Gov. Jay Inslee right this moment appointed Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH as the brand new Washington state secretary of well being beginning December 21. Dr. Shah at the moment serves as government director and native well being authority for Harris County Public Well being in Texas.
“Dr. Shah brings an unmatched experience, data and fervour for public well being,” Inslee stated. “His management will assist us lead Washington state by the subsequent essential part of this pandemic. He’s uniquely suited to proceed our nation-leading response. An immigrant, initially from Pakistan and raised in Ohio, fairness is included and thought of in each determination as he leads organizations to make sure the well being and security of everybody.”
“I’m past honored to be requested by Governor Inslee to function Washington’s subsequent secretary of well being, constructing onto the devoted crew and robust management championed by John Wiesman on the Division of Well being,” Shah stated. “With out query, the primary precedence for me is to work with the crew to proceed the combat towards COVID-19 and assist Washingtonians by these difficult occasions.
“This pandemic has highlighted the significance of public well being and well being care working collectively and I’m assured my expertise in each will serve the state of Washington effectively now throughout these troublesome occasions, and into the long run,” Shah continued. “Whereas I’m unhappy to depart Texas after so a few years, all of us – my spouse, our three youngsters and our pet (Koko) – are excited to maneuver to the Pacific Northwest.”
Shah has led the nationally accredited Harris County Public Well being (HCPH) for the final seven years, managing 700 public well being employees serving the 4.7 million residents within the nation’s third largest county. HCPH was acknowledged nationally earlier than NACCHO as Native Well being Division of the Yr in 2016. Earlier than working for the county, he was chief medical officer of Galveston County Well being District and has served as an emergency division doctor at Houston’s DeBakey VA Hospital for over 20 years.
Shah comes into the place with intensive expertise responding to public well being crises. He has helped lead Harris County by novel H1N1, Ebola, Zika and now COVID-19 and has responded to quite a lot of hurricanes and different emergencies. Shah has a eager curiosity in world well being having frolicked at World Well being Group throughout his coaching and later deploying in response to devastating earthquakes in Kashmir and Haiti
In 2017, Shah served because the president of NACCHO, representing almost 3,000 native public well being departments throughout the nation, and its Texas affiliate. In 2019, he acquired the Roemer Prize for Inventive Native Public Well being Work from the American Public Well being Affiliation.
Shah will substitute John Wiesman who was appointed by the governor in April 2013. He has been secretary of the Division of Well being for the whole thing of Inslee’s two phrases in workplace. He was instrumental within the passing of Tobacco/Vape 21 laws, advocating for well being fairness and spearheading the state response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wiesman introduced in February his plan to step down on the finish of Inslee’s second time period to affix the college at his alma mater, College of North Carolina, Chapel Hill’s Gillings Faculty of International Public Well being.
“Even earlier than this pandemic, John confirmed himself to be one of the crucial superior public well being minds within the nation and his new job confirms that,” Inslee stated. “His dedication to science, knowledge and public well being greatest practices have pushed his selections the complete time he has served on this position. Over the previous 12 months, his work has saved the lives of lots of his fellow Washingtonians, and we must always all be ceaselessly grateful for the work John, and his crew, are doing for our state.”
“Serving as Secretary of Well being has been gratifying each personally and professionally. It’s been a pleasure to work with good and devoted public servants at each degree of presidency and to collaborate with our Tribal nations and companions from organizations throughout our state and much past,” stated Wiesman. “Our joint efforts have superior important public well being priorities from contraceptive entry, HIV prevention and remedy, immunizations, to energetic residing and wholesome consuming and far more that can shield and enhance the well being of Washingtonians for years to come back.
“I’m leaving the Washington State Division of Well being in good arms. I’ve identified and labored with Umair for over a decade. He’s a considerate, educated and energetic chief. He brings with him deep public well being experience, ardour for addressing well being inequities, and emergency response expertise, all of which is able to serve the state very effectively proper now throughout this pandemic and for the years to come back.”
Shah has a bachelor’s diploma from Vanderbilt College and medical diploma from the College of Toledo Well being Science Middle. He earned his grasp’s in public well being with an emphasis in administration and coverage sciences from The College of Texas Well being Science Middle.