County Administrator's Office
For Immediate Release

Dr. Urmila Shende named as COVID-19 Vaccine Chief for Sonoma County

Santa Rosa,CA | January 15, 2021

The County of Sonoma has named Dr. Urmila Shende as COVID-19 Vaccine Chief, overseeing the County’s rollout of the COVID vaccine. Dr. Shende has been working with the Sonoma County Department of Health Services since March 2020, providing clinical expertise to the County’s COVID-19 response efforts.

In her role as Vaccine Chief, Dr. Shende will be responsible for implementing the vaccine distribution strategy, coordinating vaccine administration, and interfacing with health care leaders and other stakeholders as part of the countywide vaccine response.

“We know the vaccine is our most important tool to ending the pandemic, and it is a great honor to be leading Sonoma County’s vaccine strategy,” Dr. Shende said. “Distributing this vaccine is a historic effort, which will require incredible coordination among many different stakeholder groups.”

A pediatrician for more than 20 years in Sonoma County, Dr. Shende played a critical role in developing clinical standards and procedures for the County’s COVID contact tracing strategy. In October, she transitioned to the County’s COVID Vaccine Team.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Shende spearheading our vaccination distribution strategy,” said Barbie Robinson, Sonoma County’s Director of Health Services. “It is a massive undertaking with many moving parts, but it is comforting to know that it is in her capable hands. With Dr. Shende’s leadership, we will get the vaccine quickly and safely to as many Sonoma County residents as possible.”

Dr. Shende earned her medical degree from Northwestern University in Chicago, and has a Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University. She finished her Pediatrics residency in 1997 at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles where she stayed on as a chief resident and staff attending for a year. Beginning in 1998, Dr. Shende started her private practice in Santa Rosa and, 10 years later, joined Kaiser Permanente providing general pediatrics and general patient care.