FEBRUARY 23, 2021


Well, our new year is off to a tumultuous start! An insurrection against our most fundamental liberties followed by the inauguration of our duly-elected President. The momentous entry-into-force of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and the welcome extension of the New Start Nuclear Weapons Treaty with Russia have suddenly lifted the nuclear shadows a bit. The Environmental Protection Agency has been liberated from direction by corporate flacks, and can now be refocused on protecting populations made vulnerable from environmental toxics and structural racism. And with President Biden signing an expansive executive order to tackle climate change with a just transition to a green economy, we can finally rejoin the world community in confronting our perilous future as a species.

All while we try to restore the unity we need to surmount our dread COVID-19 pandemic and overcome the loss of over half million of our loved ones in the US alone, our unrelenting stress of isolation, the uncertainties that persist from variant viral strains, and inadequate vaccine supplies and plans that leave too many around the world in danger. More than ever, we need connection and solidarity with our global communities to heal our planet.

Toward this end, we in SF Bay PSR humbly offer our 2021 programmatic “roadmap” — some ways we can deepen our knowledge, stay informed, and optimally engage with our community of health professionals and activists toward common policy goals.

EVENTS: We are thrilled to offer our 2021 Events series that will focus primarily on deepening our understanding of the connections between climate change, systemic racism, and health inequities. On February 24 we will be hosting a California Legislature Review to learn more about how to advocate for the state policy changes we need, register here. Other topics include the promise and challenges of electrifying buildings and cars; how to build and strengthen our health voice in movements aiming to divest from fossil-fuel funds; the impacts of policing and other expressions of domestic militarism on health and racial-social justice; the intersectional impacts of climate change and war on global health and refugees; and so much more.

Our monthly Events email includes not only our “own” events, but also those hosted by other PSR chapters, as well as events presented and/or organized by SF Bay PSR members via their universities and other organizations we work with. It’s a great resource!

RACIAL EQUITY READING GROUP: Our Racial Equity Reading Group has expanded efforts to educate our members and the public, incorporate the lens of racial justice throughout SF Bay PSR’s work, and partner with local community organizations such as Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates, whose members have resiliently fought for the clean-up of the toxic and radioactive Superfund site at the former navy shipyard for decades. Join our reading group to expand your understanding of the intersectionality of health, systemic racism, and environmental injustice. Non-health professionals are welcome! To join please email

EDUCATION: SF Bay PSR members have a longstanding dedication to medical school and public education with a focus on how the climate crisis, environmental degradation, and racial and social injustices are affecting our health and what we can do about it. Most recent efforts include the Stanford-based NorCal Symposium on Climate and Pandemic Resilience in Health Care and UCSF’s Mini Medical School. The third Mini Med School in the climate and health series, Environmental Justice and Human Health: Creating Systemic Solutions, will take place on Tuesday evenings, February 23 – March 30. REGISTER HERE.

SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN: Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and soon on LinkedIn and Instagram! Visit our NEW YouTube channel! We post weekly, and every month we will feature articles on how global warming is being addressed in a different medical specialty as well as provide alerts about our events, newsletters, policy actions, and breaking news.

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH COMMITTEE TASK FORCES: Our Environmental Health Committee is actively working on numerous projects. We recently formed two new task forces, see below. You are invited to join our committees—non-health professionals are welcome! To join a committee please email

DIVESTMENT/INVESTMENT TASK FORCE: We at SF Bay PSR believe that Divestment/Investment is a powerful tool to help expedite a shift toward green, renewable energy development. Our projects include actively supporting Fossil Free California’s (FFCA) effort to build a coalition over the next year that will work toward legislation to be introduced in 2022, and offering support and a proposal template to those who would like to advocate for their institution to divest funds from fossil fuels. READ MORE.

ELECTRIFICATION TASK FORCE: We are working on city, county, and state ordinances and through regulatory bodies to advocate for the electrification of buildings and transportation. Join our members in public testimony, or signing-on to comments on the negative health impacts of fossil-fuel appliances and vehicles, and the positive health impacts of electrification. READ MORE on our Advocacy Tools page.

NUCLEAR WEAPONS ABOLITION COMMITTEE: In January our committee celebrated the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition on Nuclear Weapons entry into force, read more. With this wind in our sails, we will expand our support for the Back from the Brink campaign’s five points toward nuclear abolition, and strongly advocate for government budgets to be re-aligned toward the existential threats to our national security posed by the climate crisis. On the local front, we are trying to deepen our support for the community struggle to clean-up radioactive waste in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunter’s Point neighborhood.

STUDENT GROUPS and PARTNERSHIPS: We are expanding our student mentoring and support by reaching out to student groups at Stanford, UCSF, UC Berkeley, and UC Davis. If you are a student or member of a student organization interested in activist mentoring and/or helping to build our student PSR chapter, please contact

NEWSLETTER and ACTION ALERTS: Our monthly newsletter connects our policy advocacy projects with breaking news and initiatives, offers committee project updates, educational events, readings, resources and related opportunities for engaging your activism. Our Action Alerts make it easy for you to advocate on local, state, and federal levels. Please send this email to that friend or colleague who cares as much as you about our core public and environmental health issues and encourage them to SUBSCRIBE HERE, and contact us at, if they’d like to be involved in our work.

