Dr. Jeffery Patterson Named President of the Physicians for Social Responsibility

Dr. Jeffery Patterson

MADISON—A professor emeritus at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health has been named president of a non-profit group that works to rid the world of nuclear weapons and reduce the effects of global climate change.

Dr. Jeffery Patterson, who is also a practicing physician at the UW Health Northeast Clinic, will serve as president of the Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) through the end of the year. The organization includes 32,400 health care professionals, medical students, and concerned citizens.

Formed in 1961, the group gained recognition after publishing research that brought forth the dangers of nuclear testing. Shortly thereafter, President Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev signed a treaty banning above-ground nuclear tests.

Patterson says since then, the group’s main objective has been to encourage global disarmament of nuclear weapons.
“We have about 25,000 nuclear weapons in the world,” says Patterson. “Instead of eight or nine countries having them, it could proliferate to 20 or 30. India and Pakistan have threatened nuclear attacks in the past that if executed, would have created enough smoke into the atmosphere to cause freezing temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere for up to 10 years. People would die because they would freeze to death and not be able to grow food.”

“We have to make it more attractive not to have nuclear weapons and figure out ways to live in this world peacefully,” he adds. “Unless we do this, we are truly doomed because nuclear war much more likely. Prevention of nuclear war is the only cure.”

Patterson says PSR has also been involved in efforts to educate the public and politicians about the health effects of climate change.