Steven M. Becker, PhD

Professor of Community and Environmental Health
Old Dominion University College of Health Sciences

Dr. Steven M. Becker is professor and chair of the School of Community and Environmental Health at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He is an internationally recognized expert on public health preparedness and response, emergency planning for new and emerging health threats, community responses and resilience, and crisis and emergency risk communication for radiation emergencies. Dr. Becker has had extensive field experience at the sites of radiation incidents around the world, including the 1999 nuclear criticality accident in Tokaimura, Japan. He did Chernobyl disaster follow-up work in Ukraine and Belarus, and was a member of a three-person emergency assistance team invited to Japan in 2011 in response to the earthquake-tsunami disaster and the crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. While on scene, the team carried out a rapid site assessment, exchanged information with Japanese disaster professionals, and provided training to more than 1,100 Japanese hospital and healthcare personnel and emergency responders. Dr. Becker served as a principal investigator in the Pre-Event Message Development Project, a multiyear, multisite CDC-funded study aimed at improving emergency messages for new health threats. In 2005, he was elected by his scientific peers to serve on the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, and he was a co-author of NCRP Commentary No. 19, Key Elements of Preparing Emergency Responders for Nuclear and Radiological Terrorism; Report No. 138, Management of Terrorist Events Involving Radioactive Material; and Report No. 166, Population Monitoring and Radionuclide Decorporation Following a Radiological or Nuclear Incident. Dr. Becker’s work on emergency preparedness and response, public health readiness, and risk communication has been recognized with awards from such scientific organizations as the Health Physics Society and Oak Ridge Associated Universities. In September 2012, Dr. Becker was appointed by President Barack Obama to the United States Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board. He has also been a Dozor Visiting Scholar at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel and a Visiting Fellow at the Japan Emergency Medicine Foundation and National Hospital Tokyo Disaster Medical Center.  In 2017, Dr. Becker was named a member of the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.