Victor Sidel, a physician who campaigned to bring attention to the medical consequences of nuclear war, poverty and other social issues, died Jan. 30 in suburban Denver. He was 86.

His son, Mark Sidel, said his father had moved to Greenwood Village, Colo., from New York last year.

Dr. Sidel was a founding member of Physicians for Social Responsibility, the U.S. branch of a worldwide group that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for working to prevent nuclear war.

He also served as president of the American Public Health Association and worked for many years at Montefiore Medical Center, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Weill Cornell Medical College, all in New York.


He was a leader in community and social medicine at those institutions, and he described his mission as educating doctors about the effects of environmental, political and social influences on the health of their patients.


“All human beings have a right to social justice, peace, full employment and humane services,” he once told the reference guide Contemporary Authors.

“All of us, as human beings, have a duty to fight for changes in control of wealth and power to make this possible. I believe, with Frederick Douglass, ‘If there is no struggle, there is no progress.’ ”

Victor William Sidel, whose parents were pharmacists, was born July 7, 1931.


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He graduated from Princeton University in 1953 and from Harvard Medical School in 1957. He wrote and edited many books and had contributed more than 150 articles and reviews to professional and popular publications.

His wife of 60 years, the former Ruth Grossman, died in 2016.

Survivors include two sons and three grandchildren.

— From staff reports
and news services