New scholarship program and professorship to honor Dr. Bernard Lown

For immediate release: September 10, 2008

BOSTON, MA — A professorship and scholarship program to honor Dr. Bernard Lown’s career of advancing public health is being established at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), school officials announced September 10, 2008.

Dr. Lown is Professor Emeritus at HSPH.  He is recognized for his groundbreaking work on the causes and treatment of heart disease and cardiac arrhythmias and the development of the direct current (DC) defibrillator that has become a lifesaving device worldwide. He is also world-renowned for his dedication to the prevention of nuclear war.  In 1960, during the tensions of the Cold War, he was one of the founders of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and in 1980, the co- founder of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.  He and a Russian colleague received the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the organization in 1985.

The Bernard Lown Fund in Cardiovascular Health at Harvard School of Public Health will support the Bernard Lown Cardiovascular Scholars Program, which will train qualified mid-career clinicians, scientists, nurses and other health practitioners in public health strategies related to the prevention of cardiovascular disease in the developing world. Participants in the Scholars Program will be degree candidates in the Masters of Public Health Program or other degree programs at the School. In most circumstances, they will be mid-career physicians working in the developing world. They will be known as Lown Scholars. As part of the program, Lown Scholars may also be brought back to Harvard periodically for short-term stays of  one week to several months. The goal will be to create an international community of Lown Scholars who will continue to interact around issues of cardiovascular health, particularly in the developing world..

The Bernard Lown Fund in Cardiovascular Health will also support a professorship at Harvard School of Public Health involved in research and teaching focused on the prevention of cardiovascular disease in the developing world.  The individual chosen to be the Lown Professor may be a cardiologist, epidemiologist, biological scientist, or social scientist representing a range of appropriate disciplines and experience.  The Fund will also support international conferences devoted to the topic of cardiovascular prevention.

Dean Barry R. Bloom stated that “Dr. Lown has been enormously generous to the Harvard School of Public Health as a researcher, scholar, and friend, and an inspirational role model for me.  His vision to bring young physicians and scholars from developing countries to learn and carry out research in preventing cardiovascular disease at our school under the tutelage of outstanding professors, including one that we can honor him with, is a prescient contribution to address the coming epidemic of cardiovascular disease in the developing world.  We are enormously grateful for the many gifts he has given us and the world.”

“Bernard Lown has been a visionary in recognizing the importance of health in forging bridges and understanding among scientists and people around the world.  We welcome the establishment of The Bernard Lown Fund as an ideal realization of the innovative global vision of one of the world’s  great physicians and humanitarians, ” says Dr. Vikas Saini,  President, Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation. “It is doubly meaningful given the origins of the fund in the development of the defibrillator, a high technology device that changed the practice of medicine, which are now  being applied to a global vision of health. Far ahead of his time Dr  Lown has long recognised that true peace in the world will only be  achieved when the needs and aspirations of people in the developing world are taken into account. It is therefore most appropriate that the Fund will now be used to teach the teachers necessary to combat the burgeoning global epidemic of cardiovascular disease. The Lown CRF is pleased that the mission of the Lown Scholars Program and the Lown Professorship is fundamentally aligned with ours, and we look forward to many collaborative efforts in the future to sustain Dr  Lown’s unique historic legacy.”


For further information contact:
Robin Herman
(617) 432-4388

About Harvard School of Public Health

Harvard School of Public Health is dedicated to advancing the public’s health through learning, discovery, and communication. More than 400 faculty members are engaged in teaching and training the 1,000-plus student body in a broad spectrum of disciplines crucial to the health and well being of individuals and populations around the world. Programs and projects range from the molecular biology of AIDS vaccines to the epidemiology of cancer; from risk analysis to violence prevention; from maternal and children’s health to quality of care measurement; from health care management to international health and human rights. 

About the Lown Cardiovascular Foundation

Through education and global outreach, the Lown Cardiovascular Foundation promotes a cost-effective model of treatment that advocates prevention over costly, invasive treatments and nurtures the bonds of trust and compassion between doctor and patient.  The Foundation’s programs include innovative research projects, community-based health education initiatives and our global health communications program, ProCor.  The Lown Foundation is affiliated with the Lown Cardiovascular Group (LCG), a clinical cardiovascular practice whose staff and medical experts carry out the Foundation’s research. The collaboration between the Foundation and LCG, enhance the ability of both to engage in practices that integrate the philosophy of compassionate care with the latest medical breakthroughs.