On Nov. 17, Gov. Jay Inslee appointed Umair A. Shah as the new Washington state secretary of health. Shah currently serves as executive director and local health authority for Harris County Public Health in Texas. He will begin his new role on Dec. 21.
An immigrant from Pakistan, 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 Shah has a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and medical degree from the University of Toledo Health Science Center. He earned his master’s in public health with an emphasis in management and policy sciences from The University of Texas Health Science Center.
“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.
“While I’m sad to leave Texas after so many years, all of us—my wife, our three kids, and our puppy (Koko)—are excited to move to the Pacific Northwest.”