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Published on October 16, 2014

Cheryl Bartlett Joins CCHC, Will Lead Substance Abuse Prevention Efforts

Cape Cod Healthcare is pleased to announce that Cheryl Bartlett has been named Executive Director of the Cape Cod Regional Substance Abuse Prevention Initiative (CCRSAPI) and Public Health. Ms. Bartlett will be employed by CCHC as Executive Director of the CCRSAPI, which was launched in March by a conglomerate of health and humans services groups.

Ms. Bartlett is currently the Commissioner of the state Department of Public Health, having served in that capacity since May 2013. She will leave her post at DPH on December 12 and will begin her role at CCHC on December 15, 2014.

Ms. Bartlett has worked in the public health arena throughout her career and she was the first person with a background in nursing to lead the state public health agency. While at DPH, she helped draft the state’s new medical marijuana regulations and was instrumental in developing a childhood obesity campaign called Mass in Motion. Ms. Bartlett has an associate’s degree in nursing from Quinnipiac College in New Haven, CT, and a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration from Stonehill College.

“Cheryl’s knowledge and expertise in the public health field make her eminently qualified to lead this important Substance Abuse Prevention initiative,” said Michael K. Lauf, President and CEO of CCHC. “With her local and state experience, she has had a chance to see the full spectrum of this issue, and I’m confident she will bring new energy, ideas and contacts to help solve this problem that is so dangerously afflicting our region.”

As the Cape’s primary healthcare system, CCHC has chosen to provide the resources to launch the CCRSAPI by hiring a leader with Ms. Bartlett’s qualifications and experience, Mr. Lauf added. The ultimate goal of the Initiative is to enlist the entire community in this effort and make it self-sustaining. “This problem demands that we respond quickly and vigorously to help ensure that our young people can grow into healthy, contributing members of our community,” he said. 

Ms. Bartlett is no stranger to public health challenges. She was involved in establishing many programs and initiatives at the Community Action Council in Hyannis, an organization that helps low-income families and individuals access services. In her role as DPH commissioner, she took the helm of a department that was dealing with many issues, including two high-profile cases involving problems at a state crime lab and a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak linked to a state compounding center.

“I look forward to leading this important Initiative,” said Ms. Bartlett. “As Gov. Patrick gets ready to transition out of office, this is a great opportunity for me to return to the Cape, where I have lived for many years, and to take what I have learned in my work on a state and national level, leading efforts to address the opiate prescription and heroin crisis. The Cape is rich with people and organizations that have the resources, expertise and commitment to tackle this serious problem and make it a thing of the past.” 

The Cape Cod Regional Substance Abuse Prevention Initiative (CCRSAPI) came about as the result of a meeting last February at which several Cape organizations interested in addressing the substance abuse crisis in the region met to discuss possible solutions. The groups included the Barnstable County Human Services Department, Cape Cod Healthcare, the Kelley Foundation, the Palmer and Jane D. Davenport Foundation, and Gosnold on Cape Cod. The goals of the CCRSAPI are to:

  • Develop and support a regional, community-based approach to reduce substance abuse among young people on Cape Cod through increased education and prevention programs.
  • Identify and implement evidence-based education and prevention activities to address the use and abuse of a broad range of substances, with a specific focus on prescription painkillers and opiates.
  • Launch and expand collaborations between various community partners, including the schools, families and peers, local youth organizations, law enforcement, public health advocates, civic leaders, the business community, and philanthropists.

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