Press Releases

Office of Health Strategy


Office of Health Strategy and Department of Public Health Selected to Participate in the Strategies to Repair Equity and Transform Community Health (STRETCH) Initiative


December 14, 2021


(Hartford, CT) – Connecticut’s Office of Health Strategy Executive Director Victoria Veltri and the Department of Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD, announced Connecticut, among ten states in total, has been selected to participate in the Strategies to Repair Equity and Transform Community Health (STRETCH) Initiative, a cohort learning opportunity to advance the state’s existing Health Enhancement Community (HEC) model.


The Health Enhancement Community (HEC) Initiative developed by OHS and DPH with input from a diverse set of stakeholders across Connecticut, including more than 225 community members and more than 50 groups, organizations, agencies, and/or individuals, is focused on supporting the health and well-being of individuals and families across the state by improving community health, health equity, and preventing poor health. HECs utilize community resident consultants and multi-sector organizations to identify and put forth upstream interventions to address social determinants of health (SDOH) and health inequities.


With the collaborative support from the Centers for Disease and Control Foundation (CDCF), Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), and the Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI), the STRETCH Initiative will focus on building collaborative partnerships through virtual learning sessions, provide networking opportunities, on-site CDCF funded staff training, sharing and dissemination of federal, national, and state/territorial resources, as well as robust and tailored technical assistance to OHS and DPH participants.


The OHS and DPH team will include three senior leaders, a consultant, and an HEC representative to collaborate on the 12-month long project to “focus on capacity building, establish a learning community combining virtual engagements to strengthen their partnerships and planning with communities, develop connections and strategies to work leverage new federal funding opportunities in ways that advance equity, and enable public health and other systems to work together,” as described in the STRETCH Cohort Application.


“This is an incredible opportunity, and our team is excited to have been selected as participants in this cohort,” OHS Executive Director Vicki Veltri said. “Our team values the support from the CDC Foundation, ASTHO and MPHI on opportunities to identify and engage in networking opportunities to focus on building healthier communities, address health inequities, and overall supporting our state’s public health mission.”

“There is always going to be a need to improve community health and equity,” said DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD. “The work that comes from the Health Enhancement Communities will serve as a blueprint for issues that top the list of every hospital and provider in our region. Only 10 states have been selected to take part in the STRETCH initiative and that alone shows the difference a successful collaboration between all these stakeholders can make in the lives of our residents.”

The STRETCH initiative will run from December 2021 through January 2023.



Contact: Tina (Kumar Hyde), Manager of External Affairs

Office of Health Strategy

Tina.Hyde@ct.govCell: (860) 969-7228

Contact: Christopher Boyle

Connecticut Department of Public Health

860-706-9654 (cell)