MPHA would like to thank Cheryl Bartlett for leadership as the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Ms. Bartlett has announced that she will be stepping down from her position in mid-December to serve as the Executive Director of the newly formed Cape Cod Regional Substance Abuse Prevention Initiative, where she will spearhead a new program aimed at preventing opiate addiction through education and healthful alternatives to substance abuse.
In time as Commissioner, and for many years prior to her leadership positions at DPH, Cheryl has always been a true advocate for public health and friend to MPHA. Ms. Bartlett’s list of accomplishments is long:
- She helped launch the Mass in Motion program and guided it in its early years, and has continued to be a strong supporter to ensure the program’s success, despite funding challenges.
- She helped overhaul pharmacy regulations.
- In the aftermath of the Marathon bombing, she coordinated care between emergency responders and hospitals to make sure there were enough staff and beds to treat injured patients.
- She worked closely with legislators to help them understand the core regulatory and inspectional services of the department – such as the food protection program – that were suffering from years of budget cuts – and, together with us, succeeded in winning increased funding.
- She oversaw the launch of the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund – a program with new and complex demands that is being watched across the country.
- She brought a strong focus on social determinants of health and worked with her peers in transportation, housing, and other agencies, to more fully integrate public health considerations into their work.
- She reinstated the Office of Local Health and a new dialogue with local health officials about how the Department can better support the challenging and under-appreciated work that our local boards do.
Cheryl is a leader, innovator, and great collaborator, who knows the breadth and depth of public health in Massachusetts better than anyone, and her departure is a loss for public health in Massachusetts. Thank you Cheryl and best wishes from all of us at MPHA!