The Brunswick Rotary Club was honored to recognize Dr. Nirav Shah, Director of the Maine CDC, as a Paul Harris Fellow at a weekly club meeting conducted virtually on Monday, December 14.  Dr. Shah’s significant contribution to the well-being and health of Mainers during the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic merited special recognition, and the Brunswick Club was joined by numerous other Maine and New Hampshire Rotary Clubs, Dr. Shah’s family and numerous work colleagues, and members of the media, at the virtual meeting announcing the award.  Senator Angus King was unable to attend; however, he sent a congratulatory video which was played during the recognition ceremony.
Immediate Past President of the Brunswick Rotary Club Carolyn Bulliner coordinated the award and ceremony, and provided a recap of Dr. Shah’s career and professional experiences that prepared him for his current role.  A neighbor of Dr. Shah’s, Ms. Bulliner shared that she frequently observed him walking or jogging earlier this year, often with his phone firmly held to his ear, demonstrating the dedication and focus he has maintained during the current healthcare crisis.
Dr. Shah indicated that the day of the meeting was significant; it was the day the first doses of the recently approved vaccine arrived in Maine – hopefully, the beginning of the end of a crisis that has impacted all aspects of life tremendously.  As he has done in his frequent updates, he reminded the audience to continue to be safe as it will be months before a significant percentage of the population has received the vaccine. He also commended the Rotarians for their role in addressing polio and disease throughout the world.
Peggy Bellanger, Rotary District 7780 Governor, told Dr. Shah that Rotary Clubs in the district could be an asset to the Maine and New Hampshire CDC efforts and encouraged him to let us know if we could be of assistance during the vaccination process.
With another meeting scheduled directly after the short presentation, Dr. Shah thanked the Rotarians for the recognition and accepted the award on behalf of not just himself but of the entire Maine CDC.  He intends to display it in common space at the Augusta office.
Professional biographical Information: Dr. Nirav Shah  
In June 2019, Nirav D. 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 the 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.
About the Paul Harris Recognition Award
Rotary started with the vision of one man — Paul Harris.
After setting up his law practice in Chicago, Harris gathered several business associates to discuss the idea of forming an organization for local professionals. He envisioned a place where professionals of diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships, and Rotary was formed in 1905. At the 1917 convention, outgoing Rotary President Arch Klumph proposed setting up an endowment for the purpose of doing good in the world.” That one idea, and an initial contribution of $26.50, set in motion a powerful force that has transformed millions of lives around the globe, The Rotary Foundation.  Typically, the Paul Harris recognition award acknowledges individuals who contribute, or who have contributions made in their name, of $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation, however, in 1979, at the International Assembly, incoming Rotary International President James Bomar challenged each Rotary club to make one non-Rotarian a Paul Harris Fellow. The Rotary Club of Pikesville, Maryland, USA, responded by making a donation in the name of Mother Teresa in 1980. The entertainer Pearl Bailey also became a Paul Harris Fellow through a joint effort of the Rotary clubs in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. 
Many other notable figures have been named Paul Harris Fellows, including U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, U.S. astronaut James Lovell, UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, and polio vaccine developer Jonas Salk.  The Brunswick Rotary Club is honored to add Dr. Nirav D. Shah to this impressive list in recognition of the outstanding leadership demonstrated in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic in Maine.