Bettina Beech, a seasoned educator and research-scientist, is the Chief Population Health Officer at the University of Houston and founder of UH Population Health. Beech is also an appointed professor and clinical professor in the Department of Health Systems and Population Health Sciences at UH College of Medicine.
Beech has a unique interdisciplinary background that integrates public health, population health, minority health and health disparities with an emphasis on chronic disease self-management interventions across generations. She has served as the principal investigator for numerous studies funded by the National Institutes of Health, including several intervention trials and research training programs for groups underrepresented in biomedical sciences.
Prior to joining UH, she was the founding dean of the John D. Bower School of Population Health, the founding executive director of the Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Disparities and tenured professor of Population Health Science and Pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. As Dean of the third school of population health in the country, Beech led the establishment of master’s and doctoral programs in population health science, population health management and data science. In addition, she spearheaded the development of EversCare — a unique clinic addressing social needs of patients at the UMMC hospital and clinics — and partnered with the Mississippi Urban League and Mississippi Food Network to develop a food pantry for patients and the general community.
Prior to her arrival in Mississippi, Beech held several leadership positions at Wake Forest School of Medicine, including vice chair in the departments of Social Sciences and Health Policy, Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, co-director of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity and associate director of Cancer Health Disparities, among others. Beech also served on the faculty and in leadership roles at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Tulane University School of Public Health and at the University of Memphis’s Department of Psychology.
Beech is a standing member of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Institutional Training Mechanisms Review Committee, is on the editorial board for Population Health Management and is the immediate past editor-in-chief for the Journal of Family and Community Health. Beech has led several technology-based chronic disease management interventions addressing hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity and physical activity. A prolific researcher, she has published more than 140 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and books with a focus on family systems and their implications for health among underrepresented racial and ethnic populations over the life course.
A native of Los Angeles, Beech earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s in public health from Temple University. She earned her doctorate of public health from the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cancer prevention and control at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Beech has also completed two prestigious academic leadership fellowships – the Hedwig van Amerigen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program for Women at Drexel University and the American Council on Education Fellows Program.