Press Room

Maine CDC Director Nirav D. Shah Named New ASTHO President, Alaska Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink President-Elect

Anne Zink, MD, FACEPNirav D. Shah, MD, JDARLINGTON, VA (March 18, 2021)—The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) announced the election of Nirav D. Shah, MD, JD, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) as ASTHO’s new president.

“I am honored to serve as ASTHO’s president during such a pivotal time for public health,” says Shah. “I’ve been a proud member of ASTHO serving two states, so I know the work the organization does is vital in moving the needle on health equity and ensuring optimal health for all.”

Shah has served as director of Maine CDC since 2019. He previously served as director of the Illinois Department of Health, where he tackled the opioid crisis, reduced maternal and infant mortality, and prioritized childhood lead poisoning. Shah has emerged as a leader in Maine’s COVID-19 response with his frequent press briefings and ability to communicate effectively to the public. His leadership during the pandemic earned a chocolate bar named after him from a Maine chocolate company called the “Shah Bar.”

A child of immigrants from India, Shah received both medical and law degrees from the University of Chicago. He also studied economics at Oxford University. Earlier in his career, Shah worked as an epidemiologist for the Ministry of Health in Cambodia, investigating and managing disease outbreaks.

Anne Zink, MD, chief medical officer for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, will serve as president-elect. Zink is an emergency physician. Prior to joining the state in 2019, Zink served as the Emergency Department medical director at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center. She received her medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine and completed her residency at the University of Utah.

“It is an honor to be chosen as the president-elect of ASTHO. I look forward to helping support their amazing work advancing the public’s health and well-being as we all find a brighter future together,” Zink says.

“I could not be more thrilled to have Dr. Shah as our president and Dr. Zink as president-elect,” says Michael Fraser, ASTHO CEO. “Both are true leaders and have done so much to guide their states through the COVID-19 pandemic. I am so grateful to have their experience and expertise at ASTHO’s helm.”

Shah succeeds Rachel Levine, secretary of health at the Pennsylvania Department of Health, who was nominated by President Joe Biden to become the Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and the District of Columbia, as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.