Board of Directors
Nancy Gibbs, M.D., President | bio
Jimmy Hara, M.D., Vice President | bio
Jose Quiroga, M.D., Treasurer | bio
Neal Baer, M.D. | bio
L. Stephen Coles, M.D., Ph.D. | bio
Robert Dodge, M.D. | bio
Richard J. Jackson, M.D., M.P.H. | bio
Margaret Wacker, M.D. | bio
Rishi Manchanda, M.D., M.P.H. | bio
Felix Aguilar, M.D., M.P.H. | bio
Richard Saxon, M.D., Emeritus
Sol Londe, M.D., Emeritus | in memoriam
Shirley Magidson, Emerita | in memoriam
Dr. Nancy Gibbs moved to California in the early 1980s and joined Physicians for Social Responsibility shortly thereafter; she joined PSR-LA’s board of directors in 1999 and currently serves as Board President. Dr. Gibbs’ social conscience was formed growing-up in south Chicago during the turbulent years of the civil rights struggle. She attended Michigan State University for undergraduate studies and Loyola-Chicago for medical school where she specialized in family practice. She performed her residency at the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Gibbs works at Kaiser Permanente-Baldwin Park in family practice and geriatrics with additional appointments at Glendale Adventist and Westside Neighborhood Clinic. “PSR-Los Angeles is the only organization I know,” Dr. Gibbs said, “that is paying attention to the nuclear threat in an active way. I really appreciate PSR’s perspective on war – how we diagnose war as it affects people’s health. And I like the way PSR frames the issues of the day through the health prism – whether it is the nuclear threat or gun violence or environmental issues. Every day we physicians see people who have been impacted by environmental toxins, such as dirty air impacting patients’ COPD. For this reason, we have a great opportunity to provide education to the public, to legislators, and to physicians who may not realize their medical training has given them a way to think about social issues in an entirely new way.”
Dr. Jimmy Hara has served on the PSR-LA Board of Directors since 1981, including service as Chapter President for 15 years and now Vice President. He has served on the National PSR Board as Pacific Regional Director and has been active with the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). He is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Residency Director Emeritus for the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Family Medicine Residency after having served 25 years as Residency Director.
Dr. Hara is the Lead Physician for Community Benefit for Kaiser Permanente Southern California. He chairs the California Healthcare Workforce Policy Commission for the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Health Professions Education Foundation for the State of California. He has volunteered regularly at the Venice Family Clinic, Saban Free Clinic, Asian Pacific Health Care Venture, UCLA Mobile Clinic, and UCLA Salvation Army Homeless Shelters. He currently serves as Venice Family Clinic Board Chair. Two years ago he launched the Southern California Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Program that affords opportunities for health professional students to provide service to medically underserved communities. He is Medical Co-Director and Chair of their Advisory Board. Doctor Hara’s wife and two sons were start to finish participants of the Great Peace March for Nuclear Disarmament in 1985.
Dr. Jose Quiroga is a cardiologist and co-founder and director of medical services at the Program for Torture Victims (PTV). He serves on the board of PSR National and PSR-LA. He also serves as a vice-president of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT).
Dr. Quiroga worked as a personal physician to a Chilean president, Salvador Allende, before fleeing Chile after the coup d’état in 1973. On September 11, 1973, CIA-backed Chilean military army, led by General Augusto Pinochet, launched a coup against the democratically elected Unidad Popular Government of Salvador Allende. A team of doctors including José Quiroga and a few officials were the only ones to stay with the president at the palace La Moneda. Dr. Quiroga left Chile with his family in 1977 after increasing harassment and threats under the Pinochet regime, and secured a position at UCLA as an associate researcher in public health. He soon began working in close collaboration with a refugee from Argentina, psychologist Ana Deutsch. Together, they co-founded the Program for Torture Victim (PTV) in 1980, and Dr. Quiroga established a medical arm of the program at Venice Family Clinic.
Dr. Quiroga says his previous experiences have exposed him to human rights issues and that “It is not enough to be a practicing physician for money.” Dr. Quiroga urges doctors to get involved in the community and politics of one’s country to impact and to make change in the society. In 2008, his leadership was instrumental in helping PSR-LA successfully pass state legislation condemning medical professionals who participate in torture.
