Donna B. Gerstle is Director of the Center for Environmental Science and the Principal Investigator of the Staten Island Breast Cancer Research Initiative (SIBCRI) at the College of Staten Island/CUNY. In addition to her work as the Deputy Coordinator of the Environmental Science Master’s Program and lecturing in the departments of Physics, Environmental Science, and Mathematics, Professor Gerstle is a former New York State Commissioner and Chair of the Interstate Environmental Commission. Dr. Gerstle holds a B.S. from Seton Hall University, an M.S. and an M.A. from the College of Staten Island/CUNY in Environmental Science and Environmental Education as well as a J.D. from New York Law School.
For more than 30 years, Dr. Gerstle has been studying environmental quality in New York, focusing on environmental carcinogens in the air and in water and the ways in which they affect the health of New Yorkers. Initially, her work focused on the high rates of cancer in its elation to air pollution among Richmond County residents. During her investigation, she discovered that Staten Island has had the highest breast cancer death rates among the five boroughs of New York City for the past 50 years.
Today, Dr. Gerstle leads a team of multi-disciplinary researchers and scientists investigating the causative factors as to why Staten Island women have such high breast cancer death and incidence rates. Because Staten Island is a population at risk, she developed and continues to execute a prevention education program for health care providers, community-based organizations, and educational institutions to improve health outcomes surrounding breast cancer.
For decades, Dr. Gerstle has lent her scientific, legal, and educational expertise to collaborate with government agencies and officials to promote a healthier environment.