2018-2019, Deputy Chair, Public Health & Social Services Committee
Over the past three decades, as a pediatrician and bioethicist, I have served Ulster County and the Catskills by focusing my work at the level of public health and the environment. I played an important role in achieving New York State’s pioneering ban on fracking, providing summaries of breaking research to the Departments of Environmental Conservation and Public Health. With local and regional environmental advocates, we brought the power of the people to Albany, with amazing success!
In Ulster County, I have promoted healthy, active lifestyles for children and families, and I help to introduce and expand fun, creative, and sustainable forms of regional economic development, such as film production and trail development. I have focused on developing new recreational opportunities, such as the Ashokan Rail Trail, which can bring exciting new economic growth.
I seek consensus solutions and want to see Shandaken, Olive, Denning, and Hardenburg benefit from the exciting energy that is beginning to flow in the Hudson River Valley and Catskills, an energy that enriches our lives while encouraging effective management of our natural resources. If we can bring more to those who have less, we can freely celebrate our shared good fortune!
In addition to serving in the Ulster County Legislature, I work in Woodstock as Catskill Mountainkeeper’s Senior Research Director, focusing on issues related to the health impacts of fracking and fossil fuel infrastructure and spearheading Mountainkeeper’s initiatives in the Catskill High Peaks region. I majored in philosophy and theology at Saint Louis University and graduated with honors, going on to pursue my Medical Degree, along with a Masters of Studies in Law, from Yale. Following a residency in pediatrics and fellowship training in clinical research design, I worked at the Hastings Center, writing and teaching on diverse topics in bioethics. I came to the Catskills in 1989 to pursue residential training at Zen Mountain Monastery and in 2003 became Executive Director of Tibet Aid in Woodstock. In 2009 I founded Catskills Live! Trails and Wilderness Association, and in 2011, I cofounded Concerned Health Professionals of New York. Currently, I sit on the Steering Committees of Concerned Health Professionals of New York and the New York Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility. I serve as an officer for the Catskill Heritage Alliance, the Shandaken Community Gardens, and the Friends of the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail, and I volunteer as staff at the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center. Before entering the Legislature, I served on Ulster County’s Tourism Advisory Board and Trails Advisory Committee.