Biosketch Long | Short
Welcome to Harris County Public Health - Harris County community members!
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to Harris County Public Health (HCPH), the county health department for Harris County (TX) – the 3rd most populous county in the U.S., one of the fastest growing, and home to Houston (4th largest city).
We are busy and diverse in every way imaginable. Our agency is made up of over 700 public health professionals who are proud and passionate of the work they do, and are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Harris County residents and the communities in which we live.
HCPH has an annual budget of approximately $100 million with a mix of federal, state, and local funding dollars. Harris County Commissioners Court reviews and approves the budget for HCPH.
So what is public health?
Public health has been defined by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) as “what we as a society do collectively to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy.”
This means that public health is concerned not only with what happens within the healthcare system (that is, in hospitals, clinics, emergency rooms, etc.) but also what occurs outside of the healthcare system - in the community.
In fact, much of what helps determine the health of our community relates to activities happening where people live, learn, work, worship and play. It is about what happens in the community including those factors such as education, socio-economic status, housing, transportation, and environment to name a few.
Moving forward . . .
While many of these factors may not directly be considered a part of public health, increasingly these factors are seen as what drive health. They are all pieces to the larger puzzle of what shapes our community’s health and thus important to our efforts. We are equally committed to achieving health equity – the best health possible for ALL of our residents.
I hope you will find our website useful (we are continuing to make improvements for our viewers!). It provides information to help promote your health, the health of those around you, and the health of OUR community. We are all in this together!
Indeed, we have a fantastic community in Harris County, yet challenges remain – please join us in our goal to make Harris County the healthiest community possible!
Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH