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PSR Mourns an Exceptional Leader

January 24, 2014

Jeff Patterson, DO, was an indefatigable champion who served Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) and will be sorely missed by all who knew and worked with him.  Jeff exuded compassion.  He cared for human life and committed himself to the relief of suffering; it motivated all his work.  Jeff was a gentle soul with a powerful spirit and always provided a calming influence in difficult times.

Dr. Patterson’s first work with PSR was establishing the Madison, Wisconsin chapter.  With two other founding members, he challenged the concept of a “winnable nuclear war”.  Over the years, Jeff has stayed very active in the chapter, providing direction to interested medical students on nuclear weapons and nurturing their understanding of humanitarian ethics.  He was also a sought-after public educator and media spokesperson.

Dr. Patterson speaking at the Midwest Renewable Energy Association Energy Fair on why nuclear power is not the answer to climate change, June 2013

Dr. Patterson served for decades on PSR’s national board of trustees, including two terms as the president in 2010 and 2013.  He served as International Councilor with the U.S. affiliate of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, winner of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize.  He traveled extensively in the former USSR, visiting Chernobyl and sites of nuclear testing and nuclear weapons production. He lectured about the effects of nuclear weapons and radiation there, in Europe, as well as in the US.  He was also interested in non-violent alternatives to war as a means of preventing combat and sustainable methods of ameliorating climate change.  He provided pivotal guidance to staff and educated the public on the threats from nuclear power, especially after the disaster in Fukushima. 

"Jeff was so committed to our collective struggle to protect the world for our children and grandchildren," said Dr. Bob Gould, current president of PSR. 

Dr. Jeff Patterson at a Hill briefing on the Japan nuclear crisis, March 18, 2011.

While Jeff regularly served as an expert speaker, he approached this task from stories of human health and as a witness to those suffering. He had a gift for sharing the stories of people impacted by radiation exposure, from poor, elderly farmers in the abandoned land around Chernobyl and concerned mothers downwind of Fukushima to veterans exposed to radiation in the line of duty.  All were stories from his own experience as a physician/activist and from first-hand conversations with the people affected.

Besides his extensive service with PSR, Dr. Patterson was the medical director of the Hackett Hemwall Foundation (HHF), a charitable foundation doing charitable medical work in Honduras, Mexico, and the Philippines. Through the foundation and with the help of many dedicated volunteers, he taught physicians from over 20 countries the procedures of prolotherapy to treat chronic pain.  As a medical practitioner, he was the former director of the NE Family Medical Center in Madison and a Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Wisconsin.

Dr. Jeff Patterson representing PSR at the White House Earth Day celebration, April 2010

Jeff listened carefully and attentively; he had a huge capacity for kindness and was a nurturing physician and colleague.  His internal compass pointed others to just acts and a world without suffering. He served his patients and the international peace community well and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from him.  We will miss but always remember his deep, reasonable voice and wise counsel.

Jeff is survived by daughter Becca and grandchild, Kira, and Mary Doherty, his loving partner of many years.

Jeff's family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Physicians for Social Responsibility or the Hackett Hemwall Foundation.

Please feel free to add your thoughts and remembrances of Jeff below.


Robin and Mark Dittberner said ..

We think about you all the time. You are missed so much. RIP

January 27, 2018
Raul Diaz Fuentes. said ..

Hoy lei en el Monumento a Linkon: Tengamos fe que el derecho hace la fuerza y en esa fe atrevernos a cumplir nuestro deber. Let us have faith that right makes might and that faith dare to do our duty.Asistir como principiante de Proloterapia al Lowell Center, me ha llenado no solo de mayor FE, sino de AMOR y GRATITUD por el Dr.Jeff Patterson y por cada persona que dirigio mis manos,me instruyo y toco mi corazon.Presencie tambien los honores a los VETERANOS de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, mientras espero mi vuelo el espiritu de un hombre no menos valiente y valioso me acompaña y estara conmigo cada vez que con su influencia yo toque a un paciente. ESE ES UN ELEMENTO DEL QUE NO SE HABLO AL HABLAR DE PROPORCIONES Y TECNICAS. 10/19/2014

October 19, 2014
Cinema Forum Fukushima said ..

I have known Dr. Patterson for only two years. He was a great man and doctor. On our videos he passionately voiced out what current Fukushima situation is. In many cases, affected people often cannot express their ordeals fully in Japan. I extend my heartfelt condolence to his family and friends in PSR. Program Director, Kosaku Horiwaki Some of his speech:,,,

March 4, 2014
Doug Spence said ..

Mary and Family I look back at my time with Jeff as my mentor as one of laughs, relaxed times with hard work and being able to observe his intense desire to care for his patients and educate them and others. I was with him from 96-99 and count those years in Madison as some of my best. Jeff was a friend to us residents and a true inspiration to watch and be mentored by. Blessings and Hugs. I'm proud to support one of his favorite organizations!

February 19, 2014
michel mcgettigan said ..

I met Jeff when he was a Resident in the Family Practice program and rotated to the Birth rooms, and have known him since. He was an amazing man and so dedicated. He will be missed beyond words.My Sympathy to Mary and family.

February 18, 2014
Pam Kleiss said ..

We will remember Jeff and his work at a gathering on Sunday, February 23rd in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. Please go to for more information. Peace.

February 6, 2014
Dr. David De La Mora said ..

México está de luto por la pérdida de este gran hombre que ayudó tanto y por tantos años a la gente necesitada con sus dolores crónicos y nos enseñó con paciencia a a varios de nosotros los médicos la técnica de la Proloterapia. Lloramos tu partida y te vamos a extrañar amigo Jeff. La semilla que plantaste en mi país tanto en amor como en enseñanza siempre dará fruto, adiós amigo!. México is mourning for the lost of this great man who helped and for so many years it's needed people whit their chronic pain. And we the doctors are going to miss you a lot dear friend Jeff, you were so patient in teaching us the great technique of Prolotherapy. The seed of love and teaching you planted in my Country will always give it's fruits. Goodbye my friend!.

February 2, 2014
Kenneth Kurt DO said ..

The Osteopathic community lost one of our REAL leaders and hero. He will be missed. His teachings will always be with us. A real Hall of Famer.

February 1, 2014
Joe Radoszewski said ..

I can't begin to express my sorrow at Dr Patterson's demise. I have been a prolotherapy patient for 1.5 years and he has given me back my life ... my life as a useful home repair person that had rotator cuff injuries and was unable to work until after he had treated me. When I heard of his death it took my breath away and I broke down. In so many ways was he a kind, compassionate and thoughtful caregiver; I am extremely sad regarding his premature passing; why did not God take me instead of this valuable human being that did such tremendous good for the planet and for all of the people he touched. May Dr Patterson rest in peace.

January 31, 2014
Rebecca Freund said ..

I have known Jeff Patterson for nearly 32 years as a patient in Madison, Wisconsin. He was the physician who oversaw my sex rassignment surgery and guided the entire process with me. In recent years, he performed osteopathic manipulations on me to ease my terrible spinal arthritic pain. Jeff indeed was one of the most compassionate people I've ever met in my 60 years and assuredly one of the finest physicians I've ever known and worked with. At each appointment, he always inquired about how my adult son was doing and asked about my goings on. Jeff sought to know his patients' lives beyond just the exam room, to know them holistically, which was an offshoot of his compassion and desire to treat others with dignity. Dr. Patterson reminds me of the pre-clinic physicians, those who practiced, like my early doctors, from a second floor Victorian flat and made house calls into the early 1960's. They, like Jeff, were part of the community and knew folks over the generations. It is going to take me some considerable time now to let this sad news sink in and dwell in my heart, where Jeff will always be, for me. Bye-bye, Jeff, I suspect I may see you again someday! Your patient, Rebecca Freund

January 30, 2014
Babs Marchand said ..

Thank you for all you did. The world is a better place for it.

January 30, 2014
Susan said ..

My heart is so heavy..what a wonderful Dr. and human being! The world should be filled with more people like Dr. Jeff Patterson.. I can't even begin to express my sadness over his death! Love to all of his family at this very hard time!

January 28, 2014

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