Dr. Neal Baer is Executive Producer of the NBC television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and has served on the PSR-LA board of directors since 2004. Prior to his work on SVU, Dr. Baer was Executive Producer of the NBC series ER. A member of the show’s original staff and a writer and producer on the series for seven seasons, he was nominated for five Emmys as a producer. He is presently writing and producing a six-hour mini-series for HBO on the world AIDS pandemic and the plight of AIDS orphans with Sir Elton John executive producing.
Dr. Baer graduated from Harvard Medical School and completed his internship in Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles. He received the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Scholarship from the American Medical Association as the most outstanding medical student who has contributed to promoting a better understanding of medicine in the media. The American Association for the Advancement of Science selected him as a Mass Media Fellow.
Dr. Baer’s primary medical interests are in adolescent health. He has written extensively for teens on health issues for Scholastic Magazine, covering such topics as teen pregnancy, AIDS, drug and alcohol abuse, and nutrition. Recently, Dr. Baer co-established the Institute for Photographic Empowerment at USC’s Annenberg School of Communications, which links photographic story-telling projects around the world and makes that work available to NGOs and policymakers. Dr. Baer has received numerous awards for his public service efforts in both the entertainment industry and the global health and human rights community.
Dr. L. Stephen Coles is a Co-Founder and Director of the Los Angeles Gerontology Research Group and Director of the Supercentenarian Research Foundation. He is a member of the board of directors of PSR-LA, and has been a member of the organizations since 1980. He served as an Assistant Researcher in the Department of Surgery at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and is currently a Visiting Scholar in the UCLA Department of Computer Science.
Dr. Coles is the author of over 132 scientific papers and holds two patents. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, his Master’s in Mathematics from the Carnegie Institute of Technology, and his Ph.D. in Systems and Communication Sciences from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After attending Stanford University Medical School, Dr. Coles completed his Clinical Internship in OB/GYN at the Jackson Memorial Hospital of the University of Miami School of Medicine. After teaching at UC Berkeley, Dr. Coles served as a Lecturer at UCLA, USC, and CalTech. Recently, the Age Management Medicine Group (AMMG) awarded Dr. Coles with the 2008 Alan P. Mintz, M.D. Award for Clinical Excellence in Age Management Medicine. The award is presented annually to a physician who exemplifies Dr. Mintz’s vision of clinical excellence in patient care, healthy living, quality of life and entrepreneurship in Age Management Medicine.
Dr. Robert Dodge is a family practice physician in Ventura, California. He became active in the peace movement as a college student at the University of Colorado, Boulder in the 1970′s where he majored in molecular, cellular and developmental biology. He went on to receive his M.D. at the University of California at Irvine and completed his residency in Family Medicine at Ventura County Medical Center. Dr. Dodge became active with Beyond War’s Ventura group in the 80′s, and currently sits on the board and serves as a voting member of the renewed international Beyond War group. Since 1985, he has been the president of Ventura County Physicians for Social Responsibility and is an active board member of PSR LA. In 2002, following the release of the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review which advocated policies that could ignite a renewed global nuclear arms race, he began Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions (www.C-P-R.net) as a grassroots coalition. Dr. Dodge currently serves as the group’s co-chairman. He frequently speaks and write on issues related to nuclear security and global sustainability and is a firm believer that the individual can make a difference if only they will.
Richard J. Jackson has done extensive work in the impact of the environment on health, particularly relating to children. Dr. Jackson chaired the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Environmental Health. He did extensive work on pesticides in California, and has also focused on epidemiology, infectious diseases and toxicology. Over the past decade much of his work has focused on how the ‘built environment’ including how architecture and urban planning affect health. He recently served on the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Architects and has written and spoken extensively in the above areas. Currently, Dr. Jackson has been working on policy analyses of environmental impacts on health ranging from toxicology, chemical body burdens, terrorism, sustainability, climate change, urban design and architecture. In addition, he is developing policy analyses in related areas, such as how farm, education, housing, and transportation policies affect health.
