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DAA: Michael J. Beach

Michael J. Beach

Atlanta, GA | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 2011

addressing an international scientific forum, a class of fifth-graders, or a television news audience. In all settings, his research and work in public health have made him a respected epidemiologist and authority on disease prevention, especially waterborne diseases. In his current position, he coordinates activities related to water safety, sanitation, and hygiene across eight centers of the CDC. Beach manages 55 professionals on four teams. The Domestic Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Epidemiology Team focuses on waterborne disease surveillance, emergency response, and prevention of diseases associated with drinking, recreational, and other water uses in the United States; the Global WASH Epidemiology Team works on preventing diarrheal and nonenteric disease associated with water use and inadequate sanitation and hygiene in the developing world; a WASH Laboratory Team studies environmental microbiology, molecular epidemiology, serology, and free-living amoebae related to global prevention of WASH-related disease; and the Health Promotion and Communications Team translates science into prevention messages and campaigns to promote global waterborne disease prevention. Beach led efforts to fund and design a Healthy Water website that highlights CDC waterborne disease and water-related work. Since went live in March 2009, it has had more than a million hits. Beach’s epidemiological activities have not been restricted to waterborne problems; he has participated in 25 outbreak investigations as well. His experience has therefore affected topics of considerable interest to the agricultural community. Away from work, he enjoys hiking, camping, backpacking, and rock-climbing. He has two children, one of whom was born while he was writing his thesis at Purdue. Beach is a lifelong learner who values the continual new challenges the CDC offers as well as the applicability of his work. “I’ve never felt that I go very long without seeing the direct impact that I have,” he says. “We make decisions on a regular basis that impact national and international health.” In the Advanced Guard of Disease Prevention