MPAC Celebrates the Historic Nomination of Dr. Shereef Elhanal

March 11, 2022 Updated September 18, 2022 Statements

By: MPAC Policy Bureau

Earlier this week, President Biden nominated Dr. Shereef Elnahal to be Under Secretary for Health, Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs. If confirmed, Dr. Elnahal would be one of the highest ranking members of the Biden Administration from the American Muslim community.

Dr. Elnahal was a White House fellow at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in 2015 and rose to Assistant Deputy Under Secretary, where he served until 2018.

Following that, he became New Jersey’s health commissioner, making history as the youngest and first Muslim to hold the job. His success in that role resulted in him becoming CEO and President of University Hospital, New Jersey’s only public acute-care hospital.

His credentials are second to none and speak for themselves. There is, however, something deeper about this nomination.

American Muslims have fought for our country since the Revolutionary War and our community, relative to the greater American population, and make up a far greater share of healthcare professionals. For this reason, it is so heartening to see someone like Dr. Elnahal be nominated to this high ranking position at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Biden Administration is fulfilling its promise to make the federal government more representative of the rich diversity of America. Since the inauguration, we have seen:

  • an American Muslim woman, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council Sameera Fazili, speak from the White House dais on economic policy,
  • the nomination of Dilawar Syed to be the deputy administrator at the Small Business Administration,
  • the confirmation of Lina Khan as Chair of the Federal Trade Commission,
  • the historic confirmation of Judge Zahid Quraishi,
  • and the nomination of Nusrat Jahan Choudhury to the federal judiciary.

From here, we call on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to bring his nomination before the Committee and for Senate Majority Charles Schumer to ensure a swift confirmation process.

We look forward to even more well-qualified American Muslims contributing to all branches of the government as we proceed under a President that values meaningful representation of all Americans. MPAC is partnering with other Muslim organizations to make that reality our ultimate goal.


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