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Helen Caldicott

  • Dr Helen Caldicott is the single most articulate and passionate advocate of citizen action to remedy the nuclear and environmental crises, Dr Helen Caldicott, has devoted the last 42 years to an international campaign to educate the public about the medical hazards of the nuclear age and the necessary changes in human behaviour to stop environmental destruction.

    Born in Melbourne, Australia in 1938, Dr Caldicott received her medical degree from the University of Adelaide Medical School in 1961. She founded the Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at the Adelaide Children’s Hospital in 1975 and subsequently was an instructor in paediatrics at Harvard Medical School and on the staff of the Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Boston, Mass., until 1980 when she resigned to work full time on the prevention of nuclear war.

    In 1971, Dr Caldicott played a major role in Australia’s opposition to French atmospheric nuclear testing in the Pacific; in 1975 she worked with the Australian trade unions to educate their members about the medical dangers of the nuclear fuel cycle, with particular reference to uranium mining.

    While living in the United States from 1977 to 1986, she played a major role in re-invigorating as President,    Physicians for Social Responsibility, an organisation of 23,000 doctors committed to educating their colleagues about the dangers of nuclear power, nuclear weapons and nuclear war. On trips abroad, she helped start similar medical organizations in many other countries. The international umbrella group (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. She also founded the Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament(WAND) in the US in 1980.

    Returning to Australia in 1987, Dr Caldicott ran for Federal Parliament as an independent. Defeating Charles Blunt, leader of the National Party, through preferential voting she ultimately lost the election by 600 votes out of 70,000 cast.

    She moved back to the United States in 1995, where she lectured at the New School for Social Research on the Media, Global Politics and the Environment; hosted a weekly radio talk show on WBAI (Pacifica) in New York; and was the Founding President of the STAR (Standing for Truth About Radiation) Foundation on Long Island.

    Dr Caldicott has received many prizes and awards for her work, including the Lannan Foundation’s 2003 Prize for Cultural Freedom and 21 honorary doctoral degrees. She was personally nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Linus Pauling – himself a Nobel Laureate. The Smithsonian has named Dr Caldicott as one of the most influential women of the 20th Century.

    She has written for numerous publications and has authored nine books:

    She also has been the subject of several films, including Eight Minutes to Midnight, nominated for an Academy Award in 1981, If You Love This Planet, which won the Academy Award for best documentary in 1982, and Helen’s War: Portrait of a Dissident, recipient of the Australian Film Institute Awards for Best Direction (Documentary) 2004, and the Sydney Film Festival Dendy Award for Best Documentary in 2004.

    Dr Caldicott currently divides her time between Australia and the U.S. where she lectures widely. In 2001, she founded the U.S.-based Nuclear Policy Research Institute (NPRI), which became  Beyond Nuclear. Dr Caldicott is President of The Helen CaldicottFoundation/, which initiates symposiums and other educational projects to inform the public and the media of the dangers of nuclear power and weapons. The mission of the Foundation is education to action and the promotion of a nuclear-energy and weapons-free, renewable energy powered world.

    The Foundation’s most recent symposium, co-sponsored by Physicians for Social Responsibility was held at the New York Academy of Medicine in March 2013, 2013. It was entitled 'The Medical and Environmental Consequences of Fukushima' and may be downloaded at here

    A book – Crisis Without End — emanating from the conference proceedings and edited by Dr Caldicott will be published by The New Press in the Spring of 2014.

    From 2010 to 2013, Dr Caldicott hosted a weekly radio show, If You Love This Planet, which aired on many community and other public radio stations internationally. From 2007 to 2009, she was also a member of the International Scientific Advisory Board convened by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the then  Prime Minister of Spain.

    Click here for Dr Caldicott’s complete curriculum vitae.


Articles written by Helen Caldicott (17)

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