Mission and Values

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Pennsylvania promotes social responsibility by protecting health, the environment and communities through education, training, direct service, and advocacy.

PSR Pennsylvania is a public health, 501c3 non-profit organization which fulfills its mission through programs focused on health and the environment and working with youth. Comprised of a variety of health professionals, PSR Pennsylvania is uniquely equipped to speak to threats posed to public health in our region.  Our program directors have cultivated programs that are innovative, cost-effective and offer services and a voice to our community and the region that simply would not exist otherwise. Indeed, while phrases like “First, do no harm,” sound good, in reality the bottom line is often considered the most important measure of progress or success.  Our programs are preventive in nature and seek to address upstream problems that are difficult to solve later on.

“The imperatives of social responsibility are very clear:

1. We must diagnose and manage the negative impacts generated by our organisations;

2. We must do so in networks of co-responsibility that link us to all the actors who can help us reduce and eventually eliminate these negative impacts; and

3. Our ultimate goal is to work together to build a more just and sustainable society for our fellow human beings and distant descendants.”

— Francois Vallaeys,
Global University Network for Innovation

PSR Pennsylvania abides by

the Precautionary Principle

The Precautionary Principle is a strategy to cope with possible risks where scientific understanding is yet incomplete, such as the risks of nano technology, genetically modified organisms and systemic insecticides.


The Precautionary Principle is defined as follows:

When human activities may lead to morally unacceptable harm that is scientifically plausible but uncertain, actions shall be taken to avoid or diminish that harm.  Morally unacceptable harm refers to harm to humans or the environment that is

  • threatening to human life or health, or

  • serious and effectively irreversible, or

  • inequitable to present or future generations, or

  • imposed without adequate consideration of the human rights of those affected.

The judgement of plausibility should be grounded in scientific analysis.  Analysis should be ongoing so that chosen actions are subject to review.  Uncertainty may apply to, but need not be limited to, causality or the bounds of the possible harm.


Actions are interventions that are undertaken before harm occurs that seek to avoid or diminish the harm. Actions should be chosen that are proportional to the seriousness of the potential harm, with consideration of their positive and negative consequences, and with an assessment of the moral implications of both action and inaction. The choice of action should be the result of a participatory process.


UNESCO COMEST report The Precautionary Principle (Retrieved from

“Where an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.”

— Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle