I am delighted to join the team at Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. Many of the issues that Oregon PSR focuses on are close to my heart.
Born in the capital of the nuclear-capable country of Pakistan, I was a young boy in 1998 when the Chagai nuclear tests were conducted underground as a response to India’s Pokhran test. With nationalism at an all-time high, I still remember countless celebrations in the streets at this development that would serve as a deterrent and ensure the survival of the Islamic Republic.
What those celebrations did not factor was the environmental and social costs of testing, maintaining, and expanding the nuclear arsenal. I firsthand saw the ramifications of a bloated military budget and the divestment from necessary social programs as a result. I was also privy to the lack of political stability and scapegoating of “enemy” countries; this nuclear flexing was a compounded abomination to the very real human suffering occurring on the daily.
My family moved to the United States shortly after and I grew up in the “Petro-Metro” of Houston, Texas. If you are familiar with the oil and gas sector, you probably know that due to a lack of environmental regulations in Texas, there are extreme environmental externalities that disproportionately affect vulnerable communities of color in this region. After obtaining a Bachelor of Business degree from University of Houston, I decided to pursue a graduate degree in the public sector to address these wicked problems plaguing our society.
The next 8 years I spent in the refugee migration sector. I bring professional experience from four Asian countries, three community-based organizations, two local government agencies, two resettlement agencies, and the largest intergovernmental organization in the world (United Nations). My activism background goes even further; I started organizing with Students for Democratic Society (SDS) in 2008 against the War in Iraq and abolishing the death penalty in Texas.
At Oregon PSR, I intend to incorporate a social justice lens to every programmatic intervention that we participate in. I look forward to collaboration with the healthcare community of this state and reinvigorate stakeholders of various backgrounds to be a part of our organization. I moved to Oregon this past June and have loved every bit of nature here including the aesthetic mountain vistas, the vast Pacific Ocean shoreline, and the immaculate Portlandia bridges overlooking the city.
In my spare time, I enjoy making hip hop music, watching NBA basketball, and playing tennis with people less skilled than me (a winning strategy).
Kamil Khan, Executive Director