BOSTON — Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel is on a medical leave of absence unrelated to COVID-19, and is expected to return to work in early October. Department of Public Health (DPH) General Counsel Margret Cooke has been appointed acting commissioner during Bharel’s medical leave.
“All of us wish Commissioner Bharel a speedy recovery and look forward to welcoming her back to the department,” said Marylou Sudders, Secretary of Health & Human Services. “In the interim, I have every confidence in Acting Commissioner Cooke’s ability to provide the executive leadership for the department during this time.”
Cooke joined DPH as general counsel in 2015. Previously, she served as deputy bureau chief in the Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.
“I appreciate the leadership of Margret Cooke and all of the DPH team to continue to assist the state in responding to the pandemic as well as managing our public-health programs on behalf of the residents of the Commonwealth,” Bharel said.