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For two decades, Dr. Bharel has worked to improve the lives of vulnerable populations in Boston. Now, in her capacity as Commissioner of the Department of Public Health (DPH), she is expanding her reach to develop and implement reforms that will impact residents across the state.

Since being sworn in as DPH Commissioner by Governor Charlie Baker in February, Dr. Bharel has been at the forefront of addressing some of the most challenging public health issues of our time. She, along with the Governor and Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, is a driving force behind the increased efforts to combat the opioid addiction epidemic, address homelessness and create public health solutions that support health care reform.

Monica Bharel, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Dr. Monica Bharel, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health

On November 4, Commissioner Bharel received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from Hearth Inc. She will accept the award at Hearth’s 2015 Annual Meeting where she will also serve as the keynote speaker of the day.

“Hearth chose to recognize Dr. Bharel with the Hearth Distinguished Service Award for many reasons.  As Chief Medical Director for Boston Health Care for the Homeless she strove on a daily basis to bring quality health care to the most vulnerable, dispossessed people in our community.  As a researcher and professor, she kept a laser focus on eliminating disparities in health care, fighting inequities, and improving access and quality of care for the most vulnerable.  We also appreciate her as a long-time supporter, colleague and friend of Hearth.”

Dr. Bharel has a distinguished career, and has been lauded for her dedication to health care for underserved populations, including with the Albert Schweitzer Award from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Before joining DPH, Dr. Bharel worked at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program – the largest nonprofit health care organization for homeless individuals in the country – where she served as an acting physician and as the Chief Medical Officer for more than 10 years. She was a member of the faculty at both Harvard Medical School and Boston University School of Medicine.

Dr. Bharel completed her Medical Degree at Boston University School of Medicine in 1994, and her residency and chief residency in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital and Boston Medical Center. She received her Master of Public Health in 2012 through the Mongan Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy.

“Hearth Inc. does incredible, life-saving and changing work each and every day. I’m humbled and honored to receive this award, and look forward to continuing to work with valuable partners like Hearth Inc. on combatting the opioid crisis, reducing homelessness, and ensuring appropriate de-stigmatized care for all.”

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