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Regional 2 Science Day 2006
Environmental Health for Work and for Life Biographies

Sophie J. Balk, MD

Dr. Balk is a general pediatrician at Pediatric Academic Associates, Children's Hospital at Montefiore, and associate professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY. She received her BA from Cornell University and her MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Balk's academic work has focused on pediatric environmental health for more than a decade. She has been a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Environmental Health (COEH) since 1995, and served as the committee's chair from 1999 through 2003. She is associate editor of the AAP Handbook of Pediatric Environmental Health, published in October 1999, and associate editor of the 2nd edition of the handbook, Pediatric Environmental Health, which was published in 2003. She founded and was the first chair of the Ambulatory Pediatrics Association Special Interest Group on Environmental Health.

Dr. George Gray

On November 1, 2005, Dr. Gray was sworn in to serve as the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Research and Development, which is the 1,900-person, $600 million science and technology arm of the Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Gray was appointed to this position by President George W. Bush and confirmed-by unanimous consent-by the U.S. Senate. Prior to joining EPA, George was Executive Director of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis and a Lecturer in Risk Analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health. In 16 years at HSPH, his researched focused on scientific bases of human health risk assessment and its application to risk policy with a focus on risk/risk tradeoffs in risk management. George taught toxicology and risk assessment to both graduate students and participants in the School's Continuing Professional Education program.

George holds a B.S. degree in biology from the University of Michigan, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in toxicology from the University of Rochester. He and his wife, Ann, and their two children make their home in McLean, Virginia.

Dr. George Lambert, M.D.

Director, Center for Childhood Neurotoxicology and Exposure Assessment Dr. Lambert is the Director of the NIEHS/USEPA Center for Childhood Neurotoxicology and Exposure Assessment, which is located at the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, a jointly sponsored Institute of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. The Center is one of twelve NIEHS/USEPA National Centers for Childhood Environmental Health and Disease Prevention. Dr. Lambert is also an Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Director, Division of Pediatric Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School - Piscataway/New Brunswick. He holds a B.S. in zoology from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana (1968) and an M.D. from the University of Illinois, Chicago, IL (1972).

Recent grants and other outside funding sources include the following:

  • a grant to study the Reproductive Outcomes of the World Trade Center Tragedy (funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences);
  • a Center grant to determine the influences of environmental exposure to neurotoxicants on children neurological health and development with special emphasis on autism and related disabilities (funded jointly by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Environmental Protection Agency);
  • a grant to study the effects of Herbal Phytoestrogens on Prostate Cancer (funded by the Cancer Commission of New Jersey);
  • Effects of eating Crabs with PCBs and Dioxin on Human Health (funded by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Regulations);
  • a grant to study the role of gene polymorphisms in Birth Defects (funded jointly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NJ State Birth Defects Registry);
  • a grant to determine the effects of environmental endocrine disruption on hypospadism and cryptorchidism in children (funded jointly by the Centers for Disease Control and the New Jersey Department of Health); and (7) a grant to study the Presence of Plasticizers in the human newborn (in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Dr. Lambert is currently a member of the Science Advisory Board of the USEPA, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI), UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. He has served as consultant to the WHO, FDA, Institute of Medicine, NIH and several foreign governments. He has conducted environmental studies in children and adults in Canada, and many countries in Asia and Europe as well as several states in the US.

Walter Mugdan

Walter Mugdan is EPA Region 2's Director of the Division of Environmental Planning and Protection (DEPP). He heads a staff of some 200 scientists, engineers and planners managing the Regions air, water and hazardous waste programs. Prior to this appointment, Walter served as Regional Counsel, where since 1995 he headed a staff of 80 attorneys.

For the prior ten years, Walter served as Deputy Regional Counsel. He joined EPA in 1975 as a staff attorney, and subsequently served in various supervisory positions in the Office of Regional Counsel, including Chief of units responsible for Superfund, RCRA, TSCA and the Clean Air Act. In 1998, Walter spent eight months on a temporary detail as Acting Director of Region 2's Division of Enforcement and Compliance Assistance, where he managed a staff of 150 engineers, scientists and field inspectors.

