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Steering Committee

Miami area:

Rani S Gereige, M.D., MPH, FAAP
Director of Medical Education
Miami Children's Hospital
Clinical Professor, Dept. of Pediatrics
Florida International University
Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
3100 SW 62nd Avenue
Miami, FL  33155-3009
Ph: (305) 662-8327
Fax: (305) 669-6531
Rani.Gereige@mch.com

Dr. Gereige received his MD Degree from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. He then completed a three year Pediatric Residency training and one year as chief resident at the University of South Florida (USF)/All Children's Hospital in Tampa Bay, Florida. In 1998 he completed a Masters Degree in Public Health (Maternal and Child Health) at USF College of Public Health. While at USF, Dr. Gereige joined the newly established PSR Tampa Bay Chapter at that time. He assumed the positions of Pediatric Clerkship Director, Pediatric Residency Program Associate Director, and General Academic Pediatric Fellowship Director prior to moving to Miami. Currently he is the Director of Medical Education at Miami Children's Hospital and holds a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics Faculty Appointment at Florida International University College of Medicine.

Jefry L. Biehler, MD, MPH
Chair, Department of Pediatrics
Assistant Dean for Education
Florida International University
Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Miami Children’s Hospital ER
11200 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33199
(305) 348-0570
Jefry.Biehler@mch.com

Tallahassee area:

Lonnie Draper, M.D. CMO
Avocare Health
Vice-President PSR/Florida
3411 Capital Medical Blvd.
Tallahassee, Fl. 32308
850-702-0085 Office
ldraper@avocarehealth.com

Dr. Lonnie Draper is CEO of Avocare, a medical software and hardware company that invented the ATM that dispenses prescription medications directly to patients and created the software that operates RHIOs.  After producing his first medical software project in 1982, Dr. Draper has maintained an expertise in medical information management for the last 25 years. Dr. Draper is a practicing emergency physician at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and a professor of Emergency Medicine for the Florida State University College of Medicine. As Vice President of Emergency Medicine at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, he implemented many information management solutions, including a full suite of Emergency Department software developed by his company Innovations, LLC. He developed the HEIC disaster plan for a major medical institution while directing the Leon county EMS system. He obtained his M.D. from the University of Miami, and completed a residency in Internal medicine at a Johns Hopkins Affiliate, Sinai Hospital, in Baltimore.
 
Ron Saff, M.D.
Asthma & Allergy Specialist
2300 Centerville Road
Tallahassee, FL 32308
850-386-6680
ronsaff@aol.com

Dr. Ron Saff is a Board Certified Internal Medicine and Allergy/Immunology specialist in private practice, with special certification as a Clinical Research Investigator and Certified Physician Investigator. Ron did his postgraduate training in Internal Medicine at Presbyterian University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia and Fellowship in Allergy-Immunology at Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals. Ron was a Health and Environment Columnist for the Tallahassee Democrat from 1999 until 2007, and continues to contribute his knowledge and expertise on environmental issues to the newspaper. Ron is a life-long environmentalist and activist on issues that damage public health, like fracking, coal ash and biomass.

Tampa Bay Area:

Jeannette Fleischer, ARNP
Director, Ronald McDonald Care Mobile
USF Health, Pediatrics-5th Floor
2 Tampa General Circle
Tampa, FL 33606
813-259-8752
813-340-8969-cell
jfleisch@health.usf.edu

Jeannette is an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) with, special certification in pediatric nursing (CPNP) at USF Health. She is program director of the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, which provides medical and dental care to underserved, undocumented and homeless children and adolescents in the Tampa Bay area. She also provides care in the USF Healthy Weight Clinic, working with children and their families with obesity and related issues. She has held numerous nursing positions in outpatient medicine, pediatric oncology and in the neonatal intensive care unit. Prior to nursing, Jeannette held various administrative positions while living in New York.  She also worked in the Hillsborough County School System as a nurse practitioner before becoming director of the RMCM. Jeannette has a passion to provide care for underserved, undocumented and migrant populations to ensure they receive quality medical care. Her work with PSR/Florida focuses on environmental toxins and air pollution, which disproportionately harms the population of kids she cares for.
 
Thomas Mason, PhD
Professor
USF College of Public Health
Environmental and Occupational Health
813-974-6675-office
813-974-4719-fax

Dr. Mason was commissioned in the U.S. Public Health Service in 1967, and served his first tour of active duty at the CDC  ( 1967-1969). He was attached to the Community Pesticides Program. This was Dr. Mason’s introduction to Environmental Medicine and Toxicology. He served Intermittent Tours of Active Duty at the rank of CAPT ( O-6)  from 1987 – 2001 at the NCI/NIH, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, and post 9/11 was activated to serve at the CDC, National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry ( 2001 - 2010 ). Over these 40 plus years, Dr. Mason has come to be recognized internationally in his chosen field of Environmental Epidemiology. He led the team at the National Cancer Institute, which published our nation’s first ‘Atlas of Cancer Mortality for U.S. Counties’. This contribution to our understanding of the role that environmental exposures/contaminants play in disease prompted a number of countries worldwide to pursue research to determine ‘local determinants’ of disease(s). He has served, and continues to serve on scientific advisory boards addressing environmental concerns. Currently, Dr. Mason  co-directs a Homeland Security Medical Executive Course taught in collaboration with the Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute, Fort Sam Houston, Texas and Director of the Global Center for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Action at USF.

