About Us

Who We Are:

Florida Clinicians for Climate Action (FCCA) is a coalition of health professionals and health organizations concerned about the impacts of climate change on Florida residents, especially those in vulnerable populations. FCCA was founded in response to what health professionals are already experiencing in patient care settings throughout Florida.
 

Our Purpose:

The purpose of Florida Clinicians for Climate Action is to engage Florida health professionals and health organizations in public and policymaker education around the health effects of climate change in Florida and nationally, to move public opinion, and advocate for policy change to support the shift to a healthy and sustainable future.
 

Our Mission:

Engage – health professionals in the climate-health discussion. Recruit health professionals to learn about climate, understand the risks, and advocate for solutions.
Educate – health professionals, their patients and policymakers about the health risks of climate change and the health benefits of climate solutions.
Advocate – for policies that support a healthy sustainable future. Advocate for solutions that incorporate economic and social justice, and protect the health of communities of color and vulnerable populations.
 

Our Team:

FCCA Steering Committee Members:
Co-Chair – Cheryl Holder, MD, FACP
Co-Chair – Ankush Bansal, MD, FACP, FACPM, SFHM, MRCP (London)
Carol Lindsey, MSN, ARNP, FNP-BC, FAANP
Barbara Nabrit-Stephens, MD, MBA, FAAP
Phyllis Rhymes-Johnson, DHS, ARNP, MSN, CCRN
Todd L Sack, MD, FACP
Catherine Toms, MD, MPH
Patrise Tyson, MSN, FNP-BC
Amy Vittor, MD, PhD, MHS

Staff & Senior Advisors:
Senior Advisor --  Mona Sarfaty, MD MPH FAAFP
Senior Advisor – Mark A. Mitchell, MD, MPH, FACPM
Program Manager – Melissa Baldwin
 

Cheryl Holder, MD, FACP, is Co-Chair of Florida Clinicians for Climate Action. Dr. Holder is board-certified in Internal Medicine and has dedicated her medical career to serving underserved populations. As President of the Florida State Medical Association – which is the state affiliate of the National Medical Association – Dr. Holder works with nine local Florida Medical Societies to address health disparities and increase the viability of African American physicians. Since 2009, Dr. Holder has served as a faculty member at Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. Her focus is on teaching medical students about working in underserved communities and promoting diversity in the health professions through pipeline programs.
 

Ankush K. Bansal, MD, FACP, FACPM, SFHM, MRCP (London), based in Palm Beach Gardens, is a hospitalist and telemedicine physician board-certified in Internal Medicine and Lifestyle Medicine. He serves on leadership at the American Medical Association, Florida Medical Association, and American College of Physicians. He is passionate about the interlink of lifestyle medicine, particularly food choices, waste, agricultural policy, and population inequities have a direct interaction with climate change. He works on climate and health issues with the United Nations, MedAct (UK), Salzburg Global (Austria), Planetary Health Alliance, World Medical Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Florida Clinicians for Climate Action, and Climate Reality Project.
 

Carol Lindsey, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, FAANP, is a Family Nurse Practitioner. Her career includes forty-years of nursing and public health experience in which she was dedicated to improving the health of underserved and vulnerable populations. Carol also served 30 years as an Active Duty Commissioned Officer in the United States Public Health Service (PHS). She is now an active member of ANHE, Florida Clinicians for Climate Action, and The Cleo Institute. Carol is semi-retired and is educating others on climate change and its impact on health, a subject she is very passionate about.

 

Phyllis Rhymes-Johnson, DHS, APRN, MSN, BSN, is a graduate of Miami Jackson High School (1973); Miami Dade College (AA 1974, ASN 1978), University of Miami (BSN 1983), Barry University (MSN 1989, ARNP certification 1993) and Nova University (Doctor of Heath Science 2008). Dr. Rhymes-Johnson has served multiple roles at Jackson Memorial Hospital, (1978 – 2010) including but not limited to clinical bedside nurse; Associate Head Nurse; In-patient Cardiac Rehab Coordinator; Educator; Case Manager; Pacemaker Nurse; Research Coordinator, Cardiac Rhythm Management and Cardiac Device Specialist Associate, certified by the Heart Rhythm Society. Dr. Rhymes-Johnson is the Parliamentarian for the Miami Chapter Black Nurses Association (BNA) and assists with the coordination of Community Education events which targets healthcare issues of underserved populations and serves on the American Heart Association (AHA) Health Equity Committee as the Miami Chapter BNA representative, assisting with AHA outreach projects. In addition, she is a partner with the Florida State Medical Association, Covid-19 Task Force; Florida Clinicians for Climate Action (FCCA) Steering Committee Member, FCCA General Committee Member, and FCCA Education Sub-Committee Member.
 

