Executive Director Dr. Umair Shah to leave Harris County Public Health

Harris County Public Health Executive Director Dr. Umair Shah

Executive Director Dr. Umair Shah will leave Harris County Public Health for a new position out of state next month.

According to HCPH, Dr. Shah is set to become the next Secretary of Health for the state of Washington effective December 18.


Dr. Shah first joined HCPH in 2004 as Deputy Director and the Director for Disease Control and Clinical Prevention. In 2013, Harris County Commissioners Court appointed him Executive Director of HCPH.

“Under Dr. Shah’s tenure, HCPH started as a 500-person, $60 million agency in 2013 and grew over the years into a 700-person, $100 million agency (pre-COVID). Growth aside, he has instilled the department’s cornerstone values of innovation, engagement, and equity and paved the way for HCPH to continue improving the health and wellness of Harris County residents,” said Elizabeth Perez, director of HCPH’s Office of Communications, Education, and Engagement.

During the pandemic, Dr. Shah has appeared at press conferences with county officials to provide guidance and information on the local response to COVID-19.

“Over this career at HCPH, Dr. Shah has lead response efforts through many public health threats such as Ebola, Hurricane Ike, Hurricane Harvey, Zika and HINI, yet, the biggest challenge has been the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” HCPH said in a release. “Dr. Shah oversaw the plan to test, contact trace, educate and anticipate the on-going needs of Harris County residents during this global public health crisis.”

HCPH says Dr. Shah will be “sorely missed.”

“However, we are grateful for his leadership, and vision and wish Dr. Shah the very best in his new endeavor,” HCPH said in the release.