Michael J. Beach
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 www.cdc.gov/healthywater
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
In the Advanced Guard of