Catherine Toms, MD, MPH, is a public health-focused physician. She holds an undergraduate degree in Zoology from Duke University. She received her medical degree from Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany, and practiced in Family Medicine in Norway. She earned a Master of Public Health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2019 and recently moved to South Florida. She has experience building programs to reduce maternal and infant mortality. Catherine advocates for policies promoting equitable, resilient communities and informs the public and healthcare providers about the health effects of climate change. She is especially interested in the health impacts of extreme heat on vulnerable populations.
 

Patrise Tyson, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, is a Research Nurse who serves as sub-investigator on early phase clinical trials at Syneos where she assists in managing the day to day responsibilities for clinical trial conduct. Patrise received her MSN in 2013 from Florida International University and her BSN in 2008 from Marian University. She has been inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. She is the current President of the Miami Chapter-Black Nurses Association, Inc., where she has been active in educating the community on health topics disproportionately impacting minorities and educating minorities regarding the importance of minority participation clinical trials.
 

Mark A. Mitchell, MD, MPH, FACPM, is a professor of Climate Change, Energy, and Environmental Health Equity at George Mason University. He served as the health director for the City of Hartford a city that is 84% Black and Latino, and the Deputy Director for the City of Kansas City, MO. Dr. Mitchell started the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice, which provided community education on environmental justice issues and health. He has worked on policy at the state and local level in Connecticut. His recent speaking engagements include the October 2018 Conference of the Southeast Florida Climate Compact, along with Dr. Cheryl Holder.
 

Mona Sarfaty, MD, MPH, FAAFP, is the Director of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health based within the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. The Consortium was established after several years of collaboration with medical societies to assess physician attitudes and experience regarding the health effects of climate change and to increase engagement of physicians and their associations on the issues of climate change, sustainability, and clean power. As a family medicine professor and physician for over 30 years, Dr. Sarfaty has engaged in research and teaching focused on primary care, cancer screening, and public policy, including the health effects of climate change. Dr. Mona Sarfaty has worked for Senator Kennedy on Capitol Hill and has published articles and book chapters on climate change and health.
 

STAFF:
Melissa Baldwin
is the Program Manager for Florida Clinicians for Climate Action. Mrs. Baldwin has worked on climate change issues in Florida for over 15 years, with experience advocating for local, state, and federal climate policies. Melissa has worked with over a dozen non-profit climate and clean energy education groups to enhance public awareness of key climate threats such as sea-level rise, hurricanes, and public health threats. Melissa specializes in media relations, public education, communications, and public policy. In 2008, Melissa successfully lobbied for House Bill HB 7135, which passed under the Charlie Crist administration as one of the most progressive climate and energy policies in the Southeast at that time. In 2006, Melissa was named one of the Top “30 Under 30” young professionals by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. Melissa’s passion for climate change dates back to college, where she served as a media relations intern for the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School.

Melissa Baldwin 
Program Manager 
Tampa, FL 
(813) 672-1368
fccastaff@ms2ch.org

Our History:

The Florida Clinicians for Climate Action was formed in January of 2018 at the Florida Climate & Health Equity Symposium, which was a collaboration between the National Medical Association, the W. Montague Cobb/NMA Health Institute and the Florida state chapter of the National Medical Association and The Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health.

The 2018 Climate & Health Equity Symposium educated over 100 clinicians, primarily physicians of color, on addressing the health effects of climate change in low-income Floridians. At the conclusion of the symposium, there was a breakout session, where a group of about 30 physicians agreed to create Florida Clinicians for Climate Action and issued the Tampa Declaration on Climate & Health. The Tampa Declaration on Climate and Health is a call to action for Florida health professionals to protect public health from climate change impacts.