President Obama, Secretary Vilsack Announce Intent to Nominate Rajiv Shah as Under Secretary of Research, Education and Economics and Chief Scientist at USDA | USDA Newsroom
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Release No. 0115.09
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PRESIDENT OBAMA, SECRETARY VILSACK ANNOUNCE INTENT TO NOMINATE RAJIV SHAH AS UNDER SECRETARY OF RESEARCH, EDUCATION AND ECONOMICS AND CHIEF SCIENTIST AT USDA

WASHINGTON, April 17, 2009 - President Barack Obama today announced his intent to nominate Rajiv J. Shah, M.D., as Under Secretary of Research, Education and Economics (REE) and Chief Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dr. Shah will serve with Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The REE mission area provides the science that federal agencies, policymakers, researchers and others draw on to meet challenges facing America's food and agriculture system. The four REE agencies are the Agricultural Research Service (including the National Agricultural Library), Economic Research Service, National Agricultural Statistics Service, and Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.

"Dr. Rajiv Shah is a globally recognized leader in science, health and economics ... disciplines that are critical to the missions of this department," said Vilsack. As Director of the Agricultural Development Program at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rajiv has a profound influence on helping the world's poor lead healthy and productive lives. With his extensive background, Rajiv will help guide advances in food safety, nutrition, energy and climate, agricultural productivity, and global food security-to name a few of USDA's challenges."

The foundation's agriculture programs represent a multi-billion dollar global effort to reduce hunger and poverty. Shah joined the foundation in 2001 and has served as Director of Strategic Opportunities and Deputy Director of Policy and Finance for Global Health. In these roles, he helped create the foundation's Global Development Program and the International Finance Facility for Immunization, an effort that raised more than $5 billion for child immunization and has the potential to save more than five million lives around the world.

Before joining the foundation, Shah was a health care policy advisor on the Gore 2000 presidential campaign and a member of Governor Ed Rendell's (D-PA) transition committee on health. He is a co-founder of Health Systems Analytics and Project IMPACT for South Asian Americans. He also served as a policy aide in the British Parliament and worked at the World Health Organization.

Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Shah earned his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and M.S. in health economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the London School of Economics. In 2007, Shah was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.