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Catherine Thomasson, MD

Speaker Topic: Climate Change
Medical Specialty: Internal Medicine
PSR Affiliation: Executive Director of PSR; Past President of PSR; former member, National Board

Areas of Expertise:

  • Global warming, fossil fuel energy and public health
  • Global warming mitigation and clean energy solutions
  • Nuclear power, nuclear waste, radiation exposure
  • Iraq war
  • Iran nuclear crisis
  • Nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament
  • Nuclear waste reprocessing
  • The U.S.-India nuclear deal 
Media Experience: Television, Radio, Writing (editorials, op-eds), Public Speaking

Why PSR?

Physicians for Social Responsibility is the only organization that educates and mobilizes health professionals on the most dire health threats from global environmental concerns to weapons of war. I joined as an intern in Internal Medicine, in Portland in 1984 and was spurred to visit war ravaged Nicaragua in 1986.  I looked to PSR to take action on these issues from the lens of protecting public health.  Over the years, PSR’s influence to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons and raise awareness about the impact of war on all peoples of the world is paramount to changing policy and has resulted in passage of treaties to reduce nuclear weapons and to sway public opinion. 

Likewise PSR’s advocacy on global environmental health issues of toxins aided the passage and ratification of the global Persistent Organic Pollutants Treaty to remove the 12 worst chemicals from the earth.  In addition, I feel that global warming is the gravest public health threat of this century as it will impact populations with floods, water scarcity, other extreme weather events and heat waves.  It is also impacting our health now with increasing ozone air pollution, threats to water and food security and infectious diseases.

PSR’s voice is heard in cities, states and in our nation’s capital advocating for prevention when there is no cure!

Title: Executive Director of the Physicians for Social Responsibility, the largest health professional-led advocacy organization addressing the gravest threats to human health.

Age: 54

Previous Experience: Dr. Thomasson is an internal medicine physician working in both teaching roles and as a clinician for the last 30 years. She has interwoven political work primarily with Oregon PSR from 2000-2006 as president of the board and then co-president of the national PSR board from 2006-8.  She has been speaking and advocating on PSR’s issues from nuclear weapons abolition, cleaning up Hanford Nuclear Reservation and on Iran following her trip there in 2007.  She helped to successfully call for early closure of Oregon’s last coal-burning power plant in Boardman, served on numerous boards and advisory committees for health and safe water issues in Oregon and brought the health voice to the Climate Change City Plan of Portland and to state coalitions addressing transportation and health.  She taught Climate Change and Public Health at Portland State University. She also worked with the Oregon Medical Association educating and advocating for chemical toxins reform nationwide and on specific chemical issues at the state legislature and through the organization.

Education: Medical Degree from Wayne State University, Detroit, MI. 1983. Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry 1979.

Personal Sketch

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Catherine moved to Oregon for her residency in Internal Medicine at Oregon Health Sciences University.  She enjoys hiking, table tennis, choir participation and skiing during her 30 years in Oregon raising her son Joshua, who has graduated in Political Science from University of Puget Sound.  She now lives in Washington, DC and still tries to hike as much as possible and is enjoying living without a car, walking and biking around the city. 

To request Dr. Thomasson as a speaker, please email psrnatl@psr.org or call 202-667-4260.

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Publications:

Thomasson, Catherine, MD, Health Implications of a Nuclear Crisis with Iran, World Affairs Journal. Summer 2007, vol 11. 78-92

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