The Dr. Makes a Megan’s House Call

(pictured left to right) Megan’s House Board Member Robert Orr, Program Director MaryBeth Murphy, Founder Tim Grover, MA Commissioner of HHS Dr. Monica Bharel and Megan’s House Executive Director Deb Belanger

Doctor Monica Bharel recently got an up close look at what makes Megan’s House such a special place in the fight against addiction.

The Commissioner of Massachusetts’ Department of Health and Human Services visited the residential treatment home for young women along with her Chief of Staff, Jennifer Barrelle, on April 7th.  Bharel became Commissioner in February of 2015. In that role, she is responsible for spearheading the state’s response to the opioid crisis

After a brief tour of the home, Dr. Bharel spoke with residents about a number of issues and offered insights about efforts on the state level to support programs like Megan’s House.

As part of the conversation, one resident touted the personalized services offered by the program as a reason why it is effective.

“What you need to work on isn’t what I need to work on,” the young woman told the Commissioner. “Focusing on our individual needs is really important for long-term recovery.”

Dr. Bharel (center) listens intently to residents of Megan’s House along with her Chief of Staff Jennifer Barrelle (right) and MaryBeth Murphy (right)

Another resident spoke of Megan’s House being in an ideal location because Lowell’s public transportation system allows the residents to find work and take advantage of educational opportunities.

Near the end of her visit, Dr. Bharel even revealed an interesting fact about herself during a conversation with a young resident who is working on her Commercial Driver’s License in hopes of obtaining a job driving a truck.

“I hold a CDL license, too” the Commissioner told the young woman. “Sorry ahead of time if I honk at you on the highway.”

Before leaving, Dr. Bharel stopped to admire the Collage of Success, the large picture frames adorning the walls of the Great Room at Megan’s House, which are filled with messages from graduates. In those frames are inspirational thoughts of young women who at one point had lost all hope.

Thanks to the efforts of Commissioner Bharel and others like her in leadership positions, the public-private partnership formed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the team at Megan’s House can toot its own horn at the difference it’s making in the lives of these young women.