Bernard Lown, MD
Founder and Chair, ProCor
Dr. Bernard Lown is a world-renowned cardiologist and humanitarian who has dedicated his life to the art and science of healing the patient and the global community. His philosophy of patient care and his commitment to activism provide the guiding principles for ProCor.
During a research career spanning more than 50 years, Dr. Lown's findings changed the practice of cardiology. He pioneered development of the direct current defibrillator, now the standard of care for cardiac resuscitation. He developed the cardioverter for correcting disordered heart rhythms, and introduced the drug lidocaine to control heartbeat disturbances. These discoveries have saved tens, if not hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide.
His work also has contributed substantially to an understanding of the role of psychological factors in heart disease. Dr. Lown pursued the formidable problem of sudden cardiac death, the leading cause of fatality in the developed world, and established the basis for the modern coronary care unit. He has been a consummate clinical teacher and lecturer, who has inspired hundreds of medical students as well as over two hundred research fellows in the Lown training program.
Dr. Lown passionately believes that physicians are natural advocates for the sick, the poor, and the afflicted. He has led countless struggles for justice, social equity, and peace, locally as well as globally. In the early 1960s he was a founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and in the eighties he co-founded, with Dr. Yevgeny Chazov from the Soviet Union, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). His peace activities have been recognized with a UNESCO Peace Prize, the Cardinal Medeiros Peace Award, the Gandhi Peace Prize, some 20 honorary degrees, and the Nobel Peace Prize, which he accepted in 1985 on behalf of IPPNW.
Today, Dr. Lown's prodigious energies are dedicated to ProCor, which he founded in 1997, and SatelLife, founded in 1985, both of which promote access to health information in the developing world. He also continues to engage in ongoing educational and research activities with the Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation.
For Dr. Lown, medicine is ultimately a calling focused on the primacy of the patient. His principles and underlying philosophy are carefully explored in two books, The Lost Art of Healing (which has been translated into multiple languages) and Practicing the Art while Mastering the Science.
Tribute to a Teacher: Clinical Pearls, published in 2008 by the Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation, compiles, for the first time, ten pearls of clinical wisdom composed for ProCor from 1997-2002 by Dr. Lown. A special edition of this collection, with a new introductory essay and contemporary comments on the original pearls, is available for free download.
Dr. Lown's third book, Prescription for Survival: A Doctor's Journey to End Nuclear Madness, was published in July 2008. The book chronicles the Cold War years, leading up to the Nobel Peace Prize. The book offers lessons to inspire today, and in the future, those individuals who have the courage to work for peace and justice within their communities and the world.
Dr. Bernard Lown is Professor Emeritus at the Harvard School of Public Health and senior physician (ret.) at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He is the founder of the Lown Cardiovascular Group and the Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation, where he is the Chairman Emeritus. Dr. Lown graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Maine, and received his MD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He and his wife Louise have three children and five grandchildren.
Date Posted: 30 November 2009