A Human Face on Our Environmental Health Epidemic

This event was a moderated panel featuring Alan Bell, B.B.A. '76, J.D. '79, and panelists from the School of Law, School of Architecture, School of Nursing and Health Studies and the Miller School of Medicine.

The panel discussion focused on the different aspects of environmentally linked disease from a legal, medical, and building perspective. Watch the discusssion in it's entirety in the video below. 

Meet the Panelists

Alan BellAlan Bell, B.B.A. ’76, J.D. ’79, President’s Council Member 

Alan Bell wrote the book POISONED: How a Crime-Busting Prosecutor Turned His Medical Mystery into a Crusade for Environmental Victims, about his struggle with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, an illness caused by exposure to environmental toxins from his office building, and his search for a cure. He founded the Environmental Health Foundation advocating for victims of environmental injury and teamed up with other top lawyers—including those portrayed in the films Erin Brockovich and A Civil Action—to help other environmentally injured victims in court.

To read more about Alan you can visit his website alanbell.me.


Deborah Franqui, Ph.D.School of Architecture: Deborah Franqui PhD, AIA, NCARB Coordinator, Healthcare Design Programs & Lecturer, UM SoA Miami Office Director & Healthcare Planner, Bostwick Design Partnership

Whether it be in the office or in the classroom, Deborah cultivates an inspired team rooted in research yet brimming with innovation. She is Coordinator of the Healthcare Design Programs at the University of Miami’s School of Architecture and Bostwick Design Partnership’s Miami Office Director and Healthcare Planner. With 30 years of experience in the industry and a specialization in healthcare architecture attained at a doctoral level, Deborah has mastered the translation of pre-and-post occupancy evaluation results into design guidelines, which optimize operational efficiency, clinical effectiveness, and user experience. Believing design solutions and best practices are grounded in the rigorous pursuit of research, Deborah continues to blend her practical planning approach with her passion for discovery.

To read more about Deborah you can visit her website deborahfranqui.com.


Anthony AlfieriAnthony Alfieri, Professor of Law and Dean’s Distinguished Scholar; Director for Center for Ethics and Public Service, School of Law

Professor Anthony V. Alfieri is a Professor of Law, Dean's Distinguished Scholar, and founding Director of the Center for Ethics and Public Service, the Historic Black Church Program, and the Environmental Justice Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law. In addition to teaching civil procedure, professional responsibility, and legal malpractice, Professor Alfieri supervises graduate and undergraduate students working on education, research, policy, and advocacy projects in the fields of civil rights and poverty law, community economic development, and environmental justice. He has published more than 80 articles, essays, and editorials on ethics, criminal justice, poverty law, and the legal profession in leading journals and book anthologies, and won numerous local, state, and national awards for his leadership in public service.

*Fitri Nugroho, Daniel Hales, and Kiana Courtney, three students from Professor Alfieri’s class, participated in the panel discussion in his absence.


Ashley FalconAshley Falcon, Ph.D., MPH, Assistant Professor of Public Health, School of Nursing and Health Studies

Ashley Falcon serves as an assistant professor at the University of Miami’s School of Nursing and Health Studies where she teaches courses for the public health and nursing undergraduate programs. As background, Dr. Falcon interned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Hispanic-Serving Health Professions Schools, Inc., studying the public health system and border health issues on the U.S.-Mexico border, after receiving her Master of Public Health in health education from the University of South Florida. She served as a health education administrator and practitioner at the University of Miami’s Herbert Wellness Center for over a decade, and received her doctorate in Epidemiology from the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine where she focused her research on home-based strength training for post-operative breast cancer survivors. She is currently involved in community-based efforts to increase physical activity levels among residents of Little Havana by reshaping the built environment.


Alan BellNaresh Kumar, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Environmental Health in Epidemiology and Public Health, Miller School of Medicine

Naresh Kumar, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Environmental Health in the Department of Public Health Sciences and faculty associate of Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy at the University of Miami. Dr. Kumar’s research and teaching are dedicated towards preventing and managing environmental disease burden. A novel aspect of his research includes engaging individuals and communities in preventive measures through a personalized real-time environmental risk surveillance system. This system monitors and records environmental pollution in real-time and informs the targeted users (such as asthmatic and COPD patients) about hazardous concentrations in real-time through cellphones and web. Dr. Kumar is PI on several federal funded grants from NIH and NSF. His research on air pollution and health has featured in high profile media, such as Science Daily and Wall Street Journal. He currently teaches “Environmental Health” and “Methods of Environmental Epidemiology” in MD/MPH, MPH and Ph.D. programs. He serves as a reviewer for NIH and NSF, and other high impact journals, such as Environment Science and Technology, Environmental Health Perspective and Public Opinion Research.