JHA WASHINGTON: The White House on Monday named 19 Emerging Young Leaders Fellows for the 2021-22 year, three of whom are American Indians. The prestigious White House Fellowship Program includes professionals from diverse backgrounds for a year of serving as a full-time, paid fellow of White House staff, Cabinet secretaries, and other senior government officials. The American Indians who made it to the list are Joey Basu and Sunny Patel of California. And Akash Shah from New Jersey.

The President’s Committee on White House Colleagues described it as the most diverse class in the history of the program created in 1964 by then-President Lyndon B. Johnson. Joey Basso of San Francisco has been appointed to the White House Gender Policy Board. Earlier, she worked as a senior advisor to innovative companies seeking real growth and integrated impact. She was the first female chief of staff at TPG Growth, where she served as the lead architect and builders of The Rise Fund, a leading impact investment platform. She has also served as a global food and agricultural sector leader at The Rise Fund. Prior to joining TPG, Joy was a consultant at McKinsey & Company, focusing on agricultural development, working with companies, governments and donors to improve food systems in emerging markets. Joy has also served as the World Economic Forum’s New Vision Agriculture Project Manager and has supported strategic projects for the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency and Starbucks Coffee. Joy received her Ph.D. and MBA from Stanford University with a degree in Public Administration and Social Innovation. While at Stanford University, she served as co-chair of Women of Stanford Law, Arbuckle Fellow and as Project Leader for Legal Education in Afghanistan. Joy holds a BA in Public Policy and Economics from Duke University. She currently serves as a trustee for Heifer International and a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Sani Patel works for the Department of Homeland Security and is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and public health physician with an interest in building equitable health systems that serve children and families. He recently completed a fellowship at New York University, where he created a model involving mental health services in a children’s oncology clinic. He also launched a comprehensive mental health response for thousands of frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and volunteered as a palliative care physician at Bellevue Hospital. Sunny has led health interventions for vulnerable populations in the United States and abroad, including in India, Thailand and the Dominican Republic. He has spent the past decade working with refugees and conducting forensic psychiatric examinations of asylum seekers with New York University and Physicians for Human Rights. Sunny’s research has been published in many informed policy journals and initiatives, including work presented at the United Nations General Assembly. He has also worked as a medical resident at Adams House at Harvard College. Sunny completed his residency in adult psychiatry at Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School. He received his MD from Mayo Clinic, MPH from Harvard University, and BA and MA degrees in biology and physiology, respectively, from UCLA with honors in the faculty and departments. Akash Shah was appointed to the Department of Health and Human Services. An emergency room practitioner at Hackensack Meridian Health has helped treat some of the early confirmed cases of COVID-19 during the pandemic. Akash also serves as Director of Addiction Medicine and Medical Director of Project HEAL (Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program) at Jersey Shore University Medical Center as well as Medical Director of New Jersey Reentry Corp. His work in these roles has resulted in several reforms, including repealing drug pre-licensing requirements for opioid use disorder and gaining bipartisan approval from five former New Jersey governors. He previously served as founder and CEO of Be Jersey Strong, which represented one of the largest and most diverse efforts to connect the uninsured to coverage in the country and was honored by President Barack Obama at the White House for its influence. He has also served as a consultant to numerous campaigns and policy makers at the local, state and federal levels.

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