Featured Speakers

Keynote Address: Tuesday, June 28

Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health, Washington State Board of Health


The Secretary of Health enforces all laws created for the protection of public health and all rules established by the State Board of Health.

Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, was appointed Secretary of Health by Governor Jay Inslee on December 21, 2020. Prior to this, 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 third largest county with 4.7 million people.

Dr. Shah earned his BA (philosophy) from Vanderbilt University; his MD 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.

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 and 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.

Grand Session Kickoff Panel: Wednesday, June 29

Challenges Facing the Environmental Health Workforce Regarding COVID-19 Practices

Panelists: To be announced

This moderated panel will explore the difficult situations environmental health workers have faced implementing COVID-19 safety measures. EH professionals, in the line of service, have received threats, intimidation, forced resignations and other challenges from the public to policy makers. NEHA realizes this is a contentious issue, we believe the AEC is a safe place in which to host these difficult conversations.

Closing Session: Friday, July 1

Speaker: To be announced