Described on the Yale School of Public Health website as “a leader in building effective community-based chronic disease prevention programs,” Connecticut’s Commissioner of Public Health, Dr. Jewel Mullen, has a long academic association with Yale, even as both were catapulted into the breaking news spotlight with a possible case of the Ebola virus in a patient under care at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Mullen is also well-acquainted with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, having served on public health advisory committees, appointed by the CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Little known by state residents outside of the public health community, she is well regarded within those circles.
She is the New England regional representative to the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) Board of Directors and chairs ASTHO’s Prevention Policy Committee. In 2013, she was appointed to the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Quality Measures for the Healthy People Leading Health Indicators.
Appointed as Commissioner by Governor Dannel Malloy at the start of his administration in 2011, Dr. Mullen has combined clinical work, research, teaching and administration throughout a career focused on improving the health of all people, especially the under served. Board certified in internal medicine, Dr. Mullen received her Bachelor (1977) and Master (1996) of Public Health degrees from Yale University where she also completed a post-doctoral fellowship in psychosocial epidemiology.
Earlier this month, Malloy declared a public health emergency in Connecticut, issuing a precautionary and preparatory order that allows state public health officials to coordinate a targeted quarantine in case Ebola arrives in the state, with decision-making authority residing in Commission Mullen. Without the Governor’s declaration, there would not be a statewide ability to isolate or quarantine – instead, the authority would have remained with individual local public health directors.
Prior to joining the Department of Public Health, Dr. Mullen was director of the Bureau of Community Health and Prevention at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. In 2012 the CDC appointed Dr. Mullen to its advisory committee on health disparities, a subcommittee of the Advisory Committee to the Director. Earlier in her career, she was the medical director of Baystate Mason Square Neighborhood Health Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. She graduated from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine where she was elected to AOA, the National Medical Honor Society, after which she completed her residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
In addition to being a physician, Mullen is also an educator, who has taught medicine at several different universities including New York University, the University of Virginia, Yale and Tufts University. . She also holds a Master in Public Administration degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is currently listed as a lecturer in epidemiology (chronic diseases) and in public health by the Yale School of Public Health and is an ex-officio member of the state Board of Regents for Higher Education.
Her priorities at the Connecticut Department of Public Health, according to the Department website, include chronic disease and injury prevention, health care quality and safety, health equity, and supporting local efforts to create healthy communities. She has lived in Connecticut since 1992.