Executive Director

Welcome to the Office of Health Strategy website. Our mission is to implement comprehensive, data driven strategies that promote equal access to high quality health care, control costs and ensure better health for the people of Connecticut. We invite you to learn more about our work and to participate in our public meetings and work groups. We are dedicated to better health at lower costs for everyone in our state.

Connecticut needs clear vision to help the residents of our state secure the care they need in the complex and rapidly-changing world of health care delivery and payment. We need to make the best use of information and data from many sources so that we can find models that work and test them to make sure they support better health for our people and contain costs. And we need to break down barriers and transform the ways in which we work together so that government, health care providers, payers and consumers can drive the best ideas for Connecticut.

I am honored to work with a creative and talented team of people in OHS, colleagues in state government, stakeholders from all sectors, health care consumers, and elected officials to transform and improve our health care systems so that we can all enjoy better health. That is the goal we pursue every day.

I hope you find helpful information on this website.  We'd love to hear from you with ideas, questions and information. Please attend our public meetings, sign up for our emails, and feel free to contact us at ohs@ct.gov.

Thank you,

Dr. Deidre Gifford, MD, MPH
Executive Director, Office of Health Strategy
Senior Advisor to the Governor for the Health and Human Services

About the Executive Director

Deidre Spelliscy Gifford, MD, MPH, serves the State of Connecticut as Executive Director for the Office of Health Strategy and Senior Advisor to the Governor for Health and Human Services.

Prior to Governor Lamont’s appointing her to lead the Office of Health Strategy,  Dr. Gifford led the CT Department of Social Services from June, 2019 until January 2023.   

In May 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic intensified, Governor Lamont appointed Commissioner Gifford to also head the Department of Public Health, as Acting Commissioner.  She served as a leading member of the Governor’s team in planning and implementing the state’s comprehensive response to the public health emergency until September 2021.

In July 2021, Governor Lamont appointed Commissioner Gifford to the additional duty of serving as Senior Advisor to the Governor for Health and Human Services.  In this role, she is tasked with coordinating a multi-agency approach among the state’s nine health and human services agencies to improving 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 that address issues of health, healthcare costs, quality, and disparities.

Prior to beginning service in Connecticut, Commissioner Gifford was Deputy Director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services at CMS from 2016 to 2019.  Before joining CMS, she served as the Director of State Policy and Programs at the National Association of Medicaid Directors, where she led that organization’s efforts with states to support and advance value-based purchasing in Medicaid.

From 2012 to 2015, Commissioner Gifford served as Medicaid Director in the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services, having previously served as the agency’s medical director.  During her tenure, she advanced changes in the payment and delivery system to improve the quality of care and enhance the value of Medicaid services, including the development of numerous initiatives in care coordination, information technology, and provider payment innovations. 

A graduate in Public Health of the University of California at Los Angeles, Commissioner Gifford received her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College in New York.  She specialized in obstetrics and gynecology, and went on to receive a Master of Public Health degree in epidemiology from UCLA.

At OHS, Dr. Gifford will continue the mission to implement comprehensive, data driven strategies that promote equal access to high quality health care, control costs and ensure better health for the people of Connecticut.