Wilfredo was born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to New York with his family. He studied at New York University where he developed a passion for global health equity and decided he wanted to work to improve the lives of people living in underserved settings like the ones where he was from. He studied medicine at Harvard Medical School and spent several years working in rural Haiti on efforts to control a cholera epidemic. He supported cholera vaccination campaigns, helped build a referral laboratory, and conducted research to inform cholera vaccine policy. His experiences showed him that by working in communities, focusing on equity, and pairing public health delivery with research one could effectively bring care to where it was most needed. He is currently the Chief Resident of the Global Health Equity Residency at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. In addition to continuing his work abroad, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, he focused on supporting local communities with their pandemic response efforts. Wilfredo is pursuing further training in infectious diseases at Mass General Brigham, where he will continue to take care of patients, and focus on implementing and studying solutions to combat epidemic diseases.
Dr. Matias is a recipient of the 2021 James H. Ware Award for Public Health Practice.
Detailed Project Description: In May 2020, the Mayor’s office of Holyoke, Massachusetts invited our team based out of the MGH Center for Global Health to come to Holyoke and leverage our experiences in global health, epidemic response, and public health research to support the Holyoke Board of Health with its COVID-19 response activities. The City’s goals were to have a better understanding of the trajectory of the pandemic in Holyoke and leverage their local data to better understand and respond to subsequent outbreaks of COVID-19. Together, we implemented a city-level serosurvey to measure the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and identify local risk factors for prior infection. In parallel, we analyzed Holyoke’s city and state-level COVID-19 data and created a local data dashboard. We also leveraged the City’s public testing sites to implement an evaluation of one of the several EUA-granted rapid antigen tests for SARS-CoV-2 in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Over the last several months, in close partnership with the City of Holyoke, our teams have created a robust, local public health research and implementation program to inform COVID-19 response and support the surrounding community in their fight against COVID-19.