Walter has authored numerous publications on environmental law topics, particularly on hazardous waste regulation and remediation. He is a frequent speaker and lecturer on these subjects. From 1991 to 1997, he was an Adjunct Professor at Pace University Law School, where he taught a course on Superfund law. Since 1992 Walter has been the Director of the U.S. EPAs annual Trial Advocacy Institute. Walter is a member of the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association, Environmental Law Section. He has served as Co-Chair of that Section's Hazardous Site Remediation Committee (and its predecessor) since 1985. He earned his J.D. (1975) and his B.A. (1972) from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Walter lives in Queens, New York with his wife and his fifteen year old daughter.

Dr. Joel Schwartz

Dr. Schwartz is currently a Professor of Environmental Epidemiology, Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Schwartz has held many positions including staff and senior scientist at EPA; a visiting scientist at the Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health,; associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He has received numerous awards including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship Award, and several Environmental Protection Agency Scientific Achievement Awards.

Dr. Richard F. Seegal

Dr. Seegal is a Research Scientist and professor at the Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health and University at Albany, State University of New York. He received his Ph.D. in Physiological Psychology at the University of Georgia. His Post Doctoral Training was at the University of Connecticut in BioBehavioral Sciences. Dr. Seegal's research interest's include the use of in vitro and organotypic culture systems, as well as in vivo techniques, to better understand the neurochemical and neuroimmunological mechanisms responsible for alterations in nervous system function induced by exposure to occupational and environmental neurotoxicants, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides and methylmercury. Major interests include study of the role that dopamine, an important central neurotransmitter, plays in affecting behavior, neuroendocrine function and intra and extra-cellular signaling. Because PCBs reduce brain dopamine concentrations, alter immune function and induce oxidative stress (factors associated with chronic neurodegenerative diseases) we are also investigating the role PCBs and other neurotoxicants play in inducing Parkinson's Disease using both laboratory and epidemiologic approaches.

Alan J. Steinberg

Alan J. Steinberg was sworn in as Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2 on September 7, 2005. Mr. Steinberg's responsibilities are wide-ranging. He manages nearly 1,000 staff from a variety of professions - engineering, hydrogeology, law, chemistry, biology and public outreach, to name just a few. He also oversees a budget of approximately $750 million.

Prior to his EPA appointment, Mr. Steinberg was Regional Advocate, Region 2, for the federal government's Small Business Administration. He served as the Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, was a member of the New Jersey Executive Commission on Ethical Standards, worked for the New Jersey Department of Commerce and Economic Development as an Assistant Commissioner, and acted as Senior Policy Advisor in the New Jersey Assembly Majority Office. He worked as legal counsel for a number of corporations including Stage II Apparel, Gruen Marketing Corporation, Russ Berrie and Company and Block Drug. He began his legal career in the U.S. Navy, serving as a lieutenant in the Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Mr. Steinberg received his bachelor's degree from Northwestern University, J.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School and a Master of Laws in Taxation degree from Temple University Law School. He and his family reside in West Orange, New Jersey.

Issac Weisfuse, MD, MPH

Isaac B. Weisfuse is currently Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. He received his BA and MPH from Columbia University, and his MD from the State University of New York at Downstate. Dr. Weisfuse is board certified in Internal Medicine. He began his public health career at the Centers for Disease Control as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer. Since 1987, he has worked in public health in New York City at the Health Department. His current responsibilities include prevention and control of communicable diseases, including HIV/AIDS, TB, and STDs, as well as emergency preparedness, and public health laboratory services, through oversight of the Division of Disease Control. This Division has approximately 1,500 employees, with an annual budget in excess of $350 million. Dr. Weisfuse has extensive public health emergency experience, and served as agency incident commander during the World Trade Center Crisis. He is in charge of pandemic flu planning for the City of New York.

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