PO Box 4744
Portland, ME 04112
Board of Directors
Sydney Sewall, MD, Treasurer & Interim President
Chelsea Robbins, Vice President
Doug Dransfield, MD, Secretary
Geoffrey Gratwick, MD
James Maier, MD
Peter Millard, MD, PhD
Janis Petzel, MD
Peter Wilk, MD
1981: Concerned about the threat of nuclear war during the Cold War, Drs Victor Skorapa, Steve Sokol, and others organized the first of three PSR chapters in Maine.
1982: PSR Southern Maine, under the leadership of Dr Don Belmont, helped organize Ground Zero events in Portland.
1983: In response to Reagan’s Crisis Relocation Plan that would evacuate all Boston area residents to Maine in the event of a nuclear attack, PSR Maine helped Rep. Tom Andrews create a Maine Civil Defense Preparedness Task Force. PSR member Dr Jim Maier served on the Task Force as it held public hearings around the state and exposed the myth of nuclear war survivability. Maine’s Governor rejected federal Crisis Relocation Planning funds and ultimately the entire national relocation plan was scrapped.
1984: Four years of citizen diplomacy began with a trip by PSR Southern Maine leader Dr Peter Wilk to the USSR to meet with Soviet physicians, culminating with two delegations of Soviet physicians visiting Bangor, Lewiston, and Portland in 1986 and 1988.
1986: PSR Eastern Maine, under the leadership of Drs Geoff Gratwick, Ed Harrow, and Janet Ordway, organized a “Bombs Away” conference at which keynote speakers Dr Bernard Lown (who helped in the formation of PSR National) and Jonathan Schell addressed more than 800 attendees.
1989: PSR Maine, in coalition with the Maine Peace Campaign and Maine Veterans for Peace, organized and won a statewide referendum to curtail planned cruise missile test flights over Maine. Bob Stein and Dr Peter Wilk were instrumental in the effort.
1989, 1990, and 1991: Hiroshima Day Family Peace Fairs, the brainchild of PSR Maine member Dr Neil Korsen, brought hundreds of people together in Deering Oaks Park for commemoration events.
1988, 1989, and 1990: PSR Maine held Mark Kjeldgaard Memorial events, featuring Father Robert Drinan, Apollo 9 Astronaut Rusty Schweickart, and the Surry Opera Company.
1990s: As part of a long-term national campaign, PSR Maine focused intensively on achieving a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. President Clinton signed the treaty in 1996.
1995: PSR Maine’s environmental public health program began with a symposium including Dr Jennifer Leaning from Boston, Brownie Carson from NRCM, Ed Miller from the American Lung Association of Maine, and Deb Deatrick from the Maine Public Health Association.
1997: PSR Maine’s domestic violence prevention program began, spearheaded by Dr Daniel Oppenheim, ultimately evolving into the current Domestic Violence Response Initiative (DVRI). For 10 years DVRI provided more than 1,000 Maine health care providers with training on how to safely and effectively perform routine domestic violence screening.
1998 to 2000: In a coalition effort with Peace Action Maine and others, PSR Maine led the Maine Abolition 2000 Campaign which led more than 50 Maine cities and towns to endorse an international treaty to abolish all nuclear weapons.
2000: With Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence, PSR Maine holds the “Working Together to Reduce Gun Violence” conference, featuring trauma surgeon Dr Linda Erwin.
2000: Death by Degrees report released, believed to be the first climate change call-to-action published by a Maine organization.
2003: PSR Maine led formation of the Maine Win Without War Coalition, together with the Maine Council of Churches and Peace Action Maine.
2002 to 2005: In a sustained joint effort with the Maine Council of Churches and Peace Action Maine, PSR Maine’s Dr Peter Wilk ultimately persuaded Sen Collins to vote against the nuclear “Bunker Buster” bomb, her first vote opposing the Bush administration’s nuclear weapons policy.
2004: Janey Morse joins the PSR Maine staff as Domestic Violence Prevention Director.
