Former ASTHO President Nirav D. Shah, MD, JD, Tapped as Principal Deputy Director for CDC

January 12, 2023

Nirav Shah, MD, JD

ARLINGTON, VA—Immediate Past President of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) Nirav D. Shah, MD, JD, has been tapped to lead the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as Principal Deputy Director.

Shah served as ASTHO president between March 2021 and September 2022. In partnership with ASTHO’s Board of Directors, he led ASTHO through one of the organization's most challenging periods: the COVID-19 pandemic. Shah was responsible for communicating and overseeing the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine for all age groups, culminating in nearly 80% of the entire U.S. population receiving at least one dose of the vaccine. In addition, his home state of Maine is among the most vaccinated states in the country—a testament to Shah’s leadership. Shah also played a key role shaping national COVID-19 policy through frequent meetings with other state leaders and federal officials.

“Dr. Shah was a leader among peers during an extremely tumultuous period where changes were happening by the minute. Dr. Shah’s counterparts and our ASTHO team looked to him for advice and encouragement during a time of extreme stress, and he handled the extra burden on his shoulders with humor and poise. We know he will continue to bring the voice of state public health officials to his new role. I cannot think of a better person to serve as the CDC’s next principal deputy director,” says Michael Fraser, PhD, ASTHO CEO.

Shah has served as director of the Maine CDC since June 2019 and currently serves on the ASTHO board of directors. He has broad experience in public health which includes his time as director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, where he implemented key initiatives to address the state’s opioid crisis, reduce maternal and infant mortality, and reduce childhood lead poisoning.

As an attorney and a public health economist, Shah previously advised professionals and governments around the nation and globe on improving the delivery of healthcare. Earlier in his career, he worked for the Ministry of Health in Cambodia, where his work included investigating and managing disease outbreaks as an epidemiologist. Shah received both medical and law degrees from the University of Chicago. He also studied economics at Oxford University.


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and Washington, D.C., 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.