Daily Message


Feb. 21, 2017: RWJF Announces Besser as Next President and CEO

Dr. Richard Besser, formerly the acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and current chief health and medical editor for ABC News, was named as the next president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Besser is expected to take the lead of the organization from Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey in April. Lavizzo-Mourey has guided the foundation for the past 14 years.

Prior to working for ABC News, Besser was director of the Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response, where he was responsible for all the CDC’s public health emergency preparedness and emergency response activities. During his time as acting director, from January to June 2009, Besser led the CDC’s response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic.

Besser attended Williams College for undergraduate education, received his medical degree from University of Pennsylvania and completed a residency and chief residency in pediatrics at John Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore. He is currently a professor of pediatrics at Columbia University and a distinguished visiting fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health.