Leadership and Faculty

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Bettina M. Beech, DrPH, MPH

Beech, BettinaContact PI, OHD PRIDE
Founding Dean, John D. Bower School of Population Health
Professor of Population Health Science, Pediatrics, and Family Medicine
Executive Director, Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities
University of Mississippi Medical Center


Dr. Bettina Beech has a unique interdisciplinary background that integrates public health, health disparities, diabetes, obesity prevention and treatment, cancer prevention and control, and pediatric/adolescent health issues. A native of Los Angeles, Calif., Dr. Beech holds a BA from Temple University, master of public health from Temple University, and a DrPH in community health from University of Texas Health Science Center, School of Public Health. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in behavioral science at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and was 2011-12 fellow in the Hedwig van Amerigen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women (Drexel University).

Dr. Beech is passionate about research and her areas of scientific inquiry focus on the role of nutritional factors in the primary and secondary prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes, with a particular focus on child health disparities. She has been principal investigator for multiple studies funded by NIH. Two studies of note include a randomized clinical trial translating the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) for African-American families with 8- to 10-year-old children and the Jackson Heart Kids Study, a pilot epidemiologic cardiovascular and obesity trial including children and grandchildren of JHS members.

Dr. Beech has served as a standing member of the Psychosocial Risk and Disease Prevention (PRDP) study section, chaired several ad hoc study sections for NIH and CDC, and a reviewer of numerous ad hoc study sections for NIH. She is a reviewer for over 20 peer-reviewed journals and is a member of several editorial boards including Ethnicity and Disease, American Journal of Health Promotion, Childhood Obesity; she currently serves as the Editor for the Journal Family and Community Health.

Research interests

  • Health disparities
  • Family and community health

Recent publications

  • Beech BM, Bruce MA, Thorpe RJ Jr, Heitman E, Griffith DM, Norris KC. Theory-Informed Research Training and Mentoring of Underrepresented Early-Career Faculty at Teaching-Intensive Institutions: The Obesity Health Disparities PRIDE Program. Ethn Dis. 2018 Apr 26;28(2):115-122. doi: 10.18865/ed.28.2.115. eCollection 2018 Spring. PubMed PMID: 29725196; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5926854.
  • Bruce MA, Thorpe RJ Jr, Beech BM, Towns T, Odoms-Young A. Sex, Race, Food Security, and Sugar Consumption Change Efficacy Among Low-Income Parents in an Urban Primary Care Setting. Fam Community Health. 2018 Apr/Jun;41 Suppl 2 Suppl, Food Insecurity and Obesity:S25-S32. doi: 10.1097/FCH.0000000000000184. PubMed PMID: 29461313; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5824648.
  • Beech BM, Norris KC. Perspective: Person-Environment Congruence: A Call for Increased Precision in Matching Research Mentors and Mentees. Ethn Dis. 2018 Feb 1;28(1):1-2. doi: 10.18865/ed.28.1.1. eCollection 2018 Winter. PubMed PMID: 29467559; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5794441.
  • Mensah GA, Cooper RS, Siega-Riz AM, Cooper LA, Smith JD, Brown CH, Westfall JM, Ofili EO, Price LN, Arteaga S, Green Parker MC, Nelson CR, Newsome BJ, Redmond N, Roper RA, Beech BM, Brooks JL, Furr-Holden D, Gebreab SY, Giles WH, James RS, Lewis TT, Mokdad AH, Moore KD, Ravenell JE, Richmond A, Schoenberg NE, Sims M, Singh GK, Sumner AE, Treviño RP, Watson KS, Avilés-Santa ML, Reis JP, Pratt CA, Engelgau MM, Goff DC Jr, Pérez-Stable EJ. Reducing Cardiovascular Disparities Through Community-Engaged Implementation Research: A National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Workshop Report. Circ Res. 2018 Jan 19;122(2):213-230. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.117.312243. PubMed PMID: 29348251; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5777283.
  • Griffith DM, Cornish EK, Bergner EM, Bruce MA, Beech BM. "Health is the Ability to Manage Yourself Without Help": How Older African American Men Define Health and Successful Aging. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2018 Jan 11;73(2):240-247. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbx075. PubMed PMID: 28977532; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5926982.
  • PubMed articles