Deb Polun, M.A.
Director of Government Affairs/Media Relations
As Director of Government Affairs/Media Relations, I help fulfill CHCACT’s mission by establishing strategic direction for our organization and member centers. Improving access to primary care for all Connecticut residents requires a strong commitment on the part of elected and appointed policymakers, both at the state and federal level. My role is to educate policymakers, stakeholders, the media and the public in order to build awareness of and support for CHCACT’s work. I also represent CHCACT on statewide task forces, testify at public hearings of the legislature and meet with public officials – ensuring that community health centers and their patients have a voice in public policymaking in our state.
Prior to CHCACT, I spent thirteen years working for the Connecticut General Assembly. For nine of those years, I worked for the Senate Majority Office as a senior policy analyst and Special Assistant to the Senate President Pro Tempore. My specialty areas were health, human services and issues related to children and the elderly. During my time in the Senate Majority Office, I facilitated the passage of numerous significant pieces of legislation; my time there was “bookended” by Connecticut’s passage of our nation’s first mental health parity law in 1999 and a major health reform package in 2007.
My next role was as the Legislative Director for the Connecticut Commission on Aging, a nonpartisan legislative office. The Commission on Aging is the major driver behind the reform of long-term care in our state, working to “rebalance” the system to provide choice, independence and dignity as we age. My policy areas also included economic security, Medicaid, and heating and food assistance, as well as being the main point of contact for policymakers about issues facing Connecticut as our population of older adults surges.
I am so thrilled to bring my legislative and policy expertise, and my passion for helping all of Connecticut’s residents, to CHCACT. The mission of the organization dovetails perfectly with my experiences and I look forward to helping our community health centers grow and thrive.
I have an M.A. from the University of Connecticut in Social Psychology, where I focused on the psychology of long-term disease prevention, and completed additional coursework towards a PhD. I also hold a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and Sociology from Tulane University in New Orleans.