Ben Pollara, MD, PhD
Professor emeritus
University of South Florida
College of Medicine, Pediatrics
2 Tampa General Circle, 5th Floor
Tampa, Florida 33606
813-259-8754
bpollara@health.usf.edu

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Pollara was appointed as the John and Aliese Price Professor of Pediatrics and Division Chief of General Pediatrics at USF in December 1993.  Served as Interim Chairman USF pediatrics 1999-2000 and appointed as Chief of the Division of Clinical Research from November 2005 until July 2008. Prior to coming to USF, Dr. Pollara was Chairman of Pediatrics and Vice President for Research at the Albany Medical College and Medical Center from 1969-1993. He received his MD and PhD from the University of Minnesota, where he also completed his pediatric residency and immunology fellowship. Dr. Pollara’s academic and research interested have been in vaccinology, vaccine clinical trials, HIV, recurrent infections and medical student and resident education.  Ben retired August 2010 and appointed Professor Emeritus University of South Florida College of Medicine.
 
Lynn Ringenberg, MD
President, PSR Florida
Professor emeritus
University of South Florida
College of Medicine, Pediatrics
POB 13901
Tampa, FL 33681
www.psrflorida.org
ring46@me.com
813-444-2750

Dr. Ringenberg is an Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Her academic career spanned 20 years at USF with 13 years in private practice. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska, Graduate studies in Biochemistry at the University of Maryland, Medical School at the University of Nebraska and residency training in pediatrics at the University of Florida, Gainesville and Bowman Gray in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She received a Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, 2001 and retired from the Army in 2003 in the rank of colonel. Dr. Ringenberg’s interests and passions lie in medical education and underserved healthcare. She co-founded Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Tampa Bay in 2008, expanding to PSR/Florida in 2012. She is the faculty advisor for the Student Chapter of PSR @ the University of South Florida Morsani Scholl of Medicine. PSR’s work in Florida focuses primarily on the gravest threats to public health from environmental toxics, air/water pollution from coal-fired power plants, coal ash and hydraulic fracturing (fracking), climate change, nuclear radiation and waste storage and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Our mantra is to “prevent what can’t be cured”. Dr. Ringenberg is on the national board of PSR and recently appointed to the 2013 Technical Advisory Group of the Florida BRACE Project (Building Resilience Against Climate Effects) supported by the CDC.

Marybeth Dunn, MPH
Chapter Director
POB 13901
Tampa, FL 33681
www.psrflorida.org
Marybeth@psrflorida.org
813-444-2750

Marybeth (Palmigiano) Dunn is the Chapter Director for PSR/Florida. In this role she manages the Chapter's program and policy activities including; ensuring proper safeguards for hydraulic fracking and the proper disposal of coal ash, as well as promoting safe energy programs and the reduction of environmental toxins. She has worked closely with the PSR/Florida board to grow the chapter from the Tampa Bay area to a statewide organization.

For the prior 14 years she has worked as a researcher, educator and advocate on issues and policies regarding environmental chemical exposures and their effect on child development.  She was part of the original research team that developed PSR's Pediatric Environmental Health Toolkit and the associated Training Program.  She also developed the Safe and Healthy Children Initiative; a pilot program based on the Pediatric Environmental Health Toolkit that addresses health disparities among children of migrant and seasonal farm workers.
 
Ms. Dunn serves as the state liaison for Safe Chemicals Healthy Families, a coalition representing more than 11 million individual across the nation working to protect families from exposure to toxic chemicals by updating our national chemicals policy legislation. She received her Master’s Degree in Environmental Public Health from Boston University in 1999

Jacksonville Area:

Todd Sack, MD
Borland-Groover Clinic
1820 Barrs Street, Ste. 400
Jacksonville, Florida 32204
904-388-9361

Dr. Sack is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, with special interest in colorectal and pancreatic tumors, as well as viral hepatitis. Dr. Sack graduated from Yale, and then received his MD from the University of California, SF School of Medicine. Dr. Sack is Chair of the Environmental & Health Section of the Florida Medical Association (FMA). Todd authored and manages a free website (mygreendoctor.org) to help medical offices save money and make their communities healthier by adopting and teaching wise environmental practices. Todd is a board member, and past president of “We Care Jacksonville, Inc.”, a network of 12 medical clinics, hundreds of volunteer health professionals, hospitals, government agencies, and charities working together to provide health care to uninsured people in Jacksonville, Florida. The We Care clinics provided $12 million in free health care in 2012. Todd is also involved with the Yulee Historic Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving and preserving the natural environment and historic resources in the Jacksonville area.

Atlanta, GA Area:

Yolanda Whyte, MD

Dr. Yolanda Whyte is a primary care pediatrician, environmental health expert and global humanitarian. She serves as President/CEO of Dr. Yolanda Whyte Pediatrics, based in Atlanta, GA. In response to the uncontrolled increase in chronic diseases in children, and associated toxic environmental exposures, Dr. Whyte expanded the scope of her practice to focus on prevention through advocacy work involving a combination of community outreach, education, medical testimony and lobbying.

Working with groups like the National Medical Association, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Physicians for Social Responsibility and others, Dr. Whyte meets with policymakers at the White House, EPA, Congress, state legislatures, and city halls across the country to translate environmental health science, research and patient experiences so that our laws and public policies have pediatric, health, safety and environmental considerations.

She also incorporates environmental screening and education into her practice of medicine, and works with the National Medical Association in a “train the trainer” role to educate physicians across the country on identifying environmental hazards and reducing health impacts that contribute to health disparities and environmental injustices.

Dr. Whyte empowers communities with information, resources and tools through speaking engagements at schools, universities, nonprofits, churches and neighborhood associations, to ensure that diverse sectors of the community have access to information that will improve their quality of life and that of future generations.

In the Spotlight

  • The Need for Chemical Reform
    PSR/Florida has been advocating for toxic chemical reform for years, providing education and resources to healthcare professionals and the public and briefing members of Congress.