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Inaugural AOA Visiting Professorship: Dr. Monica Bharel

UMass Chan Medical School Delta Chapter of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society excitedly welcomed Dr. Monica Bharel as the 2019 AOA Visiting Professor on March 20, 2019. Appointed by Governor Charlie Baker in 2015, Commissioner Monica Bharel serves as the Commonwealth’s chief physician. She is dedicated to reducing health disparities and developing data-driven, evidence-based solutions for keeping people healthy and is helping lead the state’s aggressive response to the opioid crisis.

Patric Gibbons, MS4, states that “Dr. Bharel embodies much of the mission of AOA. She has dedicated her career to serving the homeless, advancing the practice of primary care, and continuously fighting against health care disparities and inequities throughout the Commonwealth. As our state’s medical school, we hoped her keynote address would highlight the important relationship between our school and the Department of Public Health, and would inspire students to advocate for their patients at both the individual and population level.”

In reflecting on the impact of Dr. Bharel’s work in the Worcester community, Patric shared that “she emphasized the need for data-driven approaches to public health. MA is often ranked in the top 1 or 2 healthiest states in America. However, she showed that if we drill down into the data, not all MA residents experience the same level of health. She emphasized the data disparities that occur in the Worcester population, and challenged us to think about how we can be addressing the community-specific factors leading to unequal health outcomes. The commissioner’s address highlighted the need for more data-driven, public health approaches to eliminate racial disparities in care and address the oft-overlooked social determinants of health among our patient populations.”

Congratulations to Dr. Bharel and our UMass Chan AOA Chapter on an inspiring and informative event!