Monica Bharel, MD, MPH, is a Senior Advisor to the Mayor of Boston who served as the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health from 2015 until 2021. As Commissioner, she was responsible for spearheading the state's response to the opioid crisis, implementation of health care cost containment legislation, reducing health disparities, finding public health solutions for health care reform, finding innovative solutions using data and evidence-based practices, and other health care quality improvement initiatives.
From 2003 until 2015 Dr. Bharel served as the Chief Medical Officer of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, the largest nonprofit health care organization for homeless individuals in the country. The nonprofit program is devoted to providing medical care to one of the city's most vulnerable populations and under her leadership, the organization provided health care to over 12,500 homeless men, women and children in the greater Boston area at over 70 different sites.
In the public service sector, Dr. Bharel was a gubernatorial appointment to the Behavioral Health and Primary Care Integration Task Force under the Massachusetts health care payment reform initiative. She has also participated on the Massachusetts Medicaid payment reform policy committee and Primary Care Payment Reform Initiative operations committee. Additionally, she served on the National Quality Forum expert panel on Risk Adjustment for Socioeconomic Status.
Dr. Bharel has served on the faculty of Boston University Medical School, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health. She was previously at Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Medical Center. She has practiced general internal medicine for 20 years in neighborhood health centers, city hospitals, the Veterans Administration, university hospitals and nonprofit organizations. She received her Master of Public Health degree through the Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy, with a concentration in health care policy and management in 2012. She received her medical degree from Chobanian and Avedisian School of Medicine in 1994 and in 1998 completed a residency and chief residency in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital/Boston Medical Center.
Her areas of interest include preventive health care and chronic disease management for underserved populations through system- based improvements. Her areas of research have included cervical cancer screening in homeless women, treatment of alcohol use among homeless women, and hepatitis C in vulnerable populations.