Dr. Matilde Castiel

2023 Local Public Health Leadership Award

Dr. Matilde (Mattie) Castiel was first named the City of Worcester’s Commissioner for Health and Human Services in September 2015. In this capacity, she oversees the Divisions of Public Health, Youth Services, Human Rights and Disabilities, Veterans Affairs, Elder Affairs, and Homelessness along with advancing important new initiatives that fall under the scope of youth violence and the current opioid crisis, mental health, reentry from jail, and COVID-19.

At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Castiel used every opportunity to mobilize city-wide stakeholders to meet community members on the ground. This included convening a COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force that updated Covid-positive data by demographic and zip-code, informing mobile testing and then alter vaccine outreach. This also included securing vaccines from the state so that Worcester’s public health department could provide vaccination cites around the city, including locations such as churches, community centers, shelters, senior and public housing, and many more.

Dr. Castiel was on the founding Executive Committee of the Massachusetts Large Cities Health Collaborative and currently serves as its President.

A doctor by training, she has worked as a Board-certified physician in Internal Medicine in the Worcester community for over 34 years, including working at UMass Memorial Medical Center and Family Health Center of Worcester and as an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, and Psychiatry at UMass Medical School.

Dr. Castiel has always held a professional and personal mission to work with the underserved. She founded the Latin American Health Alliance (LAHA), a nonprofit organization in Worcester dedicated to combating homelessness and drug addiction in 2009, where she continues to serve as its Medical Director today. LAHA’s programs consist of the Hector Reyes House a substance abuse treatment facility for Latine individuals and two transitional houses, one of which is named after her. In 2015, LAHA opened Café Reyes on Shrewsbury Street, an innovative jobs training program for the residents at Hector Reyes House and transitional houses.

Dr. Matilde “Mattie” Castiel was born in Camaguey, Cuba and immigrated to the U.S. in 1962 as part of Operation Peter Pan. Raised and educated in California, she completed her medical training at the University of California-San Francisco after earning a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from California State University – Northridge.

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