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September 27, 2011

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Awards Dean’s Medal to Richard Besser


Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has awarded the Dean’s Medal—the School’s highest honor—to Richard E. Besser, MD, chief health and medical editor for ABC News. The Dean’s Medal recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the field of public health.

Besser was presented with the Dean’s Medal on September 24, 2011, at the Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md.

As health and medical editor, Besser provides medical analysis and commentary for all ABC News broadcasts. Besser joined ABC in 2009 after directing the Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He also served as acting director for the CDC and acting administrator for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at which time he led the CDC's response to the H1N1 influenza outbreak of 2009. For his leadership during the outbreak, Besser received the Surgeon General's Medallion.

“Richard Besser showed incredible leadership during the H1N1 pandemic. As the circumstances of the epidemic changed daily, he provided clear communication to the public while effectively directing the CDC’s effort,” said Klag. “In his time at ABC News, he has brought us important stories on the health issues affecting the entire globe. His work is very consistent with the Bloomberg School’s mission of protecting health, saving lives—millions at a time.”

Previous recipients of the Dean’s Medal include Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Oshinsky, David Heymann, MD, Assistant Director-General for Health Security Environment and Representative of the Director-General for Polio Eradication at the World Health Organization, Sam Thier, MD, President, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences; David Kessler, MD, JD, Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand; Carol Bellamy, Executive Director, UNICEF; Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and Alfred Sommer, dean emeritus, Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Media contact: Tim Parsons, director of Public Affairs, at 410-955-7619 or