In Memoriam: Colette Lamothe-Galette

On April 4, 2020, at the beginning of National Public Health Week, New Jersey lost Colette Lamothe-Galette to complications from COVID-19.

Colette was a public health champion and hero, and one of NJ’s finest public health leaders, known to all in the public health community for dedicating her life’s work to eliminating health disparities and addressing health equity.

A native of Newark, NJ Colette served as Senior Program Manager with The Nicholson Foundation, leading early childhood and health initiatives. Prior to that she spent almost 15 years at the New Jersey Department of Health.  Her accomplishments included public health accreditation and serving as the Department’s first Director of Population Health, amongst many other accomplishments.

She represented excellence within the public health community, but her character was second to none.  She invested in people and engaged everyone that she met.  When you spoke to her, she made you feel that only you mattered.  We will miss her brilliance, her love of people and her infectious laugh.  Colette was also a wife, mother, daughter, sister, godmother, auntie and friend to all.

The state owes Colette a debt of gratitude for her contributions and service and has honored her legacy, by establishing the Colette Lamothe-Galette (CLG) Community Health Worker Institute and dedicating it to her memory.  The CLG Institute will house a statewide training program launched by the NJ Department of Health in May 2020 and will train community health workers using an apprenticeship model that includes community college partners from Camden, Mercer, Ocean and Essex, in addition to other public and private partners.  The training launched the first week of October 2020 with the first cohort of students beginning their instruction on October 27, 2020.   The standardized curriculum will include CHW core competencies and a focus on trauma informed care and health equity.  The Institute will train CHWs with the same commitment to excellence exemplified by Colette Lamothe-Galette.

NJ will miss Colette's bright light, and her legacy will remain forever.

Last Reviewed: 11/16/2020