News

NICHQ Names Elizabeth Coté its Chief Health Officer

CHO hire reflects NICHQ's emphasis on social determinants of health

May 29, 2018
NICHQ Chief Health Officer Elizabeth Coté, MD, MPA
NICHQ CHO Elizabeth Coté, MD, MPA

BOSTON The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) today announced Elizabeth Coté, MD, MPA, will join its executive team as Chief Health Officer. In this role, Coté will provide medical and public health leadership to NICHQ programs and advance the organization’s mission as a leader in children’s health. Coté is a Harvard-trained physician deeply rooted in service to under-resourced communities. She joins NICHQ on May 31.

“Elizabeth’s clinical and public policy experience among varied and diverse populations will enhance the on-the-ground capabilities of our team,” says NICHQ CEO Scott D. Berns, MD, MPH, FAAP. “As we focus on addressing health equity and social determinants of health to improve health outcomes throughout our project portfolio, we are fortunate to have Elizabeth join our team and bring her unique lens to help us meet our mission.”

Coté most recently worked for the Indian Health Services (IHS) as the clinical director for the Micmac Service Unit, serving a Native American community in Northern Maine. There she earned national recognition from IHS for reducing opioid prescribing by 70 percent and tripling the number of patients treated for substance abuse. Under Coté’s direction, the clinic reached record numbers on quality targets and the life expectancy rose significantly, owing to a focus on reducing preventable deaths, such as suicide and drug use. IHS is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services.

"From the front lines of the most overstretched health systems both in the U.S. and abroad, I’ve seen dramatic health improvement happen,” says Elizabeth Coté, MD, MPA, chief health officer, NICHQ. “I'm thrilled to join the passionate professionals at NICHQ, who work with stakeholders and families to develop new strategies, push boundaries, remove barriers and drive improvements that will ultimately create optimal health for children."

Over her career, Coté led health initiatives in France, Haiti, India and Iraq with a focus on improving health equity for marginalized communities. In Haiti, she provided medical relief to earthquake victims and deployed a mobile medical record system that tracked patients and prevented family separation. Coté founded a program in Chennai, India that trained orphanage caregivers to prevent and detect newborn disease and set occupational standards for the caregivers. The work helped decrease newborn deaths by 30 percent. In Iraq, she worked to rebuild the healthcare infrastructure and was awarded the Joint Civilian Service Achievement Award by the U.S. Department of Defense.

In 2011, Coté was appointed as a White House Fellow by President Barack Obama and served the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius. As part of a small federal team commissioned by the Secretary, Coté worked with states to help them make the policy changes and payment reforms of the Affordable Care Act work best for them. She also assessed and helped shape the federal response to critical prescription drug shortages. In 2000, working with the Boston-based consumer group Health Care for All, Coté led the enrollment of school-aged children in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through the free and reduced school meals program. It was recognized as a best practice by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Coté received her bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College. She earned her medical degree at Harvard Medical School and her master’s degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Read more about all the members of NICHQ’s executive team.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Caitlin Forbes
Caitlin Forbes
NICHQ Communications Manager
cforbes@nichq.org or 617-391-2727