Is It Safe to Unmask?
Seattle, WA 98109
Governor Inslee says the state will reopen on June 30. But that declaration has been met with a lot of questions and anxiety from Washingtonians. Is it really safe to shed our masks, hug our friends and fill our restaurants? Could we see another surge? Supporting the Governor in his decision to reopen is the secretary of the state Department of Health, Dr. Umair Shah. We turn to him for answers to these questions — and many more.
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Northwest Newsmakers brings you conversations with leaders shaping the region’s politics, arts, culture and industry.
About the speakers:
Monica Guzman (moderator) is the host of the Northwest Newsmakers series. She is the co-founder of The Evergrey, is a recent fellow at the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and Harvard's Nieman Foundation for Journalism, and is a former columnist at The Seattle Times and GeekWire. She is currently an advisor to Braver Angels and the author of an upcoming guide to staying curious in divided times. She lives in Seattle with her husband, Jason, and two kids.
Dr. Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, was appointed Secretary of Health by Governor Jay Inslee and joined the Department of Health in December 2020. Prior to this role, Dr. Shah served as Executive Director and Local Health Authority for Harris County Public Health (HCPH) – the nationally accredited county public health agency for the nation’s 3rd largest county with 4.7 million people.
Upon completing training, Dr. Shah began a distinguished career as an emergency department physician at Houston’s Michael DeBakey VA Medical Center. He started his formal public health journey as Chief Medical Officer at Galveston County’s Health District before joining HCPH to oversee its clinical health system and infectious disease portfolio. Under his leadership, HCPH has won numerous national awards including recognition as Local Health Department of the Year from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) in 2016.
Dr. Shah currently holds numerous leadership positions with respected entities like the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention; Trust for America’s Health; Network for Public Health Law; and Texas Medical Association. He previously served as president of NACCHO (and its Texas affiliate) representing the nation’s nearly 3,000 local health departments. Over his career, Dr. Shah has been a clinician, an innovator, an educator, and a leader in health.
Special thank you to our Northwest Newsmakers series sponsor Waldron.
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