January 24, 2011
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Health Commissioner Unanimously Confirmed by New York State Senate

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Health Commissioner...

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., has been unanimously confirmed by the New York State Senate as Commissioner of the Department of Health.


"Dr. Shah is a nationally recognized medical researcher and practitioner whose commitment to reshaping our public health system will serve the people of New York well," Governor Cuomo said. "As the state's top health official, Dr. Shah brings vigor and a sharp intellect to the job, and I thank him for his service. I commend the Senate for his swift confirmation, and thank Senate Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon and Senate Finance Committee Chairman John DeFrancisco for recognizing Dr. Shah's superb character and qualifications for this important position."


New York State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., said, "I am honored to be confirmed as New York State Commissioner of Health. I thank Governor Cuomo for his confidence in nominating me to serve the people of New York, Senators Hannon and DeFrancisco for advancing the confirmation process, and the entire Senate for its thoughtful questions and for voting to accept me as the Commissioner of Health. This is one of the proudest days of my life, and I am glad so many members of my family were here to support me. I look forward to advancing health care quality, patient safety and the overall health of New Yorkers."


Senator Kemp Hannon, Chair of the Senate Health Committee said, "After the oral testimony of Dr. Shah's associates and the careful examination of his expertise, it is clear Dr. Shah is well qualified for this position. A review of Dr. Shah's writings and work in a wide-ranging number of public health and medical issues challenging America today, illustrate his preparedness for being the Commissioner of Health for New York State."


Senator Thomas Duane, ranking member of the Senate Health Committee said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo for putting forth such a qualified and distinguished medical professional to lead the Department of Health. In his testimony before the committee Dr. Shah clearly demonstrated an understanding of our complex health care system and ways to enhance patient care with thoughtfulness and prudence. I look forward to working with him to implement new ideas to better the health of all New Yorkers."


Kate Breslin, President and CEO of the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy said, "Dr. Shah's impressive record shows us that he moves fluidly among many roles -- direct patient care; clinical research; process analysis; and structural, big picture thinking to improve effectiveness. New York needs a health thinker and leader who can do just that: assume many roles and assess problems from different angles, including upstate and downstate, urban and rural, with an ultimate focus on ensuring and improving the health of all New Yorkers. The Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy looks forward to continuing our strong partnership with the Department of Health with Dr. Shah at the helm."


Paula Calkins Lacombe, Public Health Director for the Clinton County Department of Health and President of the New York State Association of County Health Officials (NYSACHO) said, "I commend Governor Cuomo and congratulate Dr. Shah on his confirmation. Dr. Shah's experience in preventive care and his focus on integrating effective public health practice with the delivery of medicine will improve the health status of New Yorkers. NYSACHO looks forward to partnering with Dr. Shah and continuing our collaboration with the State Health Department to increase opportunities in our communities for protecting and promoting good health."


Marjorie J. Hill, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer at Gay Men's Health Crisis said, "Gay Men's Health Crisis congratulates Dr. Shah on his appointment as the Commissioner of New York State's Department of Health. During these challenging times of fiscal crisis and rising HIV rates, we welcome Dr. Shah's expertise in designing and managing innovative, effective models of care. We look forward to working with Dr. Shah and continuing our longstanding partnership with the AIDS Institute and NYS DOH."


Arthur A. Levin, M.P.H., Director of the Center for Medical Consumers said, "Today's confirmation of Dr. Shah as State Health Commissioner is good news for all New Yorkers. Dr. Shah's research and experience in the delivery of evidence-based medicine will be critical as we work in New York State to reform health care by improving the quality, safety and value of health care. What's best for patients, families and caregivers and not the special interests of health care professionals, providers and institutions must be the focus of our health care system. As State Health Commissioner, Dr. Shah will be a strong advocate for patients' rights, health information, and quality care."


Kenneth E. Raske, President of the Greater New York Hospital Association said, "Dr. Shah is an exceptionally gifted individual with a background that will serve him extremely well as New York's health commissioner. We look forward to working with him and his staff on issues of importance to New York's health care community, especially the State's critically important Medicaid program."


Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., was previously an Attending Physician at Bellevue Hospital Center, Associate Investigator at the Geisinger Center for Health Research and Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Section of Value & Comparative Effectiveness at NYU Langone Medical Center. He is an expert in the use of systems-based methods to improve patient outcomes, a leading researcher in use of large scale clinical laboratories and electronic health records to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of care, and a nationally recognized thought leader in the very methods needed to transition to the future of lower-cost, more patient-centered, health care for the 21st century. As a general internist who has cared for patients at Bellevue Hospital in New York, Dr. Shah knows firsthand the impact on vulnerable populations of inadequate resources. To improve the health of vulnerable as well as the general population, he has conducted research and development to improve care both in the public hospital system of New York City and in the rural, aging population of central Pennsylvania's Geisinger Health System.


Dr. Shah is originally from Buffalo, and is an honors graduate of Harvard College, received M.D. and M.P.H. degrees from Yale School of Medicine, was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at UCLA, and a National Research Service Award Fellow at NYU. He has served on the editorial boards of medical journals, has published over 90 peer-reviewed articles, and has received over $4.5 million in research funding. He has relocated to the Capital Region from Battery Park City with his wife Nidhi Shah, and two children.


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