This article describes two large, multisite infectious disease programs: the Tuberculosis Epidemiologic Studies Consortium (TBESC) and the Emerging Infections Programs (EIPs). The links between biological anthropology and applied public health are highlighted using these programs as examples. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the TBESC and EIPs conduct applied public health research to strengthen infectious disease prevention and control efforts in the United States. They involve collaborations among CDC, public health departments, and academic and clinical institutions. Their unique role in national infectious disease work, including their links to anthropology, shared elements, key differences, strengths and challenges, is discussed. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 2009. Published 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.