Everything about Physicians for Social Responsibility

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), a non-profit organization, is led and operated by certified physicians in the United States.

This organization works to protect the populace from various types of pan-global threats. PSR aims to eradicate environmental toxins, address climate change and restrict nuclear proliferation around the world.

Foundation of Physicians for Social Responsibility

The Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) was established in 1961 in Boston, Massachusetts. It was formed by a group of physicians who got concerned about rising nuclear proliferation around the world.

These physicians wanted to make the public aware of the dangers of storing, testing and using nuclear weapons.

The founding group of PSR consisted of Drs. Victor W. Sidel, Bernard Lown, Alexander Leaf, Sidney Alexander, H. Jack Geiger, George Saxton, Charles Magraw, Bernard Leon Winter and Robert Goldwyn.

The organization’s first report detailed the human, social, physical and environmental aspects of a nuclear war.

The organization slowed down in its efforts and practically ceased operations in 1973. However, a chance meeting between an editor and a doctor about the effects of nuclear power resulted in reviving the organization in 1978.

The organization then published its first ad in the New England Journal of Medicine, describing the medical implications of a nuclear war.

The ad was published the day after the Three Mile Island meltdown incident. This caused more than 500 new members to join PSR.

During the next five years, PSR recruited around 23,000 physicians as members. It went on to establish around 153 chapters in the US too. The then-President of PSR, Dr. Helen Caldicott continued her efforts and established similar organizations in other countries.

Some of the nations that host PSR-like organizations included Australia, England, Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand, Japan, Scandinavia, Germany, Belgium, Canada and Holland.

Foundation of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IIPNW)

PSR’s work to thwart nuclear proliferation gained international attention. This led to the foundation of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IIPNW) in 1980.

Thanks to its incredible efforts, IIPNW was awarded the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize.

This was presented to the organization “for spreading authoritative information and by creating an awareness of the catastrophic consequences of atomic warfare.”

What does the PSR do?

The PSR organization publishes and distributes documents and offers specialized training to dedicated members.

The organization also offers oral and written testimony to Congress. It holds media interviews, public awareness campaigns and offers professional assistance.

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Physicians for Social Responsibility – What does the PSR do?

The PSR operates through its nationwide network of e-activists, members, local, and state along with student chapters, along with the national staff. This entire network works in cohesion to combat any threats to global survival.

This mainly regards the toxic decline of environmental quality, global warming, nuclear warfare and nuclear proliferation relevant threats.

The organization is working to improve national policy-making and decisions regarding nuclear technology and weapons.

This is achieved through collaboration between committed and credible health professionals, along with concerned citizen members.

PSR details the health consequence and security threats posed by nuclear weapons. It also highlights the importance of implementing innovative ways to decrease the US reliance on nuclear weapons for national security.

The organization is actively working to achieve zero nuclear weapons count in the United States.

PSR also addresses concerns of global warming and toxic degradation of the natural environment. The organization lobbies for policies that can help limit global warming and generate a sustainable clean energy future.

The organization aims to reduce air, food and water pollution, along with restricting exposure of humans to toxic substances. The organization’s Code Black program is working relentlessly in the US to reduce reliance on coal for generating power.

PSR published a groundbreaking report in November 2009, titled “Coal’s Assault on Human Health”.

This report reviewed and summarized peer-reviewed medical literature concerning coal pollution. It offered a vast view of the way coal affects human health, right from mining activities to combustion and disposal.

In 2008, the organization started a campaign called the safe energy program. This was meant to stop the construction of new nuclear power plants.

The campaign was also vital in highlighting the actual cost and dangers of nuclear energy.

The PSR also maintains the Student Physicians for Social Responsibility (SPSR). It is a network of 650 students from 39 chapters. It motivates medical students to work against nuclear proliferation.

The organization is heavily engaged in working against environmental degradation and social issues. It motivates medical students towards more effective student activism.

The PSR and its various chapters focus on numerous issues. These include making hospitals environment-friendly, promoting sustainable agriculture practices and healthcare reforms.

Numerous PSR chapters are also working towards active gun control movements and aim to ban handguns in the US.


Lately, PSR has been vocal about the administration’s policies concerning climate change and nuclear weapons through op-ed articles in popular newspapers.

PSR has also persuaded numerous city and county legislators to sponsor the “Back from the Brink Campaign”. This campaign aims to prevent the US involved in a nuclear war.

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