New Head of DPH Appointed

Secretary of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz announced last week Cheryl Bartlett, a nurse and longtime community health leader, as commissioner of the Department of Public Health (DPH). Bartlett has served as acting DPH commissioner since May.

“Cheryl brings a comprehensive understanding of the Commonwealth’s public health needs, which will help her make necessary changes and enhancements at the Department,” said Secretary Polanowicz. “As commissioner, Cheryl will advance policies that strengthen our oversight and protect the safety and wellbeing of all people.”

Bartlett has held numerous leadership positions at DPH. She is a former director of DPH’s Bureau of Community Health and Prevention and helped spearhead nationally recognized programs like the Mass in Motion anti-childhood obesity campaign.

“Massachusetts is nationally recognized in many areas of public health,” said Commissioner Bartlett. “I look forward to working with the Patrick Administration and Secretary Polanowicz to bring forward new ideas to strengthen our programs and further insure the health of our residents.”

In the immediate aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, Bartlett led the state’s efforts to coordinate care between emergency responders and hospitals to ensure that the appropriate resources and beds were available to treat the influx of injured patients.

This spring, Bartlett helped to advance medical marijuana regulations that provide appropriate access to patients, while maintaining a secure system that keeps our communities safe. The regulations have been called a model for other states to follow. She also led the efforts to develop a fee structure for a self-financed medical marijuana industry that supports patient access without relying on taxpayer resources. Bartlett began her career as a nurse at Yale New Haven Hospital and Nantucket Cottage Hospital, where she rose to the position of clinical services director. A resident of Hyannis, she has worked for numerous community health agencies on the Cape and founded the Nantucket AIDS Network

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