James Rajotte

Chief Strategy Officer

Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services
Smithfield , Rhode Island
Class of 2021
See all honorees
Three words to describe me:
motivated, perseverant, innovative
The best part of my job:
working together across agencies and with the community to co-design solutions that work, impact real Rhode Islanders, and focus on ensuring equity.
Something that would surprise others about me:
I was an extra in the movie Jurassic World.

As the Chief Strategy Officer at the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services, James Rajotte oversees the strategy development to transform health systems—such as oral health and adult behavioral health, to combat addiction and overdoses, and to shift investments into community initiatives, housing supports, and prevention efforts.  

As an Assistant Director of Health in 2020, James oversaw Rhode Island’s COVID-19 epidemiological operations for all employer, government, first responder, correctional, and healthcare settings. In this role, he was responsible for case investigation, contact tracing, quarantine/isolation supports, and disease mitigation as well as outbreak detection and management. Thanks to their tireless work, James and his team had successfully managed 97% of identified health care clusters prior to his departure from the COVID response.  

In 2019, James was responsible for leading Rhode Island in responding to the youth vaping epidemic, which included convening the Vaping Advisory Committee and overseeing the Tobacco Control Program team in researching, developing, and proposing policy options pursuant to protecting the public’s health. James and his team were instrumental in Rhode Island becoming the third state to prohibit the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.  

James received his Masters of Science in Leadership from Roger Williams University and two bachelors degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 

My goal as service leader is to empower communities to prevent and reduce physical and behavioral health harms resulting from substance use and addiction, injury and trauma, and their underlying social conditions. At the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, three values consistently inform my strategic recommendations: choice, race equity, and community engagement. The best and most successful solutions are those that provide options because one-size-does-not-fit-all, focus on eliminating bias, and are co-designed with our community members.

PREVIOUS Kari Oldfield NEXT Janna Pastir