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Margret Cooke named permanent commissioner of public health

Cooke was named acting commissioner in May when Dr. Monica Bharel resigned.


BOSTON (AP) — Margret Cooke, who has been acting commissioner of the state Department of Public Health for seven months, has been appointed to the role on a permanent basis, officials said Monday.

Cooke was named acting commissioner in May when Dr. Monica Bharel resigned. She joined the agency as general counsel in 2015, before being promoted to deputy commissioner in 2020. Her time in state government includes a stint in the state attorney general’s office.

“Commissioner Cooke’s strong command of the work of the department, coupled with her policy and management skills and legal acumen have been invaluable,” Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said in a statement. “I am deeply grateful for her willingness to serve as commissioner and for her commitment to public health and public service in Massachusetts that is inclusive and accessible.”

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She has also helped guide the department through public health issues including COVID-19, the opioid epidemic, vaping, and mosquito-borne disease outbreaks.

“I look forward to continuing our work on priorities including mitigating COVID-19, addressing the ongoing opioid epidemic, and working to keep people healthy and communities strong throughout our Commonwealth, with a particular focus on health equity,” Cooke said.

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