In the latest example of a government official leaving public service for television, the CDC’s Dr. Richard Besser will join ABC News in September as a senior medical editor and correspondent, according to an internal ABC memo obtained by The Eye.
“Dr. Besser’s distinguished background in public health, emergency preparedness, and epidemiology will enhance the leadership of ABC News in reporting and explaining medical issues to our audiences,” ABC News president David Westin said in the memo to staffers.
Besser’s last day at CDC is Aug. 15, according to an agency spokeswoman. He emerged as one of the Obama administration’s lead spokesmen during the initial H1N1 flu outbreak. He served as acting director of the CDC until June and currently serves as director of the agency’s Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response, responsible for the agency’s public health emergency preparedness and emergency response activities. Many observers hoped President Obama would name Besser to the top CDC job, but he instead tapped New York City Health Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden.