Arlington, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation will bestow its highest honor to a healthcare professional who has been instrumental in the Houston hurricane response and recovery efforts. Umair A. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., executive director and local health authority for Harris County (Texas) Public Health (HCPH), is the recipient of the organization’s 2017 Excellence in Patient Care Award. Dr. Shah, who is also the president of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), will accept the award at the 19th Annual NACDS Foundation Dinner on November 29, 2017, in New York City.

During the recent catastrophic events in Houston caused by Hurricane Harvey, Dr. Shah and his team demonstrated extraordinary public health service to the 4.5 million people in Harris County, the third largest county in the nation. Under Dr. Shah’s leadership, HCPH has also initiated innovative public-private partnerships aimed at preventing diseases—including Zika virus and tuberculosis—through emerging technologies. This fall, his department launched a fleet of large, recreational vehicles, including a mobile medical unit, a mobile dental unit, a mobile mosquito museum, a nutritional assistance unit, an environmental health unit, a mobile pet adoption unit, and a mobile command center, all in an effort to take the services of the health department into the community. HCPH also initiated a Public Health Innovations Lab (PHI Lab), a novel concept in emerging public health practice that provides a unique space to grow, develop, expand or sustain an innovative idea in a 12-week long accelerator program. In 2016, HCPH was the recipient of NACCHO’s Local Health Department of the Year Award.

In making the announcement, NACDS Foundation President Kathleen Jaeger said, “We are excited to recognize Dr. Shah’s distinguished public health service as well as his innovative approach to tackling some of the toughest problems we face in healthcare today. Under his leadership, Harris County Public Health has become an inspiration to health agencies across the country. We are looking forward to recognizing the work of Dr. Shah and his colleagues with the 2017 Excellence in Patient Care Award.”

Dr. Shah earned his B.A. (philosophy) from Vanderbilt University; his M.D. from the University of Toledo Health Science Center; and completed an Internal Medicine Residency, Primary Care/General Medicine Fellowship, and MPH (management), at the University of Texas Health Science Center. He also completed an international health policy internship at World Health Organization headquarters in Switzerland.
Dr. Shah began his distinguished career as an emergency department physician at Houston’s Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. He started his public health work as Chief Medical Officer at Galveston County’s Health District before joining HCPH to oversee its clinical health system and infectious disease portfolio.

The NACDS Foundation funds evidence-based research, educational programs and philanthropic initiatives designed to improve patient outcomes and advance public health. In one of its most recent projects with the University of New Mexico, the Foundation is evaluating the impact of expanding access to community testing for latent tuberculosis infections. Through the NACDS Foundation Scholarship Program, the Foundation provides grants to schools and colleges of pharmacy for innovative educational programs.

More information about the NACDS Foundation Dinner is available online.