Principal Deputy Director

Nirav D. Shah, MD, JD
Nirav D. Shah, MD, JD

Nirav D. Shah, MD, JD, serves as the Principal Deputy Director (PDD) of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In his PDD role, he is involved with CDC’s work around data modernization, public health preparedness and response, laboratories, and communications.

Prior to this role, Shah served as the Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, leading the state public health agency. In particular, he led the State of Maine’s public health response to COVID-19, managing a cross-disciplinary team of state employees and serving as the primary public communicator during the crisis.

In addition to COVID-19, Shah also led several key initiatives in Maine. One involves the State’s efforts to mitigate the public health effects of climate change. Another focuses on reducing the dangers posed by PFAS/PFOA chemicals in Maine’s environment.

From 2015-2019, Shah served as the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. Among his key initiatives were lowering the blood lead poisoning action level to align with that of the U.S. CDC, launching an effort to study and ultimately reduce disparities in maternal mortality in Illinois, and organize the state’s response to the opioid crisis.

Shah served for nearly two years as President of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). He has also been awarded four honorary doctorates in recognition of his work leading the State of Maine’s response to COVID-19 (University of New England, 2021; University of Southern Maine, 2022; Colby College, 2022; Bates College, 2022).

Earlier in his career, Shah worked for the Cambodian Ministry of Health as an economist and epidemiologist. There, he assisted the governmental hospital system with budgeting and cost-effectiveness analysis.  He also investigated infectious disease outbreaks such as dengue fever and drug-resistant malaria. He was also involved in Cambodia’s response to SARS and avian influenza.

Shah previously worked as an attorney at Sidley Austin LLP, where his practice focused on health care regulation and enforcement. Shah holds an MD and JD from The University of Chicago.