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Richard Besser

President & CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Former Chief Health & Medical Editor for ABC News

President & CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Former Chief Health & Medical Editor for ABC News

Travels From Travels From:
New York, NY, USA
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Richard Besser Biography

Richard Besser is president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the largest private foundation in the country devoted solely to improving health. Before joining RWJF in April 2017, he was chief health and medical editor for ABC News, where he provided medical analysis and commentary for all ABC News broadcasts and platforms, including World News Tonight with David Muir, Good Morning America and Nightline. He also reported on the Zika outbreak in Brazil and Ebola in Liberia. In 2011, Besser led ABC's global health coverage, Be the Change: Save a Life, reporting on health issues from seven different countries.

Dr. Besser came to ABC News in 2009 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where he served as Acting Director for the CDC from January to June 2009, during which time he led the CDC's response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic. He also served as director of the Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response. In that role, he was responsible for all of the CDC's public health emergency preparedness and emergency response activities.

Dr. Besser began his career at the CDC in 1991 in the Epidemic Intelligence Service working on the epidemiology of food-borne diseases. Following this, beginning in 1993, he served for five years on the faculty of the University of California, San Diego as the pediatric residency director. While in San Diego he worked for the county health department on the control of pediatric tuberculosis. He returned to CDC in 1998, where he served in various capacities, including as 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 medical director of "Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work," the CDC's national campaign to promote appropriate antibiotic use in the community.

Dr. Besser volunteers as a Pediatrician with the Children's Aid Society in New York City. He is currently a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health.

The author and coauthor of hundreds of presentations, abstracts, chapters, editorials and publications, Dr. Besser has received many awards for his work in public health and volunteer service. He received the Surgeon General's Medallion for his leadership during the H1N1 response, and in 2011 he accepted the Dean's Medal for his contributions to public health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. His investigative reporting into umbilical cord blood banking was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2011. In 2012, he received an Overseas Press Club award as part of ABC's coverage of global maternal health issues and 2 Peabody Awards as part of ABC News' coverage of Hurricane Sandy and Robin Roberts' health journey. His first book, Tell Me the Truth, Doctor: Easy-to-Understand Answers to Your Most Confusing and Critical Health Questions, was published by Hyperion in April 2013.

Dr. Besser received his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Williams College and his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed a residency and chief residency in pediatrics at John Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

Richard Besser Speaking Topics

  • Children's Health & Wellness

  • Pandemics, Preparedness & Public Health

  • Promoting Health: A View from Both Sides of the Camera

Richard Besser Videos

  • Richard Besser, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation CEO | Dean's ...
    Richard Besser, MD, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, spoke with Stanford Medicine Dean Lloyd Minor about the ...
  • Richard Besser* / Washington Ideas 2017 - YouTube
    Richard Besser, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation With Martha Raddatz, Chief Global Affairs Correspondent, ABC News Produced by...
  • RWJF's New President Richard Besser Hits the Ground Learning ...
    Pediatrician, public health practitioner and journalist, Richard Besser, MD, begins his tenure as president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson...

Richard Besser Books

  • Tell Me the Truth, Doctor: Easy-to-Understand Answers to Your Most Confusing and Critical Health Questions
    Tell Me the Truth, Doctor: Easy-to-Understand Answers to Your Most Confusing and Critical Health Questions

FAQs on booking Richard Besser

  • How do I book Richard Besser to speak at my event?

    Our experienced booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure speakers like Richard Besser for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment since 2002. Click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page to check availability for Richard Besser, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get speaking fee information and check availability for Richard Besser or any other speaker of your choice.
  • What are the speaker fees for Richard Besser

    Speaking fees for Richard Besser, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. The estimated fees to book Richard Besser are for live events and for virtual events. For the most current speaking fee to hire Richard Besser, click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak directly with an experienced booking agent.
  • What topics does Richard Besser speak about?

  • Where does Richard Besser travel from?

    Richard Besser generally travels from New York, NY, USA, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. For more details, please contact an AAE Booking agent.
  • Who is Richard Besser’s agent?

    AAE Speakers Bureau has successfully booked keynote speakers like Richard Besser for clients worldwide since 2002. As a full-service speaker booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Please click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page including the details of your event, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Richard Besser for your next private or corporate function.
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    AAE Speakers Bureau is a full-service speaker booking agency, meaning we can completely manage the speaker’s or celebrity’s engagement with your organization from the time of booking your speaker through the event’s completion. We provide all of the services you need to host Richard Besser or any other speaker of your choice, including offer negotiation, contractual assistance, accounting and billing, and event speaker travel and logistics services. When you book a speaker with us, we manage the process of hosting a speaker for you as an extension of your team. Our goal is to give our clients peace of mind and a best-in-class service experience when booking a speaker with us.
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    If you’re looking for the best, unbiased speaker recommendations, paired with a top-notch customer service experience, you’re in the right place. At AAE Speakers Bureau, we exclusively represent the interests of our clients - professional organizations, companies, universities, and associations. We intentionally do not represent the speakers we feature or book. That is so we can present our clients with the broadest and best performing set of speaker options in the market today, and we can make these recommendations without any obligation to promote a specific speaker over another. This is why when our agents suggest a speaker for your event, you can be assured that they are of the highest quality with a history of proven success with our other clients.

Richard Besser is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics such as Children's Health & Wellness, Pandemics, Preparedness & Public Health and Promoting Health: A View from Both Sides of the Camera. The estimated speaking fee range to book Richard Besser for your event is $20,000 - $30,000. Richard Besser generally travels from New York, NY, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are David Agus, Paul Rieckhoff, Seth Berkley, Norman Ornstein and Andrea Mitchell. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Richard Besser for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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