As a young medical student in England in 1987, Sanjiv Shah heard a lecture about the newly discovered virus called HIV that was causing AIDS, a disease then considered nearly always fatal. It was a life-changing moment.
"Neither I nor my classmates had ever seen a case of HIV," Dr. Shah says. "It opened up a new world to me."
More than 20 years have passed since Dr. Shah was moved by that lecture of discovery and set a career path in infectious disease. As Deputy Chief Medical Officer for HHC's managed care group, MetroPlus Health Plan, Dr. Shah manages the largest Medicaid-funded HIV Special Needs Plan (SNP) in the country where he is making a difference in the lives of more than 2,000 New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS.
The MetroPlus HIV SNP is a special health plan designed to ensure that individuals with HIV/AIDS can receive regular primary care from providers experienced in HIV who can coordinate an array of services - including chronic disease management, adherence to treatment, and risk reduction education.
"Enhancing HIV primary care reduces inpatient stays and improves health outcomes," said Dr. Shah.
Dr. Shah is encouraged by the progress made in AIDS treatment since his medical school days, but is afraid that Americans are becoming less aware of the dangers of the disease.
"Although there are 1.1 million people with HIV today and 60,000 new infections every year, I believe that the public has become complacent about AIDS. It's seen as an 'overseas' or an 'African' problem, rather than something that directly affects all Americans," Dr. Shah says. "The first step is for everyone to get tested and know their status."
Dr. Shah was born in Tanzania and educated in England where he attended the University of Nottingham Medical School. He did his residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center and was chief medical resident at Elmhurst Hospital. He went on to do a fellowship in infectious diseases at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center.
Dr. Shah is currently earning a Masters in Public Health. In his spare time, Dr. Shah enjoys playing tennis and going to the theater.