David R. Gifford, MD, MPH

Director of Health in Rhode Island

David R. Gifford, MD, MPH, has been Director of Health in Rhode Island since March 2005. His vision focuses on making sure Rhode Islanders will live long and healthy lives by expanding primary care, and changing policies to make it easier to live a healthy lifestyle and harder to live an unhealthy lifestyle. He led the states effort to address H1N1 resulting in the nations highest vaccination rates. He has championed efforts to prevent wrong-sided surgery and refocused the nursing home survey process to promote a more home-like person centered model. He currently is focusing his efforts to address childhood obesity and tobacco use, reduce ethnic disparities, expand the use of HIT, and realign insurance payments to promote prevention and better health outcomes. Under his leadership, the Department of Health is working with the state Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO) to develop a statewide Health Information Exchange (HIE) and he serves as the state’s Health Information Technology (HIT) Coordinator. Dr. Gifford participates in numerous national, state and local health-related committees. Dr. Gifford serves as council chair for the National Quality Forum’s Public & Community Health Council and is a member of the National Commission on Prevention Priorities. He served on the National Governors’ Association Health Information Communication and Data Exchange Task Force. He currently sits on the Board of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and is a member of their executive committee. He completed his primary care residency and geriatric fellowship at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) after graduating from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. While a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar, Dr. Gifford received his Master’s in Public Health (MPH) in Epidemiology from UCLA. He currently holds a position as clinical Associate Professor of Medicine and Community Health at Brown University. Prior to his appointment as Director of Health, Dr. Gifford served as Chief Medical Officer for Quality Partners of Rhode Island where he directed CMS’s national nursing home-based quality improvement effort.