Dr Umair A Shah, a Pakistan-born doctor has been appointed as Health Secretary for Washington State, United States of America (USA).
Jay Inslee – Governor Washington State, took to social media to announce the appointment of Dr Umair A Shah as Health Secretary who will now lead the efforts against COVID-19 coronavirus in the state.
“I’m excited to appoint Dr. Umair A. Shah as the new Washington state secretary of health,” he Governor Jay Inslee tweeted.
Dr. Shah brings unrivaled expertise, knowledge and passion for public health. I am confident he will continue our state’s strong leadership in the fight against COVID-19, he added.
“His leadership will help us lead Washington state through the next crucial phase of this pandemic. He is uniquely suited to continue our nation-leading response. An immigrant, originally from Pakistan and raised in Ohio, equity is incorporated and considered in every decision as he leads organizations to ensure the health and safety of everyone,” read the official statement.
Expressing his views, Dr Umar A Shah expressed gratitude and said that he is honored to be appointed as Washington State’s Health Secretary.
“I am beyond honored to be asked by Governor Inslee to serve as Washington’s next secretary of health, building onto the dedicated team and strong leadership championed by John Wiesman at the Department of Health,” he said.
This pandemic has highlighted the importance of public health and health care working together and I am confident my experience in both will serve the state of Washington well now during these difficult times, and into the future, he added.
Furthermore, Shah noted that his top most priority will be to work with the team to continue the fight against COVID-19 and help Washingtonians through these challenging times.
Dr Umair A Shah
Dr. Shah earned his BA in Philosophy from Vanderbilt University and MD from the University of Toledo Health Science Center. He completed Internal Medicine residency, General Medicine/Primary Care fellowship, and an MPH in Management & Policy Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center.
Dr Umair A Shah has enjoyed a distinguished career as an emergency department physician at Houston’s Michael DeBakey VA Medical Center. His career in public health began as Chief Medical Officer of Galveston County Health District before joining HCPH to oversee its clinical health system and infectious disease portfolio.
He has led the nationally accredited Harris County Public Health (HCPH) for the last seven years, managing 700 public health staff serving the 4.7 million residents in the nation’s third largest county. HCPH was recognized nationally before NACCHO as Local Health Department of the Year in 2016. Before working for the county, he was chief medical officer of Galveston County Health District and has served as an emergency department physician at Houston’s DeBakey VA Hospital for over 20 years.
Shah also helped lead Harris County through novel H1N1, Ebola, Zika and now COVID-19 and has responded to a variety of hurricanes and other emergencies. Shah has a keen interest in global health having spent time at World Health Organization during his training and later deploying in response to devastating earthquakes in Kashmir and Haiti.
In 2017, he also served as the president of NACCHO, representing nearly 3,000 local public health departments across the nation, and its Texas affiliate. In 2019, he received the Roemer Prize for Creative Local Public Health Work from the American Public Health Association.