Gov. Abbott appoints locals to state boards


Gov. Greg Abbott

Gov. Greg Abbott recently made several statewide appointments that included several people from Fort Bend County.

The following are appointments announced by the governor’s office:

Statewide Health Coordinating Council

Abbott has named Dr. Ayeez Lalji as presiding officer of the Statewide Health Coordinating Council (SHCC).

The governor appointed Larry Safir for a term set to expire Aug. 1, 2017, and Dr. Salil Deshpande for a term set to expire Aug. 1, 2019. He additionally appointed Dr. Carol Boswell, Dr. Melinda Rodriguez, Courtney Sherman, Shaukat Zakaria, and Dr. Yasser Zeid to the Council for terms set to expire on Aug. 1, 2021.

The Council ensures health care services and facilities are available to all Texans through health planning activities. Based on these planning activities, the SHCC makes recommendations to the governor and the legislature through the Texas State Health Plan (TSHP). The council also provides overall guidance in the development of the TSHP, submission of the plan to the governor, and promoting the implementation of the plan.

Ayeez Lalji, D.D.S. of Sugar Land is a practicing dentist and owner at Royal Dental and Lake Point Dental & Specialty. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association, American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and Academy of General Dentistry. Additionally, he is a member of United Concordia Insurance Co Quality Improvement Committee, the National Dental Advisory Committee, and serves as the chairman for First Continental Life Dental Insurance appeals committee. He volunteers with the American Cancer Society. Dr. Lalji received a Bachelor of Arts in biology from the University of Texas at Austin and a Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Texas Health Science Center.

Governor’s Commission for Women

Abbott recently announced the appointment of Estela Avery, Tina Yturria Buford, Jennifer Chiang, Starr Corbin, Alejandra De la Vega-Foster, Debbie Gustafson, Karen Harris, Amy Henderson, Nancy Ann Hunt, Karen Manning, Imelda Navarro, Rienke Radler, Jinous Rouhani, Catherine Susser, and Laura Koenig Young to the Governor’s Commission for Women for terms set to expire on Dec. 31, 2017.

Additionally, Abbott named Catherine Susser as chairman and Alejandra De la Vega-Foster as vice chairman of the commission.

Since 1967, the Governor’s Commission for Women has served as a liaison between Texas women and government agencies, as well as private entities addressing women’s needs. The Commission helps women identify information and services best suited to their needs, as well as find solutions to emerging issues facing women.

“Empowering women is critical for families, communities and the State of Texas,” said Abbott. “The 15 commission members reflect the incredible strength and diversity of women leaders in the Lone Star State. It is my privilege as Governor to work by their side.”

Additionally, Abbott announced the commission will be restructured to focus on increasing opportunities in five key areas: Women-owned businesses, education through STEM, volunteerism, women and children’s health and women veterans and service members.

Jennifer Chiang of Sugar Land is an attorney and owner of Chiang Law Firm, P.L.L.C. Prior to starting her own firm, she worked at several Houston area law firms. Currently, she serves as an Associate Judge for the Sugar Land Municipal Court. Chiang is active in the community serving as a board member for the Fort Bend Young Lawyers Association, board member for the Sugar Land Cultural Arts Foundation, board member for Sugar Land Skeeters Foundation, board member for the Fort Bend County Museum Association, member of the Fort Bend Bar Association and lifelong member of the Chinese Baptist Church in Houston. She formerly served as a commissioner on the City of Sugar Land Charter Commission and the Fort Bend County Truancy Commission. Chiang and her husband who is a former Captain in the United States Army and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom are active advocates for disabled veterans. In 2014, Chiang was named “40 under 40: Fort Bend’s Rising Stars” by the Fort Bend Business Journal. Chiang earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in economics and Master of Business Administration in finance and international business from the University of St. Thomas. She earned a Juris Doctorate at the University of Houston Law Center.

State Board of Dental Examiners

Abbott has named Steve Austin chair of the State Board of Dental Examiners. The governor has also appointed Diane Garza for a term set to expire Feb. 1, 2017, appointed Bryan Henderson, II, Jorge Quirch and Rich Villa for terms set to expire Feb. 1, 2021, and reappointed Renee Cornett and David Tillman for terms set to expire Feb. 1, 2021, to the board. The board oversees licensing and regulation of dental care providers in Texas and enforces Texas laws regulating the practice of dentistry.

Jorge Quirch of Missouri City is a general dentist at DDS Associates in Houston. He is a clinical associate professor at the University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston and a member of the American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, Greater Houston Dental Society and the Southwest Society of Oral Medicine. Additionally, he received his fellowship from the Academy of General Dentistry in 2007. Quirch received his Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University and a Doctor of Dental Surgery from The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston.

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