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PSR Florida - 2013 Activities

January 17, 2014

PSR/Florida had an exciting and busy year. We were honored to host the national PSR Leadership Meeting in February which kicked off a year filled with activities such as meeting with legislators, writing opinion pieces, mentoring students and engaging our membership on issues of gravest threats to human health. Read on to see a list of our many activities.

PSR Florida - 2013 Activities

2/6 – Published Letter to the Editor on Invest in Solar and Wind, Tampa Bay Times.

2/9 - 2013 Chapter Leaders Conference - PSR chapter leaders gathered in Tampa, Florida in early February for two days of learning, sharing best practices and planning for 2013. The annual gathering brought together more than 40 leaders ranging from first year medical students to 25 plus-year members.  Sessions on fundraising, administrative effectiveness, online outreach and capacity building were featured and running through the sessions was an emphasis on collaborative partnerships. 

2/26 – OPED on Gun Violence In lives and trauma, gun violence has a high cost” published in the Tallahassee Democrat.

3/1 – Sign on letter to Governor Rick Scott urging him to require DEP to change their proposed criteria for carcinogens to reflect more protective limits on toxic chemicals.

Action Alert sent to membership on the same issue.

3/2 – Sign on letter in support of SB 1154 and HB 773 Florida Chemical Listing Bill which would provide  proactive legislation to inform and protect people from toxic chemicals.

3/4 – Sign on letter supporting the state expansion of Medicaid.

3/7 – Sign on letter urging Florida Representatives and Senators to oppose Coal Ash bills SB 682 and HB 659.

3/16 – PSR Board member Ron Saff, MD lectured to the Internal Medicine residents at FSU and PSR member Ray Bellamy, MD lectured to medical students on global warming and the medical consequences.

3/18 – Dr. Ron Saff spoke before the Florida House of Representatives on the Coal Ash Bill - HB 659.

3/31 – Sign on letter to President Obama asking him to support the cleaner gasoline and vehicle standards.

4/5 – Sign on letter Mind the Store asking the top 10 US retailers to develop a public action plan to address the Hazardous 100+t chemicals of high concern, including reducing, eliminating, or safely substituting the chemicals as appropriate.

4/11 – Dr. Ringenberg attended a media training on Effective Speaking on Climate Change held in Washington, DC. 

4/22 – Action alert sent to membership asking them to write their legislators to ask them to repeal Florida's nuclear tax.

5/9 – Sign on letter to Governor Rick Scott asking him to veto a bad coal ash bill SB 682

5/13 – 5/16 - Chapter Director Marybeth Dunn attended 50 States United for Healthy Air Meeting in Washington, DC as a Clean Air Ambassador. She met with Florida legislators to push for health protective environmental policies.

5/20 – Sign on letter to US Senator Wyden (Chairman of Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources) asking him to take into account the human health impacts from industrial-scale biomass incineration and end his support for this dirty energy source. 

5/21 – Dr. Ron Saff was the invited speaker at the Freethinkers’ Forum in Tallahassee. Ron talked about “the issues with hydraulic fracturing (fracking)”.

5/23 - Sign on letter to Governor Rick Scott urging him to ban fracking in Florida.

7/2 – Sign on letter to Senator Bill Nelson.  Protect Public Health - Oppose Weak Regulation of Coal Residuals Reuse and Management (H.R. 2218 and H.R. 2279)

7/9 - Board member Yolanda Whyte, MD presented comments before an EPA hearing on water pollution from coal plants.

7/30-Dr. Ringenberg met with FL Rep Betty Reed (District 59) to discuss PSR Florida’s health concerns related to hydraulic fracturing taking place in the Naples area.

7/20-21 -  Drs. Ron Saff and Ray Bellamy participated in a 2-day civil disobedience training event  to stop the Keystone Pipeline (KXL)

7/27 - Gasland Film Showing. Tallahassee
Gasland is an award winning documentary by Josh Fox that looks at the dangers of hydraulic fracturing.

7/27 - Dr. Yolanda White, PSR Florida board member, spoke at the Action on Climate Change Press Event  in Atlanta, GA. Also speaking was Dr. George Luber from the CDC.

