Denise Octavia Smith

Research Associate I

Denise Octavia Smith is the projects manager for the Health Disparities Institute, leading the development and implementation of our health and public policy research agenda and statewide coalition with specific focus on community engaged research.

In her current role at HDI, Mrs. Smith leads the development of the Equal Coverage to Care Coalition, comprised of state agencies, nonprofits, foundations, advocates and direct service providers who seek to increase community capacity to understand and use health insurance to access benefits, protections and services and simply health insurance so that all Connecticut residents can achieve well-being.

As a health services consultant, grant writer and community health worker with 12 years of workforce and public health program development experience, her prior roles include the Director of Career and Education Initiatives for Central Area Health Education Center, Inc. and the Training Coordinator for Access Health CT where she developed the statewide training, certification, consumer engagement strategies and continuing education opportunities for 400 culturally and linguistically diverse Navigators, In-Person Assisters and Certified Application Counselors during Connecticut’s first open enrollment.

Mrs. Smith has presented for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, National Academy for State Health Policy, Enroll America, the CT State Department of Education, and others. Her current advisory appointments include the University of Pennsylvania PCORI-funded “Governance of Learning Healthcare Systems” project, Connecticut State Innovation Model Consumer Advisory Board, and the CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Multicultural Advisory Council. Mrs. Smith is a 2016 Universal Health Care Foundation “Leaders in Action” Fellow, wife and mother of four.