Newly sworn in Gov. Phil Murphy announced last week that he will nominate former Linwood resident Dr. Shereef Elnahal, a Department of Veteran Affairs official, to be New Jersey’s next health commissioner.

The son of Egyptian doctors who emigrated to the United States, Elnahal, 32, graduated from Mainland Regional High School as he salutatorian in 2003.

According to District Superintendent Mark Marrone, he was the salutatorian of his graduating class.

He went on to graduate from Johns Hopkins with a degree in biophysics and earned his medical degree and an MBA at Harvard Medical School, according to his bio on www.va.gov.

If the nomination is approved by the New Jersey Senate, Elnahal would be the first Muslim-American cabinet member in New Jersey history, according to Murphy’s transition team.

At the Department of Veterans he is the assistant deputy undersecretary for health for quality, safety and value  affairs. He was appointed by Barak Obama in 2015.

The New Jersey Department of Health is charged with strengthening the state health system and has five branches: public health services, health systems, integrated health, office of population health and the office of policy and strategic planning, according to nj.gov/health.

Elnahal, would replace acting Commissioner Christopher Rinn, who was appointed by Chris Christie.

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