7/30 - Dr. Yolanda Whyte spoke at the National Medical Association's Annual Convention in Toronto - “How Food Becomes Contaminated with Toxic Chemicals: Health Impacts and Solutions” 

7/30 – Sign on letter to Senator Rubio asking him to strengthen the Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013.

8/1 – Sign on letter Fracking pollution loopholes

8/8 – Letter by Dr. Lynn Ringenberg published in the Tampa Bay Times
“Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Solemn anniversaries”

8/28 – Dr. Lynn Ringenberg conducted a webinar for national PSR. Climate Change and Infectious Disease.

9/9 – Marybeth Dunn participated in the planning meeting for the Sunshine State Clean Energy Coalition. Dr. Ringenberg attended subsequent meetings and PSR/Florida joined as an official coalition member.

9/12 – Sign on letter regarding strengthening the Chemical Safety Improvement Act.

9/13 – 9/15 – Drs Yolanda Whyte, Ron Saff and Ray Bellamy attended the Fracktivist Conference in Tennessee

9/18 - Gasland Film Showing in Tampa in collaboration with other environmental groups.

9/18 – Sign on letter to EPA regarding the proposed power plant water pollution rule.

9/25 - Ron Saff, MD sent a letter to Dixie County Commissioners and participated in a protest of a proposed incinerator.

9/27-9/28 – Dr. Yolanda Whyte spoke at the Southeast Coal Ash Summit, Atlanta, GA.

10/5 – Annual PSR/Florida Board Meeting held in Winter Park, FL.

10/24 – Dr. Ron Saff published an LTE in the Suwannee Democrat on the health effects the proposed medical waste incinerator.  

10/27- Dr. Ron Saff published an OPED in the Gainesville Sun.
Two Biomass Injustices

10/29 – Dr. Yolanda Whyte attended the Safe Chemicals Healthy Families Coalition’s Stroller Brigade in Washington, DC. Dr. Whyte spoke on the need for strong chemicals policy reform and met with legislators.

11/7-9 – Dr. Ringenberg attended the national PSR Board meeting in Washington D.C. and was elected President-elect of the Board.

11/12 – Dr. Ringenberg was on WMNF’s Last Call with Pat Kemp to discuss fracking health concerns in the Naples area.

11/13  - Dr. Ringenberg spoke at a Duke Energy rally, where a group of concerned citizens called on the company to phase out the oldest coal-fired units at the Crystal River power plant by 2016 and invest in solar power to boost Florida’s economy, keep energy dollars in state, and bring clean air to communities.

11/14 - Gasland II screening in Tampa at the Unity Church Fellowship Hall

11/19- Sign on letter to EPA regarding the regulation of bio-energy and future accounting for biogenic CO2 emissions.

11/26 – Drs. Ron Saff and Ray Bellamy met with Representative Rodriquez about Florida Fracking legislation.

11/26 – Dr. Yolanda Whyte spoke at a Press Conference at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa. The Press Conference was to announce the release of The 2013 Trouble in Toyland report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). The report provides safety guidelines for consumers when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards.

12/3/2013- 5th Annual T.Terrell Sessums Award Presentation and USF COPH Dean’s Lecture. Keynote speakers, George Luber, PhD, CDC and Meredith Jagger, MS, Florida Department of Health BRACE Program Manager.

12/11 – Dr. Ringenberg lectured the USF first and second year medical students on “Environmental Toxics and the Damage to Children’s Health”.

12/18 – Dr. Lynn Ringenberg and member Dena Leavengood met with Representatives Janet Cruz and Betty Reed to discuss the importance of banning fracking in Florida until it can be proven to be safe.

12/19 – Dr. Lynn Ringenberg and Marybeth Dunn meet with US Representative Gus Bilirakis to ask him to advocate for strong health proactive policies in the Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013. They also brought materials to Representative Kathy Castor’s office.

