AUGUSTA — University of Maine at Augusta President Rebecca Wyke is pleased to announce that Dr. Nirav Shah, director of Maine’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) will deliver the keynote address at UMA’s Virtual Convocation ceremony on Friday, Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. In compliance with restrictions on large gatherings, this year’s Convocation will be a webinar event and the public is invited to view the event on Facebook Live at facebook.com/UMAugusta.
Convocation marks the beginning of a new academic year, and with that, a new academic theme. The UMA Colloquium selected Outbreak as the theme for the 2020-21 academic year. Additionally, a single theme-related book has been adopted for use in a number of classes across the curriculum “The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic — and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World” by Steven Johnson.
Dr. Rebecca White, UMA assistant professor of history, will provide a faculty perspective on the theme and Celena Zacchai, a social science student, will give her perspective on Outbreak.
During the Convocation ceremony, UMA will also recognize students identified as Rising Scholars for both academic achievement and promise. Nominated students are those who have excelled in academics, engaged in the UMA community or are individuals faculty and staff believe show great potential and promise as student scholars.
Additionally, UMA Professor of Psychology and Human Services Frank Ellis will receive the Distinguished Educator award and UMA Professor of Art Peter Precourt will receive the Distinguished Scholar award.
About the keynote speaker — In June 2019, Dr. Shah, MD, JD, was appointed as the director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC). Dr. Shah comes to Maine CDC with broad experience in public health, most recently as director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, where he implemented key initiatives to address the state’s opioid crisis, reduce maternal and infant mortality and reduce childhood lead poisoning.
As an attorney and public health economist, Shah previously advised professionals and governments around the nation and globe on improving the delivery of health care. Earlier in his career, he worked for the Ministry of Health in Cambodia, where his work included investigating and managing disease outbreaks as an epidemiologist.
Shah received both medical and law degrees from the University of Chicago. He also studied economics at Oxford University.