Mass. Public Health Commissioner On Temporary Medical Leave

Dr. Monica Bharel in 2019. (Sam Doran/State House News Service)
Dr. Monica Bharel in 2019. (Sam Doran/State House News Service)

Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel is on a temporary medical leave, effective immediately, officials announced Thursday morning.

The absence is unrelated to COVID-19, according to a statement from the Department of Public Health; Bharel tested positive for the virus in March, but had since recovered. She is expected to return to work in early October.

Until then, DPH's General Counsel Margaret Cooke will serve as acting commissioner. She was appointed by Health & Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders.

"All of us wish Commissioner Bharel a speedy recovery and look forward to welcoming her back to the Department,” Sudders said in the statement. “In the interim, I have every confidence in Acting Commissioner Cooke’s ability to provide the executive leadership for the Department during this time.”


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Laney Ruckstuhl Field Producer
Laney Ruckstuhl is the field producer for Morning Edition. She was formerly a digital producer.



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