Dr. Bernard Lown-Cardiologist, Peace Activist, and Author
- Professor of Cardiology (Emeritus) at the Harvard School of Public Health
- Developer of the direct current defibrillator
- Cofounded with Dr. Evgeni Chazov, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, an organization which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985
- Cofounder of SATELLIFE, ProCor, and the Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation.
- Author of The Lost Art of Healing: Practicing Compassion in Medicine and his most recent work, Prescription for Survival: A Doctor’s Journey to End Nuclear Madness.
Dr. Bernard Lown is Professor of Cardiology Emeritus at the Harvard School of Public Health, Senior Physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and the Founder of the Lown Cardiovascular Center and Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation. A pioneer in research on sudden cardiac death, Dr. Lown developed the direct current defibrillator for resuscitating the arrested heart as well as the cardioverter for correcting disordered heart rhythms. He also introduced the use of the drug Lidocaine for the control of disturbances of the heartbeat. Dr. Lown’s innovative research established the role of psychological and behavioral factors on heart rhythms and as provocative factors of sudden death.
As an author or co-author of four books relating to medicine and over 400 research articles published in peer reviewed medical journals worldwide, Dr. Lown’s work is prolific in the world of cardiology. In addition to his most recent book Prescription for Survival, (published in July 2008), Dr. Lown has authored the books: The Lost Art of Healing (Houghton Mifflin, 1996), a critically acclaimed appeal for compassion in medicine and repair of the sacred trust that once bound physicians and patients in a healing partnership, and Practicing the Art While Mastering the Science (Harbinger Medical press, 1995) a collection of his ruminations on medicine.
Dr. Lown has long been an activist to abolish nuclear weapons and promote world peace. In 1962, he cofounded the Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) and became its first president. The organization helped educate millions of people on the medical consequences of nuclear war. From 1974 to 1975, he presided over the USA-China Physicians Friendship Association, and served as coordinator of collaborative studies with the USSR on cardiovascular disease on behalf of the National Heart and Lung Institute.
In 1980, he co-founded with Dr. Evgeni Chazov, of the former Soviet Union, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). Drs. Lown and Chazov served as IPPNW’s first Co-Presidents, and in 1985, they were co-recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of IPPNW. Dr. Lown is also the recipient of the UNESCO Peace Education Prize (with Dr. Chazov), the George F. Kennan Award, the Ghandi Peace Prize, and the first Cardinal Medeiros Peace Award, as well as 20 honorary degrees from leading universities both in the USA and abroad. In 1993, he delivered the most distinguished Indira Gandhi Memorial Lecture in New Delhi.
Dr. Lown is the founder and emeritus Chairman of SATELLIFE, an international non-profit organization that uses satellite and Internet technologies to serve the health communication and information needs of developing countries. Dr. Lown is the founder of ProCor, an ongoing, worldwide, e-mail- and web-based electronic conference that addresses the emerging epidemic of cardiovascular diseases in the developing world.
Additionally, Dr. Lown has delivered more than 150 named lectures globally. He has been five times named Master Teacher of the American College of Cardiology and has been selected honorary member of a number of medical and cardiac societies including those from Australia and New Zealand, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Colombia, Croatia, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Switzerland as well as the Institute of Medicine (USA). Dr. Lown is also Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among numerous other honors and recognition are the Golden Door Award; International Institute of Boston; the Dr. Paul Dudley White Award; American Heart Association; Distinguished Emeritus Professor, Harvard School of Public Health; Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Distinguished Medical Alumnus Award; and the highest recognition bestowed by Lithuania, the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas.
Dr. Lown graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maine and received his M.D. degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He lives in Newton, MA, with his wife Louise. They have three children and five grandchildren.