Monica Bharel, MD, MPH

Associate Professor, Medicine

Monica Bharel
72 E. Concord St Instructional (L)


Monica Bharel, MD, MPH, is a Senior Advisor to the Mayor of Boston who served as the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health from 2015 until 2021. As Commissioner, she was responsible for spearheading the state’s response to the opioid crisis, implementation of health care cost containment legislation, reducing health disparities, finding public health solutions for health care reform, finding innovative solutions using data and evidence-based practices, and other health care quality improvement initiatives.

From 2003 until 2015 Dr. Bharel served as the Chief Medical Officer of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, the largest nonprofit health care organization for homeless individuals in the country. The nonprofit program is devoted to providing medical care to one of the city’s most vulnerable populations and under her leadership, the organization provided health care to over 12,500 homeless men, women and children in the greater Boston area at over 70 different sites.

In the public service sector, Dr. Bharel was a gubernatorial appointment to the Behavioral Health and Primary Care Integration Task Force under the Massachusetts health care payment reform initiative. She has also participated on the Massachusetts Medicaid payment reform policy committee and Primary Care Payment Reform Initiative operations committee. Additionally, she served on the National Quality Forum expert panel on Risk Adjustment for Socioeconomic Status.

Dr. Bharel has served on the faculty of Boston University Medical School, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health. She was previously at Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Medical Center. She has practiced general internal medicine for 20 years in neighborhood health centers, city hospitals, the Veterans Administration, university hospitals and nonprofit organizations. She received her Master of Public Health degree through the Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy, with a concentration in health care policy and management in 2012. She received her medical degree from Chobanian and Avedisian School of Medicine in 1994 and in 1998 completed a residency and chief residency in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital/Boston Medical Center.

Her areas of interest include preventive health care and chronic disease management for underserved populations through system- based improvements. Her areas of research have included cervical cancer screening in homeless women, treatment of alcohol use among homeless women, and hepatitis C in vulnerable populations.

Other Positions

  • Commissioner, Department of Public Health, State of Massachusetts
  • Boston Medical Center


  • Boston University School of Medicine, MD
  • Boston University, BA


  • Published on 9/1/2023

    Basilico MF, Bhashyam AR, Harrington EK, Bharel M, McWilliams JM, Heng M. Discharge prescribing and subsequent opioid use after traumatic musculoskeletal injury. Am J Manag Care. 2023 Sep; 29(9):448-453. PMID: 37729527.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/14/2023

    Bharel M, Auerbach J. Using Public Health Tools to Alleviate Homeless Encampments. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2023 Nov-Dec 01; 29(6):759-761. PMID: 37580036.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/4/2022

    Kephart L, Rastogi R, Song G, Ursprung WWS, Kingsley M, Bharel M. Implementation and evaluation of the public health emergency response to the 2019 outbreak of e-cigarette and vaping product use-associated lung injury in Massachusetts,USA. Public Health. 2022 Mar; 204:25-32. PMID: 35131680.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/1/2022

    Manning SE, Blinn AM, Selk SC, Silva CF, Stetler K, Stone SL, Yazdy MM, Bharel M. The Massachusetts Racial Equity Data Road Map: Data as a Tool Toward Ending Structural Racism. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2022 Jan-Feb 01; 28(Suppl 1):S58-S65. PMID: 34797262.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/15/2021

    Schiff DM, Nielsen TC, Hoeppner BB, Terplan M, Hadland SE, Bernson D, Greenfield SF, Bernstein J, Bharel M, Reddy J, Taveras EM, Kelly JF, Wilens TE. Methadone and buprenorphine discontinuation among postpartum women with opioid use disorder. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2021 10; 225(4):424.e1-424.e12. PMID: 33845029.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/20/2020

    Byrne T, Baggett T, Land T, Bernson D, Hood ME, Kennedy-Perez C, Monterrey R, Smelson D, Dones M, Bharel M. A classification model of homelessness using integrated administrative data: Implications for targeting interventions to improve the housing status, health and well-being of a highly vulnerable population. PLoS One. 2020; 15(8):e0237905. PMID: 32817717.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/1/2020

    Schiff DM, Nielsen T, Hoeppner BB, Terplan M, Hansen H, Bernson D, Diop H, Bharel M, Krans EE, Selk S, Kelly JF, Wilens TE, Taveras EM. Assessment of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Use of Medication to Treat Opioid Use Disorder Among Pregnant Women in Massachusetts. JAMA Netw Open. 2020 05 01; 3(5):e205734. PMID: 32453384.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/30/2020

    Morgan JR, Wang J, Barocas JA, Jaeger JL, Durham NN, Babakhanlou-Chase H, Bharel M, Walley AY, Linas BP. Opioid overdose and inpatient care for substance use disorder care in Massachusetts. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2020 05; 112:42-48. PMID: 32199545.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/21/2019

    Burke LG, Zhou X, Boyle KL, Orav EJ, Bernson D, Hood ME, Land T, Bharel M, Frakt AB. Trends in opioid use disorder and overdose among opioid-naive individuals receiving an opioid prescription in Massachusetts from 2011 to 2014. Addiction. 2020 03; 115(3):493-504. PMID: 31691390.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/25/2019

    Stanic A, Rybin D, Cannata F, Hohl C, Brody J, Gaeta J, Bharel M. The impact of the housing status on clinical outcomes and health care utilization among individuals living with HIV. AIDS Care. 2021 01; 33(1):1-9. PMID: 31766866.

    Read at: PubMed

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