Doctor, Ag Official Tapped to Head USAID

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The White House has finally moved to fill the top slot at USAID—with a doctor no less—ending months of angst and speculation about who would take that long-vacant post.

Media reports indicate that President Obama will tap Rajiv Shah, MD, currently a senior official at the Department of Agriculture whose portfolio includes food security, to oversee the U.S. foreign-assistance agency. Besides the MD after his name, Shah has another good item on his resume, at least from the global health perspective; he was formerly with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he helped launch a global development program and worked on the foundation’s global health program. Other top items on his CV include a reference to his work for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization and the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The appointment, subject to Senate confirmation, comes as Congress looks at foreign assistance overhaul and the White House drafts a new Global Health Initiative, both critical efforts that could significantly alter the landscape for US global health policy. Click here to read Politico’s account of the nomination and here to see Shah’s full resume, as posted by Politico.

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