with great honor that I will serve the people of Connecticut in an official capacity throughout the rest of this pandemic and beyond,” Juthani said. “Advocating for public health is central to my core values.”

As she assumes her role as commissioner, effective September 20, Juthani will take a public service leave of absence from the faculty at Yale, whose president, Peter Salovey, thanked her for her work at Yale and wished her well. “On behalf of the Yale community, I extend our gratitude to Dr. Manisha Juthani for serving our home state in this important role,” said Salovey. “Throughout her distinguished career, Dr. Juthani has used her knowledge and expertise to provide the best possible care for patients. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been a trusted health communicator, translating complex ideas into clear and evidence-based guidance for the public. Yale University and Yale New Haven Health are partners with the state on a variety of initiatives that improve and extend life in Connecticut. We are proud of the many students, faculty, and staff members who, like Dr. Juthani, lead and serve here and across the nation and the world.”

Nancy J. Brown, MD, Jean and David W. Wallace Dean of Yale School of Medicine, and C.N.H. Long Professor of Internal Medicine, said that Juthani’s leadership will be an asset to Connecticut. “Manisha Juthani has the expertise and skills to have a significant positive impact on the health of the people in our state,” said Brown. “She has already served as a valued advisor to state and local leaders, as well as within our medical school and Yale New Haven Health System. I look forward to seeing her put her ideas into action as commissioner and to collaborating.”

“We have come so far in our efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic to date, but the work is not done.” Juthani noted, emphasizing that some portions of the population have fared less well than others. “I look forward to working in the Lamont administration to address issues of health equity, disparities, and equal access to care that all residents of Connecticut deserve.” She also noted that public health is much larger than the current pandemic. “We are going to have many other potential issues that come up in the years ahead, and to be able to be involved in an organization that is now at the forefront of people’s recognition that public health is important, that public health is necessary, and that public health infrastructure needs to be in place so you can react at a moment’s notice when a new crisis emerges, is really a humbling and important next step in my own professional journey. ”

Juthani attended Cornell University Medical College, completed residency training at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Campus, and was a chief resident at Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She arrived at Yale School of Medicine in 2002 for Infectious Diseases Fellowship Training and joined the full-time faculty in 2006. She assumed the role of Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program Director in 2012. During her time at Yale, Juthani has also been a distinguished infectious diseases physician with Yale Medicine, the multi-specialty clinical practice of Yale School of Medicine.

“It has been an absolute honor to be at Yale for 19 years,” Juthani said. “All of my training to date and years of experience with colleagues and trainees at Yale have prepared me for this next role.”

As commissioner, Juthani will succeed Dr. Deidre Gifford who has been acting commissioner of the Department of Public Health while also leading the Department of Social Services, where she will continue. In addition, Gifford will become Senior Advisor to the Governor for Health and Human Services.

Submitted by Robert Forman on July 26, 2021