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Recent White House Fellow, prominent physician to deliver Gates-Ferry Lecture at Centenary University

Aakash Shah, M.D., has played a key role in shaping national healthcare policy and helped to lead the COVID-19 response for Hackensack Meridian Health in New Jersey.

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) — Recent White House Fellow Aakash Shah, M.D., will present this fall’s Gates-Ferry Distinguished Visiting Lecture at Centenary University on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

In his lecture, “Reimagining Public Health and Public Safety,” Dr. Shah will share his perspective as a physician, as an advocate, and—most recently—as a White House Fellow to discuss new programs at the intersection of public health and public safety.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Sitnik Theater in the David and Carol Lackland Center on the University’s Hackettstown campus.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Centenary University students and members of the public to gain insights into the forces driving healthcare decisions on the local and national levels,” said Noah Haiduc-Dale, Ph.D., associate professor of history, who chairs the Speakers Committee, which assists in the selection process for the Gates-Ferry Distinguished Visiting Lecture. Dr. Haiduc-Dale noted that Dr. Shah will meet with small groups of Centenary students prior to the lecture.

As a White House Fellow during the 2021-2022 term, Dr. Shah was placed at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A practicing emergency room doctor at Hackensack Meridian Health, he helped treat some of the earliest confirmed cases of COVID-19 during the pandemic.

Dr. Shah is also the director of addiction medicine and the medical director of Project HEAL (a hospital-based violence intervention program) at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, as well as the medical director of New Jersey Reentry Corp. His work in those roles has resulted in several reforms and he received the bipartisan endorsement of five former New Jersey governors.

Dr. Shah previously served as the founder and executive director of Be Jersey Strong, which represented one of the largest and most diverse efforts to connect the uninsured to healthcare coverage in the nation, for which he was honored by President Barack Obama at the White House.

In addition, Dr. Shah was an advisor to several local, state, and federal campaigns and policymakers. He obtained his Doctor of Medicine from Harvard Medical School, Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Comparative Social Policy from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science from Ursinus College. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Centenary University, where he served as the 2021 commencement speaker.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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