Title: 1) Director of Strategy and Innovation; 2) Adjunct Professor
Company: 1) Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services; 2) Rhode Island College
Location: Smithfield, Rhode Island, United States
James C. Rajotte, director of strategy and innovation at Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services and an adjunct professor at Rhode Island College, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Healthcare Professionals for dedication, achievements, and leadership in public health.
In preparation for his dynamic and purposeful career dedicated to improving lives, Mr. Rajotte earned a Master of Science in leadership from Roger Williams University (RWU) in Bristol, Rhode Island, and a Bachelor of Science in biology, science, technology, and society, graduating, magna cum laude, from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York. The Rhode Island native and resident started his celebrated leadership trek early in life as the proud salutatorian at William E. Tolman Senior High School in Pawtucket. The recipient of dozens of awards and recognitions over the past two decades, Mr. Rajotte was included in coveted “40 Under 40” lists in Providence Business News and by The de Beaumont Foundation, received the Dean’s Award of Excellence at RWU, won the Outstanding Scientific Publication for Program Practice and Evaluation Award and a Director Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and was the winner of the President’s Medal and a theoretical research award at RPI—among other professional and educational honors.
Mr. Rajotte attributes his success to his late mother, Patricia Rajotte, who worked in public health and has been described as her as his best-ever role model. While growing up, he learned from her personal story of endurance and grit amid poverty, her family-first approach, and how she treated others. Mr. Rajotte served as her caretaker throughout her journey with cancer, which lasted more than a decade before she passed away in 2018. She remains the guiding force in his life, and he will always credit her for the person that he is today. Mr. Rajotte is also grateful to other early mentors for helping to instill in him leadership qualities during his high school years, crediting Dr. Robert Crausman, an academic advisor, and Sandra Del Sesto, former executive director of the Initiatives for Human Development.
With key health-related certifications under his belt, Mr. Rajotte specializes in forging strategic partnerships that proactively move public health forward. In his role as the director of strategy and innovation at the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services, he is working with the Office of the Attorney General, for example, to help monitor the successful use of the opioid settlement that they are receiving as a part of their historic overdose response. A primary initiative is maintaining a strong focus on improving health outcomes for Rhode Island residents by transforming the health system and addressing health equity and insurance reform. As an adjunct professor at Rhode Island College, Mr. Rajotte created the first class in the state for healthcare administration graduate students that focuses on leveraging system transformation to improve population health.
In his daily responsibilities, Mr. Rajotte has two roles with the state: the assistant director of health at the State of Rhode Island Department of Health in the division of COVID-19 operations and the interdepartmental project manager for the Division of Community and Health Equity, leading their Center for Health Promotion. To guarantee consistent government response towards health, he prioritizes partnerships with the Department of Housing and other agencies and has demonstrated his public health emergency preparedness response and leadership skills during the pandemic by managing all epidemiological outbreak operations for governments, correctional facilities, healthcare centers, and workplace settings. Mr. Rajotte’s critical duties also include planning a medical respite care center where injured and homeless people can recover and a 24-hour warming station that offers healthcare and housing services for the unsheltered and marginalized, working on 370,000 Medicaid renewals, overseeing the communications department to ensure clear and inclusive messaging and more.
A member of a plethora of professional, civic, Greek letter, and volunteer organizations as well as a contributing author of multiple articles for professional publications, Mr. Rajotte enjoyed a long career as an authority in public health in Rhode Island before his current roles. To name a few, he was chief of the Center for Health Promotion for the Rhode Island Department of State, a patient council member at Anchor Medical Associates, and a psychiatric observer at The Miriam Hospital, Bradley Hospital, and Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Mr. Rajotte was additionally active as an acting inter-department project manager for the director’s office at the Rhode Island Department of Health, a health policy analyst at the Center for Emergency Prepreparedness and Response for the Rhode Island Department of Health, and a public health analyst for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the next few years, Mr. Rajotte hopes to continue to grow professionally while following through with critical changes he believes must be implemented in Rhode Island. There is still a lot of work to do, he says, including completing his work to bring equity to the overdose epidemic. His working motto is: “Remember to paint a picture of where you could be, where you could be going, or what the next steps might mean for the future. Paint the picture with enough details so that other people around you, whether on your team, your stakeholders, or politicians you are trying to bring along with you can see themselves in it.” Mr. Rajotte considers this mantra essential to remind himself to be successful despite challenges and obstacles.
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