Dr. Bell received his undergraduate education at Harvard with an AB degree in English Literature and received an MD at Boston University in 1971. Pediatric training with subspecialty training in pediatric chronic disease resulted in membership in the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1976. The following year he established a primary care office in the town of Lyndonville, New York. His interest in chronic fatigue syndrome began with an apparent cluster outbreak of 216 persons in this rural community in 1985, and the first publication concerning this cluster showed lack of involvement by Epstein-Barr virus.
He has since published extensively on the subject including a thirteen year follow-up paper on children in the original cluster outbreak. In 2004 he was appointed Chairman of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee of the Department of Health and Human Services. (2005)