Physicians for Global Survival (Canada)
Physicians for Global Survival (Canada) (originally Physicians for Social Responsibility) is a voluntary nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention of nuclear war. It came into being largely as the result of the efforts of the founding president, Dr Frank Sommers. The American Physicians for Social Responsibility first began in Boston in 1961, compiling the information that was crucial in building public pressure for the Limited Test Ban Agreement of 1963. PSR was revived in 1978 in the wake of the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor in Pennsylvania. In December 1980 in Geneva, 3 Harvard doctors met with 3 Soviet doctors from the former USSR to lay the foundations for the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.
The first World Congress of IPPNW was held near Washington, DC, in March 1981. There were 73 doctors from 12 countries, including Donald Bates, Paul Duchastel, Etienne LeBel and Frank Sommers from Canada. Since then there have been 6 other congresses. IPPNW now has affiliated groups in over 50 nations, representing a total of more than 160 000 physicians worldwide. In recognition of its efforts to inform the public, IPPNW was awarded the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize (see NOBEL PRIZES). Drs Bernard Lown and Evgueni Chazov as cofounders accepted the prize jointly.
Within Canada, local initiatives have included major conferences to educate both the profession and the general public about the potential disastrous consequences of a nuclear war and the effects of militarism on health and the environment. Nationally, the efforts of PGS have been recognized and endorsed by the CANADIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION and the Canadian Public Health Association. PGS is also part of a rapidly expanding network of organizations that are uniting to bring about the elimination of nuclear weapons. Public campaigns have dramatized the dangers of relying on technology to defend against nuclear attack and the waste of global resources in perpetuating the arms race.
PGS has 25 chapters across Canada and a membership of more than 2000. The 8th International Congress of IPPNW, with the theme "Healing our Planet - A Global Prescription," was held in Montréal in 1988.