This year's Barsky Award Winner: Sir Michael Marmot


Previous Barsky Award Winners:
Dr. Bernard Lown
Dr. Charles Clements
The Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees

Dr. Rocio Huet-Vaughn
The Ministry of Health of Cuba
The Ministry of Health of Nicaragua
The African National Congress,
Dr. Milton Terris
Richard Garfield, RN, PhD 1998
Gerald T. Keusch, M.D. 2000
Robert Evans, Ph.D. 2001
Leonard S. Rubenstein, JD 2006
Douglas Gwatidzo, MD 2007

Les Roberts PhD 2008

Mardge Cohen MD 2009

Stephen Gloyd, MD 2010 


Dr. Edward Barksy Award

Physician Activist



Edward K. Barsky (1897-1975) was a prominent physician who led a group of American medical volunteers in Spain during the Civil War. After the war, he served as Chairman of the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee (JAFRC), an organization dedicated to aiding Spanish refugees. In this role, he lobbied the U.S. leadership on behalf of the deposed Republican government. Barsky and the entire board of JAFRC were charged with contempt of Congress and convicted in June 1947 for refusing to turn over the group’s records. Barsky was sentenced to six months in prison. Following his release, the New York Board of Regents moved to suspend his medical license, a decision that was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1954.


Barsky remained committed to progressive causes throughout his life. In 1952, he worked on behalf of the American Labor Party and its candidate, Vincent Hallihan, who was chief counsel for Harry Bridges and at the time of the election was serving a six months sentence for contempt of congress. During the 1960s, Barsky was active with the Medical Committee for Human Rights, which provided emergency medical services for civil rights and peace movement workers in the South. He was also affiliated with the New York labor movement, working for many years as a security plan panel physician for District Council 65. In 1967, the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade marked their 30th anniversary with a tribute honoring Barsky's achievements on behalf the Spanish Republic. Barsky continued his professional relationship with Beth Israel Hospital throughout the remainder of his life, serving as consulting surgeon in his later years. On February 11, 1975, Edward Barsky died at the age of 78.


William O Douglas, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in dissent


“Neither the security of the state nor the well-being of her citizens justified this infringement of fundamental rights . . . When a doctor cannot save lives in America because he is opposed to Franco in Spain, it is time to call a halt and look critically at the neurosis that has possessed us.” 


Barsky Award

Sir Michael Marmot