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Who is Dr. Umair Shah?

The executive director of Harris County Public Health has called Houston home for more than 20 years.

HOUSTON — Dr. Umair Shah has called the Houston area home for more than 20 years. This is where he started as a physician. It’s where he received his Master’s in Public Health. And it’s where he got started leading in public health.

Dr. Shah grew up in Cincinnati after immigrating from Pakistan. He earned his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University, then followed it with a medical degree from University of Toledo. 

In 1999, Dr. Shah made the move to Houston to work in the emergency department of the Michael DeBakey VA Medical Center. A couple years later -- in 2001 -- he earned his MPH at the The University of Texas Health Science Center. In 2003, Dr. Shah joined the Galveston County Health District as Chief Medical Officer, but left a year later to join the team at Harris County Public Health.

From March 2004 until May 2013, he oversaw the county’s clinical health system and infectious disease portfolio as a deputy director and director before being named the top doc of the largest local public health entity in Texas.

As the head of Harris County Public Health, Dr. Shah managed a $100 million budget and 700 public health professionals, who served 4.7 million people.

The list of board positions he’s held and awards the agency has won under his leadership is a long one. 

Harris County Public Health announced on Tuesday, Nov. 17, that Dr. Shah is stepping down to take a role as Secretary of Health with Washington state.

RELATED: Dr. Shah stepping down as Harris County's top health official