Richard Besser, ABC-TV's Senior Medical Editor, to Present 21st Perry Lecture

By Lois Baker

Release Date: October 23, 2009 This content is archived.


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Richard Besser, senior health and medical editor for ABC News, will present the 2009 J. Warren Perry lecture.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Richard E. Besser, MD, senior health and medical editor for ABC News, will present the 21st annual J. Warren Perry Lecture on Nov. 13 at 1:30 p.m. in 105 Harriman Hall on the University at Buffalo's South Campus.

Besser will discuss "Pandemics, Public Health and Political Transition."

The lecture is sponsored by UB's School of Public Health and Health Professions and is free and open to the public, although seating is limited. A simulcast will be provided in Diefendorf Hall to accommodate overflow attendance, if necessary.

Besser began his position with ABC News in September after serving in several capacities in academia and public health over two decades.

A 1986 graduate of the University at Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Besser made his first foray into public health during his pediatric residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He spent a year in Bangladesh as a research associate at the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, run by Johns Hopkins' School of Hygiene and Public Health.

After completing his residency in 1991, he took his first job at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Ga., spending two years as an epidemic intelligence service officer in the National Center for Infectious Diseases. In 1993 Besser left the CDC for the University at California, San Diego, where he served the next five years as assistant professor of pediatrics and director of the pediatric residency program.

In San Diego he became deeply involved in public health, serving as attending physician in the San Diego County Health Department's Tuberculosis Clinic, the Center for Health Promotion (Centro de Promocion de Salud) in Tijuana, Mexico, and the Homeless Teen Mobile Van in San Diego.

Besser returned to the CDC in 1998 as a medical epidemiologist in the Respiratory Diseases Branch, Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases. In the following years he served as chief of the division's Epidemiology Section, medical director of the "CDC Campaign to Promote Appropriate Antibiotic Use in the Community," acting chief of the Meningitis and Special Pathogens Branch, director of the Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response, and from January to June of this year as the CDC's acting director.

He has given presentations on infectious diseases in Europe, Canada and across the U.S., authored or co-authored three dozen publications in peer-reviewed journals, and has contributed to 40 book chapters, editorials, public health guidelines and position papers.

He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and its Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology Sections.

The lecture is made possible by a grant from J. Warren Perry, founding dean of the former UB School of Health Related Professions.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.