The IPPNW (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) is a non-partisan, global federation of national medical organizations in more than 60 countries dedicated to research, education and advocacy relevant to the prevention of nuclear war. To this end, IPPNW seeks to prevent all wars, to promote non-violent conflict resolution and to minimize the effects of war and preparations for war on health, development and the environment. We work for:
- Abolition of all nuclear weapons
- Demilitarization of the global economy and an end to the arms trade
- Re-allocation of resources from military to civilian needs, especially to basic health care and human necessities
- Sustainable and ecologically sound economic development
But why we (future) physicians ? Bernard Lown, co-founder of the IPPNW, had said : “The answer is clear. No single group is as deeply involved in and committed to the survival of mankind. No group is as accustomed in applying practical solutions to life-threatening conditions. Physicians are aware, however, that intelligent therapy depends on accurate diagnosis and a realistic appraisal of the problem.“ With our expertise as scientists and as healers we can speak on the threat of nuclear weapons and on the consequences of nuclear war.
Besides our aim of a world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation, we see it as our duty to fulfill our social responsibilities as (future) physicians. That is why we are also fighting for an evidence-based and fairer medicine for everyone.
Founded in 1980, the IPPNW was an inspiration born of the Cold War. With the world divided into two militarized camps poised on the brink of nuclear war, a small group of Soviet and American doctors took a leap of faith. They reasoned that their common interest in survival was more powerful than the ideological divides between them. They believed that their obligation as physicians included a common commitment to the prevention of nuclear war.
Led by co-founders Dr. Bernard Lown of the US and Dr. Evgueni Chazov of the Soviet Union, they organized a team to conduct meticulous scientific research based on data collected by Japanese colleagues who had studied the effects of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And they drew upon their knowledge of the medical effects of burn, blast, and radiation injuries.
The doctors sounded a medical warning to humanity: that nuclear war would be the final epidemic; that there would be no cure and no meaningful medical response. Their message reached millions of people around the world. In the words of former New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange, "IPPNW made medical reality a part of political reality."
In its first five years, the IPPNW educated health professionals, political leaders, and the public about the medical and environmental consequences of nuclear warfare. For this effort, which united physicians across the Cold War divide, IPPNW was awarded the the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985.
Throughout the 1980s and the 1990s, IPPNW comprehensively documented the health and environmental effects of the production, testing, and use of nuclear weapons.
IPPNW and its affiliates not only educated the public, they also organized citizens in the nuclear states to protest and change their governments' policies. IPPNW believes that the active involvement of millions of people is essential if we are to prevent war and abolish nuclear weapons.