Chief Health Officer
Elizabeth Coté, MD, MPA, combines her passion for direct clinical care and knack for system engineering to improve health outcomes. As Chief Health Officer, Coté provides medical and public health leadership to NICHQ programs and advances the organization’s mission as a leader in children’s health.
Prior to joining NICHQ in May 2018, Coté 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.
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.