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Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) is a national organization that has been working for more than 50 years to create a healthy, just and peaceful world for both the present and future generations. 

The Founding of Physicians for Social Responsibility

As tensions rose between the US and Soviet Union during the Cold War and scientists raced to develop and stockpile nuclear weapons, a team of physicians became united in their concern over the potentially catastrophic impact of nuclear testing and war on the environment and human health. Drs. Bernard Lown, Victor Sidel, Sidney Alexander, Jack Geiger, Alexander Leaf, George Saxton and Robert Goldwyn and others founded PSR in 1961 and were instrumental in documenting the dangers of radioactive fallout, including the presence of Strontium-90 in children’s teeth.

The committed advocacy of PSR was instrumental to the signing of the Limited Nuclear Test Ban treaty in Moscow on August 5th, 1963, in which the United States, Great Britain and Soviet Union agreed to abstain from nuclear weapon tests under water, in the atmosphere and outer space. These countries further agreed to work towards complete nuclear disarmament and the end of contamination of the environment by radioactive substances.

Excerpt from the President John F. Kennedy’s Address to the Nation on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, 26 July 1963:


“But now, for the first time in many years, the path of peace may be open. No one can be certain what the future will bring. No one can say whether the time has come for an easing of the struggle. But history and our own conscience will judge us harsher if we do not now make every effort to test our hopes by action, and this is the place to begin. 

According to the ancient Chinese proverb, "A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." 

My fellow Americans, let us take that first step. Let us, if we can, step back from the shadows of war and seek out the way of peace. And if that journey is a thousand miles, or even more, let history record that we, in this land, at this time, took the first step. 

Thank you and good night.“

Founding of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) and 1985 Nobel Peace Prize

In an effort to broaden the message of PSR internationally, Dr. Bernard Lown co-founded the IPPNW with Evgeni Chazov of the Soviet Union with PSR as its American affiliate in 1980. PSR shared in the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to IPPNW “for spreading authoritative information and by creating an awareness of the catastrophic consequences of atomic warfare.”

Filmed and produced by Craig Atkinson and Ishita Gupta of Truth Be Known Films,
For more information about Dr. Bernard Lown and his books, please visit Dr. Lown's official website at

Expanded Mission- Environment & Health

In the early 1990s PSR expanded its mission to address the health effects of climate change and pollution. PSR pledges to use medical and public health expertise to help reverse our trajectory towards climate change and protect our environment and future generations from toxic chemicals.

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