Rita Landgraf

Rita Landgraf

Director of Partnership for Healthy Communities

Office Location:
Tower at STAR


  • Doctor of Humane Letters, Goldey-Beacom College, 2013
  • BS, Community & Family Services, University of Delaware, 1980

Research Interests

  • Health equity
  • Healthy communities
  • Disease disparities
  • Disabilities
  • Gun violence
  • Trauma
  • Aging
  • Collective impact
  • Private public partnerships


Biden nominee for Assistance Secretary of Aging and Administrator - Administration on Community Living

  • Advisory Board Member, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in DE
  • Executive Advisory Board Member, atTAcK addiction
  • Advisory Member, REACH Riverside Redevelopment Corporation,
  • Board Member and Chair, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Delaware Academy of Medicine
  • Board Member Chair, ChristianaCare Home Health
  • Chair, Highmark BluePrints 
  • Community Advisory Committee, Highmark BlueCross, BlueShield 
  • Board Member, Delaware Pacem in Terris
  • Board Member, Trauma Matters Delaware
  • Board Member, Legislative DDDS Task Force – Member (2019-2021) 
  • Advisory Council Member, The Springboard Collaborative
  • Board Member, Highmark Delaware Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Appointed Delaware Health Mothers Infants Consortium - Co Chair Social Determinants of Health Committee
  • Rita Landgraf, “Treating Financial Well-Being as a Public Health Issue: Lessons from Delaware,” in What It’s Worth: Strengthening the Financial Future of Families, Communities and the Nation. San Francisco/Washington, D.C.: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and CFED, 2015, pp. 173–178, The focus of this work was to demonstrate the impact of financial insecurity on overall health and well-being. Research has proven the direct correlation between the two and the need to create financial literacy and coaching and as tool in building self-sufficiency. Delaware was unique in that the state Department of Health build this integration within state government, now imbedded in law in partnership with United Way, and NGOs. www.strongfinancialfuture.org/experts/rita-landgraf 
  • State-Based Perspectives; The Delaware Perspective, Rita M. Landgraf, Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. The IOM held a workshop August 8-9, 2012, to examine how the use of telehealth technology can fit into the U.S. health care system. The workshop focused on the potential for health care to serve geographically isolated individuals and extend the reach of scarce resources while also emphasizing the quality and value in the delivery of health care services. This document summarizes the workshop. https://www.nap.edu/catalog/13466/the-role-of-telehealth-in-an-evolving-health-care-environment
  • NGA - A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities aims to increase employment among individuals with disabilities. Rita Landgraf served as subject matter expert to this yearlong initiative while Governor Markel served as NGA Chair. The Blue Print for Governors is a culmination of the 2012-2013 National Governor's Association initiative "A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities." The blueprint focuses on the employment of people with disabilities and the role of states in assisting businesses.
  • January 2015, Rita Landgraf was selected out of nearly 300 applicants, by the USDOL to serve with 16 other members to represent six groups, as described in the law. Rita Landgraf served as a public expert on disability employment. As provided for by section 609 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by section 461 of Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA), Congress has directed the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (the Committee) to prepare and submit a Final Report to the Secretary of Labor and to Congress. The Final Report summarizes the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the Committee on ways to increase competitive employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities or other individuals with significant disabilities as well as the use and oversight of the certificate program as carried out under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. As required by law, the Committee submitted the Final Report to the Secretary and Congress on September 15, 2016.
  • The disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals in poverty, individuals with substance use and mental health diagnoses and communities of color has been well documented. A recent report from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health illustrated the relationship between health disparities among vulnerable populations and the spread of COVID-19 In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified early on that persons experiencing homelessness are at high risk for COVID 19. Homeless services are often provided in congregate settings, which could facilitate the spread of infection The CDC emphasized that health departments and healthcare facilities should be aware that people who are homeless are a particularly vulnerable group and recommended that if possible, identifying non-congregate settings where those at highest risk can stay may help protect them from COVID-19. On March 24, 2020 the COVID-19 Homeless Community Outreach Partnership was established by Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) and charged with identifying and engaging individuals experiencing homeless to 1) Identify if COVID-19 viral activity was present among the homeless, especially in night shelters remaining open, and those living on the streets, many of whom would continue to congregate outside of day shelters that were closed in light of the State’s restrictions.2) Triage and place in shelter (largely motels and hotels throughout the state) those homeless who were extremely vulnerable to the acuity of COVID-19 if exposed to the virus. The triage was largely implemented based on CDC guidelines, and included those testing positive for COVID-19 and or exposed to someone positive, those 65 and older, and those with chronic medical conditions Specifically, the outreach team engaged homeless individuals, conducted 2,528 screenings for COVID-19 symptoms, and other concerning vital signs. Our approach evolved as the availability of testing increased and we were thankful to many of the health care providers and the Division of Public Health for donating testing supplies to our teams. In addition, all on the ground team members were in full Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), which was also donated. Since this was primarily a COVID-19 outreach activation, centralized housing to safely isolate and/or self-quarantine is a critical component of a holistic outreach model to mitigate the spread of COVID19 among vulnerable individuals, particularly those who screen presumptive positive during outreach. It is important to note that regardless of whether the individual was COVID-19 positive or negative, the addition of this essential housing resource for protection and self-quarantine for vulnerable populations statewide was strategically established early in the activation to help mitigate viral spread and positively impact health outcomes for all Delawareans.
  • Dover Micro Open Street Events: Evaluation Results and Implications for Community-Based Physical Activity Programming Richard Robert Suminski JR , Chanda Jackson-Short, Noel Duckworth, Eric Plautz, Karen Speakman, Rita Landgraf, Freda Patterson. Frontiers in Public Health. Published on 22 Nov 2019. Testing the feasibility of a system-based approach to deliver a smoking cessation and food nudging intervention at food pantry sites https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31150558/
  • Freda Patterson, Shannon Robson, Charlotte McGarry, Denise Taylor, Samantha Halvorsen, Samantha Rex, Rita Landgraf. Food-insecure adults disproportionately experience high cardiovascular risk. Guided by the Feeding America recommendations, we tested the feasibly of a system-based approach to address the cardiovascular risk behaviors of current smoking and dietary choice at food distribution sites. Food pantries affiliated with the Food Bank of Delaware organization (N = 14) were invited to take part. Pantries who agreed solicited personnel within the pantry (i.e., staff, active volunteers) to become trained. Access to Employment as Access to Health: Revisiting the Better Bottom Line – an Interview with former Governor Jack Markell and former Secretary Rita Landgraf Delaware Journal of Public Health. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMuuB4nruTc