BELOW you will find more details about our committees’ projects and policy watch.

We hope you will reach out and join our activist network. Together, as we’ve learned so often through the years, we can really help change the world for the better!

In peace and solidarity,
Dr. Robert Gould, SF Bay PSR Board President


Dr. Bernard Lown, second from right, with IPPNW colleagues at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in 1985. Photo: IPPNW

Remembering Dr. Bernard Lown, co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility
We at PSR are mourning the passing of one of our founders, Dr. Bernard Lown. We extend our sincere condolences to Dr. Lown’s family and friends. Renowned as a pioneer in the research of sudden cardiac death and for developing the first effective heart defibrillator, Dr. Lown also focused on providing training and up-to-date medical information on cardiovascular care in developing countries. He was equally passionate about the threat posed by nuclear war and was part of a group of physicians who gathered in early 1961 to address the mounting risk of nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States. This group eventually formed Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Dr. Lown served as PSR’s first President. READ MORE at PSR National and in the New York Times.


NEW Board Member: We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Aude Bouagnon to SF Bay PSR’s board. Aude received her PhD in neuroscience from the UCSF Biomedical Sciences Program and is currently a second-year medical student. She helped to found the REPAIR Project at UCSF and is a community organizer with White Coats for Black Lives.




NEW Intern: Please join us in welcoming our newest intern, Daisy Valdivieso. Daisy is a pre-medical student with bachelor’s degree in Molecular Environmental Biology and a focus in Human and Environmental Health from UC Berkeley. Currently she is working as a clinical research coordinator for CHART and TrackCOVID studies at the University of California, San Francisco, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.



Dr. Mary Williams, SF Bay PSR board member, co-edited the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology: Special Issue on Climate Change & Dermatology. Dr. Williams and Dr. Sarah Coates, also a board member, wrote articles in this special issue.

Dr. Michael J. Martin, SF Bay PSR board member and president-elect of PSR National published in the SF Chronicle: Climate Change Threatens Our Health.

Dr. Barbara Erny, SF Bay PSR Environmental Health Committee member, is on the editorial board of the Journal of Climate Change and Health. Please be sure to check out this essential and rich source of information. Also, the journal is seeking more reviewers. If you are interested please contact Dr. Erny or email and she will connect you.


We are looking for new members for our Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Environmental Health committees. To request to join a committee, please contact for more details, including Zoom links to meetings.

Nuclear Weapons Abolition Committee (NWAC): SF Bay PSR

NEXT meeting will be on Thursday, March 11, 7:00 pm via Zoom

The NWAC is composed of health professionals and others working locally to influence public awareness, civic engagement, and national policy via California Members of Congress toward a nuclear weapons free world. Toward the latter, we endorse the Back from the Brink campaign and its policy platforms.

Recent highlights include:
The world celebrated the entry into force of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, on January 22, 2021. PSR National and local chapters supported and amplified the call for the United States to join the treaty.

Support for global diplomatic efforts: SF Bay PSR and PSR National are actively supporting the Biden Administration’s return to diplomacy after the erratic reactions of the Trump Administration. Biden has extended the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia by five years, even as the Biden administration escalates criticism of the Kremlin. Also, Biden is seeking to reenter the Iran Nuclear Deal.

Support for limits on sole authority and no-first-use of nuclear weapons: After the insurrection on the capitol, more interest mounted to limit the president’s nuclear weapons sole authority to launch a nuclear attack, and to get the US to declare a no-first-use policy for nuclear weapons. PSR is closely working with partners to advance this work.

National Budget Advocacy: The committee is also joining with PSR National to work with a coalition, People Over Pentagon, led by Public Citizen and many peace groups to advocate for a 10% cut of the Pentagon budget and try to redirect that money for COVID relief, a just recovery, and transition to a green economy. Part of this effort is redefining what national security means—our nuclear weapons didn’t deter COVID. Health threats need to be a part of the conversation and are a unique niche for PSR. Indeed, Bernie Sanders referenced PSR’s support of the 10% Pentagon cuts when he spoke on the Senate floor.

Divestment: NWAC is looking at what we can do about Congress members who are pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from weapon manufacturers and we are working to develop a divestment campaign in partnership with other PSR chapters and Don’t Bank on the Bomb.

Resources and analysis: SF Bay PSR is working to to address the mutually-reinforcing threats presented by nuclear power promotion, nuclear weapons proliferation, and cyber warfare.

PSR Board Members Tova Fuller, MD, PhD, and Robert Gould, MD, participated in a Radio interview on Talk of the Bay (KSQD): “No Nukes! Entry into Force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”

As part of our Nuclear Weapons Abolition efforts Dr. Tova Fuller produced a series of videos asking health professionals and activists why they care about nuclear weapons abolition. WATCH HERE.

