Dr. Matilde Castiel
Commissioner for Health and Human Services, City of Worcester
Dr. Castiel was appointed as the City of Worcester’s Commissioner for Health and Human Services in September of 2015. She oversees the divisions of Public Health, Youth Services, Human Rights and Disabilities, Veterans Affairs, and Elder Affairs, and Homelessness along with advancing important new initiatives that fall under the scope of homelessness, mental health and the current opioid crisis. Dr. Castiel has worked in the Worcester community for over 32 years, including UMass Memorial Medical Center and Family Health Center of Worcester and also as an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Family Medicine and Psychiatry at UMass Medical School.
In 2009, Dr. Castiel founded the Latin American Health Alliance (LAHA), a nonprofit organization in Worcester dedicated to combating homelessness and drug addiction. LAHA’s programs consist of the Hector Reyes House and Casa Reyes, a substance abuse treatment facility and transitional house for Hispanic males. In 2015 she opened Café Reyes on Shrewsbury Street, an innovative jobs training program for the residents at Hector Reyes House and Casa Reyes. At present she continues to serve as its Medical Director and sees patients there once a week.
I chose to share the 2021 UMMS MLK Celebration, because Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has always been one of my greatest inspirations. His fight for dignity and justice, his innate gift to authentically mobilize hearts and minds, and his truthful commitment towards eradicating segregation and racism has always served as a moral compass for my thoughts and actions in this world.
Dr. Matilde Castiel’s Discussion Questions (PDF for Print)
- How does systemic racism impact health equity?
- Public and private stakeholders have a role to play in health equity. How do their scopes of work differ?
- Health disparities in COVID-19 are not an isolated occurrence. How have systemic racism and health disparities been exasperated by the COVID-19 Pandemic?
- How can institutions, such as local governments and health care centers center health equity and address health disparities?
- What changes need to be made, by private and public sectors, to eliminate health disparities?