CDC Emergency Preparedness Director Now in Charge

Dr. Richard Besser, 49, director of CDC's Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response, has been tapped to serve as acting director of the agency. Besser is a pediatrician who has worked in CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service and has experience in tracking foodborne diseases and battling infectious diseases, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Dr. Julie Gerberding resigned effective Jan. 20, the day President Barack Obama was inaugurated, after six years at the helm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to CDC, Besser has served as the epidemiology section chief in the Respiratory Diseases Branch, acting chief of the Meningitis and Special Pathogens Branch in the National Center for Infectious Disease, and as the medical director of Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work, CDC′s national campaign to promote appropriate antibiotic use in the community.

The agency says Besser received his B.A. in economics from Williams College and his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed a residency and a chief residency in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, Md.

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