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As a physician working in the Commonwealth over the past twenty years, I’ve seen the groundbreaking – and lifesaving – role that the Department of Public Health has played on the front lines of protecting the well-being of all Massachusetts residents. It is an incredible honor to be asked by Governor Charlie Baker and Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders to serve as the next Commissioner of Public Health.

Bharel head shotPrior to joining the Department, I served as Chief Medical Officer at Boston Health Care for the Homeless, the largest nonprofit health care organization for homeless individuals in the country, providing health care to over 12,500 homeless men, women, and children at over 70 sites across the Greater Boston region. It was an extraordinary opportunity, and one which highlighted for me the pressing health care needs of underserved and vulnerable populations, and the vital importance of promoting health equity in all corners of the Commonwealth. This is a challenge that I believe is key to truly achieving the transformational – and real – health care reform we have worked so hard for over the past decade.

It’s been just several days since I began serving as Commissioner, and already I have been deeply impressed with the heartfelt commitment of so many of my colleagues at DPH to improve the health and well-being of all of the more than six and half million fellow Massachusetts residents.

I’m delighted to lead a team that will redouble its efforts in so many areas – including robustly addressing the crisis of opioid addiction, ensuring public health is at the table in tackling homelessness, reducing health disparities, finding public health solutions to support health care reform, and supporting innovative solutions by leveraging critical data and outcome measurements across program areas.

What’s more, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to hearing the insights and ideas of each and every one of our stakeholders, legislators, municipal and community leaders, agencies, health care providers, grass-roots advocates, and residents. At the end of the day, you are the ideas, the inspiration, and the cause.

I look forward to the conversation – and the hard work to follow!

Written By:


Commissioner of the Department of Public Health

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