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American Psychiatric Association Honors Former Arizona House Representative Dr. Amish Shah with Jacob K. Javits Public Service Award

  • May 02, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) will confer its highest award honoring public service, the Jacob K. Javits Public Service Award, to Amish Shah, M.D., M.P.H. Dr. Shah’s dedication to improving access to quality care, and his advocacy efforts for mental health reform, have been a cornerstone of his 20-year career in emergency medicine and five years in the Arizona State Legislature.

Each year, the APA confers the Javits Award to a state or federal public servant for their outstanding contributions to the profession of psychiatry and to mental health advocacy. APA established the award in 1986 in honor of Senator Jacob Javits, who represented New York State in the U.S. Senate from 1957 to 1981.

“Not only in hospitals but also in the Arizona House of Representatives, Dr. Shah has left his mark as a distinctly skilled and dedicated voice for mental health,” said APA President Petros Levounis, M.D., M.A. “His tireless efforts include working across the aisle to pass legislation like ‘Jake’s Law,’ promoting important mental health interventions such asthe Collaborative Care Model, and advocating for youth to more easily access mental health care services.”

"I am deeply honored to receive the Jacob K. Javits Public Service Award from the American Psychiatric Association. This recognition not only reflects my commitment but also underscores the urgent need to address mental health with the same dedication as we do physical health,” said Shah. “Throughout my career, both in the emergency room and the Arizona House of Representatives, I have strived to ensure that mental health care is accessible and equitable. As we continue to remove the barriers to mental health services, we must also push for healthcare reforms that recognize mental health as essential to overall well-being. I am excited to collaborate with the APA to make this happen."

Prior to his service in Arizona, Shah taught at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York as a full-time faculty member and academic researcher. He is the 2023 Pamela P. Bensen Trailblazer Award winner, the 2022 Women’s Health Champion of the Year, and the recipient of the 2022 Nursing Hero Award from the Arizona Nurses Association. Outside of his medical and legislative efforts, he supports the community as the founder of the Arizona Vegetarian Food Festival, a philanthropic endeavor that aims to promote healthy eating and eliminate preventable diseases. Dr. Shah is now taking his legislative and medical expertise to the national stage by running for Congress in Arizona's First District.

“Dr. Shah is an exemplar in the practice of medicine and a champion of enhanced access to equitable mental health care,” said Gagan Singh, M.D., DFAPA, president of the Arizona Psychiatric Society. “He has worked tirelessly to decrease the shame often associated with mental illness, streamline the path to accessing mental health care, and improve the holistic health of Arizonans in his district and beyond.”

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 38,000 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please visit

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