2003 & 2005: With Executive Director Raina Rippel as the central organizer, PSR Maine led a broad coalition including NRCM, MPHA, the Bureau of Health, the Environmental Health Strategy Center, and ALA Maine to hold two “Making the Connection” environmental public health conferences.
2006: PSR Maine staff and members joined with the Maine Chapter of the Sierra Club’s Joan Saxe, the Maine Council of Churches’ Andy Burt and ALA Maine’s Norm Anderson to create Maine Partners for Cool Communities, a grassroots organizing effort to engage Maine citizens in climate change mitigation.
2007: The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine released Body of Evidence: A Study of Pollution in Maine People. A founding member of the Alliance, PSR Maine contributed research from environmental health consultant Dr Rick Donahue and Executive Director Melissa Boyd to the study.
2008: With the help of legislative testimony from PSR Maine member Dr Lani Graham, aggressive organizing by Melissa Boyd, the vocal support of dozens of PSR members, and the political leadership of Hannah Pingree, the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine successfully urged Maine legislators to pass LD 2048, An Act to Protect Children and the Environment from Toxic Chemicals in Toys and Children’s Products (known as the Kid Safe Products Act or KSPA).
2009: A thirteen-member board of directors, led by Co-Presidents Drs Lani Graham and Daniel Oppenheim, vow to carry on the legacy of Dr Peter Wilk as he steps down as long-time PSR Maine chapter President to become Executive Director of PSR National. Hires new ED Paul Santomenna.
2011: PSR Maine undergoes strategic planning narrowing focus to toxics, climate change, and nuclear weapons work. Transfers DVRI project which has trained over 1,000 Maine physicians. Hires new ED Karen A D’Andrea.
2013: Builds effective grassroots movement through social media work, creates new Climate Change Committee, holds annual dinner and honors Environmental Health Strategy Center and Dr Doug Dransfield with Senator Angus King as guest speaker.
2014: With a statewide coalition, contributed to biomonitoring study of phthalates and released the report Hormones Disrupted: Toxic Phthalates in Maine People.
2015: After two years in the making, PSR Maine releases the updated version of our ground-breaking report Death by Degrees: The health crisis of climate change in Maine. The report was disseminated to all Maine’s policy makers. Personal meetings were held with our federal delegation and Maine’s governor.
2016: Held successful public education seminars with our toxics and climate presentations in libraries and other venues (and by webinar) in Maine. Presented to the annual U Maine Sustainability + Water Conference, the annual meeting of the Maine Osteopathic Association, and the 1st Annual International Climate Risk Workshops. Held a unique and first of its kind event in Maine that raised awareness about the connection between what we eat and climate change (Taste for Change)
2017: Worked with our partners to stop an attempt to overturn pesticide bans in Maine municipalities. Held another successful Food for Good event highlighting the connection between what we eat and climate change. Contributed a chapter to a book based on our Death by Degrees presentation – Demystifying Climate Change was published at the end of 2017.
2018: Worked with partners to defeat another attempt to roll back pesticide bans in Maine and stop new ones from being implemented. Brought Dr Philip Landrigan to Maine to talk about toxics and his new book Children and Environmental Toxins: What Everyone Needs to Know, co-sponsored and hosted by the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the University of New England. Launched the Back from the Brink campaign in Maine with 20 organizations endorsing including faith and medical organizations.
2019: Successfully urged the City of Portland to pass a Back from the Brink resolution. Death by Degrees presentation published in another book – The Perils of Climate Risk: The People and the Science. Maine Senate passes Back from the Brink resolution.
2020: Published Pesticides in Maine: A growing public health concern that highlights public opinion polling finding that a strong majority of Maine voters (72%) are worried about their children’s and pets’ health from exposures to pesticides, and an equally strong majority (71%) say they support bans on pesticides that are applied only for cosmetic purposes.
2021: Successfully urged, with the help with our newest board member and former Maine State Senator, Dr Geoff Gratwick, the City of Bangor to pass a Back from the Brink resolution.