RAWALPINDI: Karachi-born Dr. Umair Shah, who has been appointed the chief of coronavirus response in Washington, US, said on Friday that he is proud to shed a light on the dedication of Pakistani-Americans to their communities.
Washington governor Jay Inslee announced the appointment on his official Twitter account on Wednesday, writing that he was “excited” about Dr, Shah joining his administration and bringing "unrivaled expertise, knowledge and passion for public health."
"I am proud to shed a positive light on Pakistani-Americans and the dedicated service they provide to their communities every single day," Dr. Shah told Arab News.
"While one should always be the best at one’s work and that should remain the primary focus, I recognize what this may represent for other groups that may see themselves in me," he said.
A Vanderbilt University graduate, Dr. Shah received his medical degree from the University of Toledo Health Science Centre and a master's in public health from the University of Texas Health Science Center.
Previously, Dr. Shah served as the chief medical officer of Galveston County Health District in Texas and president of the National Association of County and City Health Officials.
He is also experienced in crisis response having worked with the World Health Organization, where he was a member of earthquake relief teams in Haiti and Kashmir.
As the state's secretary of health, Dr. Shah will be responsible for advising the governor on health legislation, particularly in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.
"It is an absolute honor to be asked to join the state of Washington for this position in Governor Inslee’s cabinet. I look forward to the work and recognize there are challenges especially COVID-19 that will need addressing as a priority," he said.