Health Professionals Organize to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Worldwide

The Lund Report

March 5, 2012 -- Medical and public health deans from across the U.S., and respected emergency responders see the urgent need for elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide.

A group of over 30 prominent and respected Deans of Schools of Medicine and Public Health have signed an open letter calling for nuclear weapons abolition. A related scholarly piece titled “A Prescription for Survival: Prevention of Nuclear War," has been accepted for publication in the March 2012 issue of the prestigious American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

This follows the decision by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies adopting a resolution supporting the elimination of nuclear weapons and calling on their affiliates to conduct educational campaigns about the unique and catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear war.

A major study on global impacts of limited nuclear war on agriculture, food supplies, and human nutrition or "Nuclear Famine" will be released within a few months indicating that potentially a billion people would be at risk of starvation from even a limited nuclear exchange in South Asia.

At the height of the Cold War, health professionals addressed the fundamental danger facing our world from nuclear weapons and testing. Their valuable nonpartisan insights shocked many and inspired others to take effective action. They helped launch a movement that historians agree changed the world.

Today leaders of the medical and public health communities are again stating clearly the reality that there is no effective medical response to a nuclear detonation and that we need to advance nuclear weapons elimination worldwide.

These health professionals advocate that this issue should go beyond national borders and partisan politics and instead should be a rallying cry for all citizens of this planet to act together to assure our very survival.

The authors of the journal article are:

Dr. Ira Helfand is a Specialist in Emergency Medicine in Springfield MA. Because of his publications and long time expertise, Dr. Helfand was asked to testify on May 15, 2008 to the US Congress on developing a more adequate system in the United States for responding to medical disasters. Dr. Helfand is a Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Board Member and former PSR President.

Dr. Howard Frumkin is Dean, and Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, at the University of Washington School of Public Health. He is also an internist, environmental and occupational medicine specialist, and epidemiologist, who has worked in academia and public service. From 2005 to 2010 he held leadership roles at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, first as director of the National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (NCEH/ATSDR), and later as Special Assistant to the CDC Director for Climate Change and Health.

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