Inslee appoints Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH new secretary of health
Gov. Jay Inslee today appointed Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH as the new Washington state secretary of health starting December 21. Dr. Shah currently serves as executive director and local health authority for Harris County Public Health in Texas.
“Dr. Shah brings an unrivaled expertise, knowledge and passion for public health,” Inslee said. “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.”
“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,” Shah said.
Born in Pakistan and raised in Ohio, Dr. Shah earned his BA in Philosophy from Vanderbilt University and MD from the University of Toledo Health Science Center. He completed his Internal Medicine residency, General Medicine/Primary Care fellowship, and an MPH in Management & Policy Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center. During his training, he also completed an international health policy internship at World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Switzerland.
Shah 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.
Read the full press release here.