Richard E. Besser, MD, (born 1959) is an ABC News Medical editor and formerly the acting director of the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
Besser received his BA from Williams College and his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After graduation, Besser completed a residency and a chief residency in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University Hospital.
In 1991, Besser joined the Epidemic Intelligence Service which is under the supervision of the CDC. He was sent to Boston to investigate a minor outbreak of E. coli there. Officials were unhappy at the length and cost of the investigation, which included collecting deer feces from apple orchards, but Besser eventually found the source of the outbreak, which was apple cider.