Executive Board Members
President: Howard Kessler, MD
Vice President: Todd Sack, MD
Treasurer: Lynn Ringenberg, MD
Secretary: Marybeth Dunn, MPH
Rani S Gereige, M.D., MPH, FAAP
Director of Medical Education
Miami Children’s Hospital
Clinical Professor, Department 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
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
Donald M. Axelrad, Ph.D.
Dr. Axelrad came to Florida A&M University, College of Pharmacy, Institute of Public Health, as an Assistant Professor in 2013, and is now up for promotion to Associate. He teaches Environmental Health and Environmental Toxicology, and is involved in research on exposure to mercury by women of childbearing age, and lead exposure in children.
In recent years Dr. Axelrad has more heavily focused on children’s exposure to the toxic metal lead, sources, effects, and means of source reduction, having recognized that excessive lead exposure in children is more prevalent than mercury exposure, and that as a professor at an HBCU there are significant socioeconomic and racial disparities in children’s lead exposure to be examined.
As well, as a consequence of his lengthy career in environmental health science, Dr. Axelrad is familiar with a breadth of topics in this area including climate change, sustainable development, various toxic chemicals, and a recent change of pace, global decline of insects; causes and public health consequences.
He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, a Master of Science degree in Environmental & Industrial Health from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a Ph.D. in Marine Science from the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia.
Howard Kessler, MD
Howard Kessler has lived in Florida for over 34 years. He spent his childhood and teen years in and around the marshlands of the south shore of Long Island in the state of New York. He holds a B. S. degree in chemistry, an M.A. degree in Education, and an M.D. degree. He practiced orthopedic surgery for over 40 years years as a board certified orthopedist and was Chief of Orthopedics at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Although retired, he still conducts volunteer clinics in Tallahassee for the needy. Dr. Kessler is very involved politically at the national, state, and local levels. At the national level, he served on the National Association of Counties Environmental, Energy, and Land Use Steering Committee. At the State level, he served on The Florida Association of Counties Growth and Environmental Steering Committee and the Health and Human Resources Committee. Locally, he served as Vice-Chairman of the Capital Region Planning Transportation Agency, Chairman of the Wakulla County Board of County Commissioners (serving as a Wakulla County Commissioner for 12 years), and Chairman of the Board of the Wilderness Coast Public Libraries. He and his wife, Anne Van Meter, became involved in Wakulla County politics after witnessing the destruction of local wetlands. They are also very involved in many of the area’s clubs and organizations and have interests in running, biking, boating, fishing,` and gardening. He is a member of the Patrons Board of the School of Theater at FSU and a board member of the FSU Coastal Marine Lab.
Ron Saff, M.D.
Asthma & Allergy Specialist
2300 Centerville Road
Tallahassee, FL 32308
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 lifelong environmentalist and activist on issues that damage public health, like fracking, coal ash and biomass.
Tampa Bay Area
Lynn Ringenberg, MD
Treasurer, PSR Florida; President, PSR National
University of South Florida
College of Medicine, Pediatrics
Tampa, FL 33681
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 School of Medicine. PSR’s work in Florida focuses primarily on environmental toxics, coal-fired power plant pollution/coal ash, climate change and health and the effects from nuclear radiation and waste. Dr. Ringenberg is president of national PSR in Washington, D.C.
Marybeth (Palmigiano) Dunn is the former Chapter Director for PSR/Florida. In this role she managed 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 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.
She received her Master’s Degree in Environmental Public Health from Boston University in 1999.
Todd Sack, MD
1820 Barrs Street, Ste. 400
Jacksonville, Florida 32204
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.
West Palm Beach Area
Ankush K. Bansal, MD, FACP, SFHM
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Hospitalist, Internist, Telemedicine
Voluntary Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine – Florida International University, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Dr. Bansal was raised in northern Virginia outside Washington, DC. He attended the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology in Alexandria, VA followed by a B.S. Biology degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. He completed his medical degree from Creighton University in Omaha, NE and his residency in Internal Medicine at Christiana Care Health System in Delaware. He has a Certificate in Climate Change and Health Communication from the Yale University School of Public Health.
He has worked as a hospitalist since 2007 throughout the country. He works part-time in telemedicine, utilization review, and medical expert. He is a former Clinical Faculty member at the University of Miami and currently Voluntary Clinical Faculty at Florida International University. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and in Lifestyle Medicine.
He is involved with multiple social, scientific, medical, and environmental organizations. He serves on the Board and as the Vice President of the Disaster Accountability Project in Bethesda, MD. He also serves on the Boards of the Florida Chapter of the American College of Physicians, Florida Medical Association, and the national and Florida boards of the Forensic Expert Witness Association. Finally, he serves as the Associate Member Representative to the General Assembly of the World Medical Association and is the co-chair of Florida Clinicians for Climate Action.
Dr. Bansal’s clinical interests include evidence-based, cost-effective care through the Right Care Alliance of the Lown Institute, lifestyle medicine, and primary prevention of non-communicable chronic diseases. His other interests include eco-minded travel, environmental justice, politics, and climate change and health communication and education. He is a published author and former cancer researcher. Finally, he has been interviewed by CNBC, USA Today, and other media companies.
His hope for the future is lifestyle changes through education, coaching, and policy changes to concomitantly benefit personal health, population health, and the environment.
Lonnie Draper, M.D. CMO
President, PSR Florida
3411 Capital Medical Blvd.
Tallahassee, Fl. 32308
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.