In California his work led to the establishment of the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program and state and national laws. These helped reduce risk from dangerous pesticides, especially for farm workers and children. He served in the highest California Public Health position where he advanced the state’s disease preparedness efforts and public health effort to reverse the obesity epidemic. He was instrumental in the re-creation of the California Department of Public Health, separated from the insurance functions from the former Department of Health Services. He served 15 years at the CDC where he established the National Asthma Epidemiology and Control Program and advanced the childhood lead poisoning prevention program. In 2006 he received the Breast Cancer Fund’s Hero Award and at the UC Berkeley 2007 Commencement, the School of Public Health graduate students recognized him as the Distinguished Teacher and Mentor of the Year. He has also served on many environmental and health committees.
Dr. Margaret Wacker joined the board of directors of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles in 2006. Her commitment to peacemaking has very deep roots — During the second world war Dr Wacker’s parents were among the leading scientists in Washington DC. Her chemist mother led the government’s effort to create synthetic rubber, and her father, a theoretical physicist, worked on the Manhattan Project and later helped develop military radar. Margaret attended the University of Colorado as an undergraduate where she studied economics and Russian. In the 1970’s, she relocated to Seattle, attending the University of Washington, where she received advanced degrees in physics and bioengineering, and later a medical degree. From 1982-1989, Margaret performed her residency in brain surgery at Loma Linda University, and, later, a fellowship in neuro-oncology at the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Wacker worked from 1993 to 2000, at King-Drew Medical Center. Here she witnessed the unabated horror of gun violence. King-Drew sees three thousand trauma incidents per year, half of which are penetrating wounds, knife and gun-shot wounds. In the 1990’s Margaret worked with the Los Angeles County Violence Prevention Coalition, Handgun Control and Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles. She spoke at press conferences and testified before city councils. Dr. Wacker is currently a surgeon at Kaiser-Permanente in Fontana. She regularly travels into Los Angeles to participate in PSR programs.
Dr. Rishi Manchanda is a physician and leader in public health activism who joined PSR-LA as a member of the Board of Directors in 2012. As an internist, pediatrician and HIV specialist well-versed in both local and international health issues, he is making bold moves to improve the health of underserved communities by placing a focus on human rights, the social and environmental conditions that make people sick, and improvements to primary care. Dr. Manchanda is the President and Founder of HealthBegins, a startup that provides training and tools to help clinics address patients’ social needs and community factors that drive disease, and is the author of 2013 released TEDbook, “The Upstream Doctors: Medical Innovators Track Sickness to its Source.” He currently serves as the medical director in a clinic for high-utilizing homeless veterans at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and also as Director for Health System Transformation at Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science.
Dr. Manchanda traces his roots in activism to his undergraduate participation in a Peace and Justice Studies program and his days interning at the Lincoln Filene Center, where he explored concepts of civic engagement regarding vulnerable populations. He received his M.D. and M.P.H from Tufts University and completed his residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at UCLA, where he later served on the program’s advisory board. In addition to his roles at UCLA and with PSR-LA, Dr. Manchanda serves on the board of the National Physicians Alliance, is a founding member of the South LA Health and Human Rights Collaborative, and is founder of the Rx Vote Campaign, a nationwide nonpartisan effort to promote civic engagement in health care.
Long time PSR-LA Member Dr. Felix Aguilar has shown tremendous commitment to community health throughout his career. Dr. Aguilar practices Family Medicine in Los Angeles, where he once served as chief medical officer at South Central Family Health, a local federally qualified health center, and as the Director of the Child Health & Disability Prevention Program at the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services. He has also served the community by providing medical care at an urgent care facility, and as the director of a domestic violence shelter. He is currently the President and CEO at UMMA Community Clinic, where he works to provide underserved communities in South Los Angeles with high-quality health and social services through UMMA’s comprehensive family medical care, mental health services, and health education programs.
Dr. Aguilar received his M.D. from the University of California, Irvine, and holds a Masters in Public Health from Tulane University and a Masters in Healthcare Management from Harvard. He was trained in Family Medicine at Harbor-UCLA, and in Preventive Medicine at the California Department of Public Health. Dr. Aguilar is also a Fellow at the American Academy of Family Physicians and at the American College of Preventive Medicine.