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Department of Natural Science Hosts Public Health Matters Talk April 23


By Sheryl E. Taylor

Since the onset of the pandemic, UHD continues to ensure that the campus community is engaged in important COVID-related conversations.

As part of the Natural Science Virtual Colloquium Series, the College of Science & Technology’s Department of Natural Science is hosting “Public Health Matters: A Local and State Perspective to Responding to a Pandemic,” 1 – 2 p.m. Friday, April 23.

This virtual discussion features Dr. Umair A. Shah, Secretary of Health for the Washington State Department of Health. Shah will discuss how COVID impacted a strained public health system and what we are still learning about COVID-19.

Prior to his newly appointed position as Secretary of Health, he served as Executive Director of Harris County Public Health (2013 – 2020) for the local health of 4.7 million residents in the nation’s third largest county. Shah prior positions included Former Deputy Director of Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services (HCPHES) and Director of HCPHES Disease Control & Clinical Prevention (2004 –2013). In 2016, he received the National Association of County and City Health Officials for his Harris County local health service for innovation, engagement, population health and health equity.

The event will be moderated by UHD’s Dr. Courtney Standlee, Lead Faculty Lecturer in Natural Science. A Q&A session will follow the talk.

“Under the leadership of Dr. Akif Uzman, CST Dean and NS Chair Dr. Rachna Sadana, we are focused on inclusive excellence and highlighting diverse voices,” said Standlee. “Dr. Shah is a dynamic public servant and I know first-hand about his dedication to public health and Harris County residents. Hosting a subject-matter expert of his caliber may speak to our students’ curiosity and drive to enter public service.”

For the more than 10 years, the NS Virtual Colloquium Series serves as a key co-curricular activity for students in the Natural Science department. The purpose of the series is expose students to research and career opportunities on and off campus. In 2020, the platform was changed to a virtual format, making it possible to bring high-profile speakers to UHD.

“COVID has impacted our students. It’s important to host these talks on pandemic-related issues,” Standlee emphasized. “Because of the pandemic, our students have missed many campus co-curricular activities. Our focus is to invite speakers who can share about their research, personal stories and career advice.”

To submit questions for the virtual discussion, contact Dr. Courtney Standlee at standleec@uhd.edu.

To attend the talk:
Zoom link: https://uhd.zoom.us/j/93633253030
Passcode: NS2021


About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.