12/20 – Dr. Lynn Ringenberg had an OP-Ed published in the Tampa Bay Times.
Work to rid the world of nuclear weapons

12/23 – Dr. Lynn Ringenberg had an OP-Ed published in the Tallahassee Democrat.
Nuclear weapons still pose huge threat

Other On-Going Florida Chapter Work:

  • Dr. Ringenberg is working with Stephen Gilbert, PhD and others on a PSR Fracking Executive Summary
  • Dr. Ringenberg is working with the national office on the newly released scientific report: “Nuclear Famine: 2 Billion People at Risk”. She has submitted numerous OPEDs and arranged to have Dr. Ira Helfand, the report author, speak on WMNF with Rob Lorie.
  • Drs. Ringenberg (Tampa) and Sherin (Orlando), both PSR Florida Board members, are invited members of the FL BRACE project’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG).
  • Dr. Todd Sack, a PSR board member and head of the FMA’s Environmental Health Committee is working to have the FMA’s My Green Doctor Program more readily available to physician practices across the State.
  • Marybeth Dunn, MPH is leading a team of health care providers and researcher in updating the Pediatric Environmental Health Toolkit that was first published in 2006 and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

USF Student PSR Chapter Activities

01/18-  SPSR Healthcare Greening Event
Lunch seminar featuring Mr. Paul Harvey, director of Hospitality Services at Tampa General Hospital and leader of many of the hospitals sustainability initiatives. Mr. Harvey presented on and led a discussion about greening initiatives in healthcare.

2/10 - PSR Leadership Retreat. National PSR members and the FL Student chapter attended sessions about leadership, fundraising, and gaining members.

3/2013 - SPSR Ethics of International Service Trips Discussion
Hosted faculty from the newly established Patel School of Global Sustainability at USF to lead an interactive discussion on the potential harms that international service trips visit on the local populations they serve, and how to better serve the people our trips are intended to help.

4/12 -  USF Morsani Second Look Organization Fair: Had a booth with recruitment materials about climate change, nuclear weapons, and food responsibility.

4/24  - Gasland: What the Frack? In light of Earth Day, SPSR showed the Gasland documentary and discussed fracking across the U.S and in Florida. The officers also spoke about how it affects patients and what we can do as health care providers. Over 50 people attended.

4/27 - Great American Cleanup Volunteer event. Some of the SPSR members and E-board for SPSR cleaned up garbage along the Courtney Campbell Causeway from 9am-12pm.

5/3 - USF Health End of Year Neon Party. Organizations used the rest of their funds to bring food/beverages for the event.

8/21 - Peace Luncheon. Dr. Ringenburg, one of our advisors and national PSR advocate spoke about nuclear weapons and their relationship with health care. We also commemorated the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Over 50 people attended Peace Luncheon and documentary to commemorate the tragic events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

8/29 - Organization Fair: Had a booth with recruitment materials about climate change, nuclear weapons, and food responsibility.

11/18 - Human Trafficking, Giselle Rodriguez with the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking spoke to students about awareness and how to help identify people that may be subject to trafficking. At least 50 people in attendance.

12/3 - PSR Florida Climate Change and Health Dinner. 3 E-board members in attendance.

12/11 - Environmental Toxins: Dr. Ringenberg, spoke to students about environmental toxins health care providers and patients can be exposed to along with their implications on health. There was a discussion on patient communication and preventative measures to environmental toxin exposure. At least 50 people attended.

Other On-Going Student Activities:


  • Mobile Medical Kids Klinic

By partnering with the Salvation Army, SPSR was able to revive the Mobile Medical Kids Klinic where students can volunteer with a pediatrician and nurse practitioner. Pediatric populations are primarily helped, but also families at high risk can be provided care as well. Students are able to gather histories and physicals in addition to providing patient education on household toxins, child neglect, abuse, etc. The clinic is held twice a month. Board member Jeannette Fleischer, ARNP and Dr. Ringenberg supervise and mentor the students.

  • USF Patel Partnership Elementary Nutrition and Education Program

SPSR, partnered with local student AMA chapter and Wellness Council, to help elementary school students plant a garden of fresh fruits and vegetables and discuss how to tend a garden and the importance of eating well.