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Environmental Health Committee (EHC): SF Bay PSR

NEXT meeting will be on Wednesday, April 21, 7:00 pm, via Zoom.

Members continue to work energetically during the pandemic on wide-ranging collaborative efforts to engage health professional students and institutions to address the unceasing threats of our climate to our health.

Recent highlights include:

Health Professional Education / Curriculum Development: EHC members are continuing to participate in the expansion of climate-and-health education at UCSF and Stanford, including organizing and teaching cross-disciplinary research inquiry courses on climate change and health; organizing student-led electives on climate change, and more; presenting dozens of lectures and talks on environmental and climate health issues in almost every medical specialty; serving as journal editors and publishing on the impacts of climate change on health; and producing a new Mini Medical School Series on Environmental Justice and Human Health: Creating Systemic Solutions.

Student Outreach Task Force: SF Bay PSR members just launched a Student Outreach Task Force focusing on mentoring medical and other health professional student groups at Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCSF, and UC Davis in environmental health advocacy work and leadership.

Climate Crisis / Health Impacts / Environmental Justice: Working at the intersection of the climate crisis, harmful health effects of indoor air pollution, and the disproportionate impacts on low-income communities, SF Bay PSR members have continued their advocacy for system-wide electrification programs which would reduce use of fossil fuels and promote renewable alternatives to produce electricity, with concomitant improvements in air-quality. In 2021, EHC members will also focus on accelerating renewable energy in California by advocating for the rapid implementation of SB 100, and pushing to reach renewable targets by 2030. Renewable energy is now cheaper, and we can look at key sectors in the economy to reduce emissions: agriculture, buildings, transportation. We are building partnerships with other NGOs, submitting public comments, and testifying to policy makers to bring about local ordinances, including recent efforts to mandate electric infrastructure to replace gas in new residential construction.

Also, toward this effort, members are actively working with the Carbon Offset Task Force at UCSF to pursue a strategy of developing offsets that would fund investing in electrification for low-income communities nearby, to directly address persistent structural inequities that have limited such necessary transformations.

Divestment in Fossil Fuels / Investment in a Green Economy Task Force: SF Bay PSR’s new task force is advocating for individual, health-care institutional, health professional society, and public retirement fund divestment from fossil-fuels. Members are actively working on targeting divestment of the personal retirement funds in UCSF and other UC systems from fossil fuels and connected industries; collaborating on the work of Fossil Free California’s CalPERS/CalSTRS divestment campaigns. Also, members are compiling extensive resources useful for individual and institutional action, including a sample divestment policy proposal, developing a Public Funds Legislative Proposal, and organizing a virtual educational event on divestment scheduled for June. Visit our new Divest/Invest webpage.

Sustainable Healthcare Systems/Health Professional Society Collaborations: EHC members are working with health-care systems and within their professional societies to become more proactive in dealing with our climate crisis that is simultaneously framing and impacting our COVID pandemic, and its disproportionate toll on communities made vulnerable by structural racism and poverty.

To join a committee please email
To read more about our committees please visit the EHC and NWAC pages.


Over the past few months, SF Bay PSR has signed many of letters, submitted numerous public comments, testified, and employed the perspective of health professionals to influence policymakers. READ FULL LIST of SF Bay PSR efforts HERE.

In addition to our chapter’s efforts, PSR NATIONAL has recently joined many other health NGOs to advocate for the Biden Administration to invest in clean energy and a just transition to electric vehicles. READ MORE HERE.

On the federal level we have advocated for a swift and expansive COVID relief package with a particular focus on the need for improved access to health care.

We have also seen some great progress in our anti-nuclear work with the entry-into- force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition on Nuclear Weapons; the end to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Plan to Deregulate Rad-Waste Disposal; and our successful work with the cities of San Francisco and Atherton, California, on their passage of resolutions embracing the disarmament planks of our Back from the Brink Campaign. We opposed the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act of 2020 that would misdirect vital government, financial, and industrial resources to an uneconomical, environmentally unjust and harmful set of nuclear technologies. And we joined Snake River Alliance in opposing the U.S. Department of Energy, Idaho Operations Office Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) that would use plutonium which is extremely harmful to health and a potentially serious security risk.

In California SF Bay PSR is supporting bills for: a just transition to zero-emission buildings; improved air pollution regulations; appointments of utilities and transportation commissioners who support environmental perspectives; encouraging farm-to-school food programs; solar panel adoption measures; and to reduce and eventually ban fossil fuel extraction in California, while setting buffer zones to protect residents from fossil fuel extraction pollution.

In the Bay Area we are advocating for Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to require oil refineries to adopt better pollution controls technology and to expedite Zero Emission Standards for heaters and appliances.

Do you want to learn more about how to influence policy and regulatory agencies? Attend our events and join a committee!

READ MORE on our Events and Action Alerts pages.