Mike the Mad Biologist

Richard Besser to Be Acting CDC Director

I doubt he’ll become the new director–although I think he would be a very good choice–but, until the CDC gets a new director, Richard Besser is the Acting CDC Director:

Richard Besser, who headed the CDC’s public health emergency preparedness and response functions, succeeds Julie Gerberding, who stepped down with the change in administration after six years of leading the federal agency.

It wasn’t clear whether Dr. Besser would be Dr. Gerberding’s permanent successor. An email to CDC employees Thursday said that Dr. Besser would serve as acting director until a permanent director is named and assumes the role….

Dr. Besser, 49 years old, is a CDC veteran with wide public health experience. A pediatrician by training, he served in the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service, tracking foodborne diseases, followed by several years working on infectious disease issues. He spearheaded a national campaign to prevent overuse of antibiotics, a practice which helps to spawn antibiotic resistant bugs.

Most recently, he has been director of the Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response, which handles public health emergency preparedness and emergency response.

One of the things Besser was involved with was the Get Smart campaign, which is the “national campaign to prevent overuse of antibiotics, a practice which helps to spawn antibiotic resistant bugs.” When I heard that he had been transfered to COTPER, I thought it was a real waste of talent.

Besser would be a definite improvement over Gerberding….


  1. #1 D. C. Sessions
    January 25, 2009

    Besser would be a definite improvement over Gerberding.

    Besser als Gerberding?

    Talk about damning with faint praise!

  2. #2 Rogue Epidemiologist
    January 26, 2009

    An EIS officer who worked on food? Nifty!

    Anyway, I think the real reason behind taking him off BT/Emergency Prep is that the new administration will be stripping away BT funding and dismantling a lot of BT-related programs. Remove the head, and the rest will wither away.

    Any chance he’ll bring vaccine-preventables to the forefront and get the attention away from the mercury militia?

  3. #3 Mike the Mad Biologist
    January 26, 2009


    I wouldn’t want to speculate, since I don’t think Besser will get the job. If he’s nominated, then maybe I’ll do some speculatin’…

  4. #4 tiret
    August 22, 2009

    very thanks for article

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