Skip to content

Rebecca W. Brendel, M.D., J.D

Rebecca W. Brendel, M.D., J.D

Past President, 2023 – 2026

Rebecca Weintraub Brendel M.D., J.D., is Immediate Past President of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Dr. Brendel is Director of the Master of Bioethics Program and Associate Director of the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School. She bases her clinical and forensic psychiatry practice at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she is Director of Law and Ethics at the Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior. She is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Brendel is also admitted to the Massachusetts Bar. She is past Medical Director of the One Fund Center for Boston Marathon bombing survivors at Massachusetts General Hospital and past Clinical Director of the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program for returning veterans and their families.

Dr. Brendel is a Distinguished Fellow of the APA. Prior to assuming her position on the APA Board of Trustees, Dr. Brendel served as Chair of the APA Ethics Committee from 2019 to 2021. She has previously served as Parliamentarian to the APA Board of Trustees, Chair of the APA Ad Hoc Workgroup on Ethics (2014-2015), member of the APA-AMA Delegation, and Chair of the APA Bylaws Committee. She is a fellow and past president of the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry (2018-2019), of which she served on the Board from 2010 to 2020. Dr. Brendel is incoming Chair of the Massachusetts Medical Society Committee on Ethics, Grievances, and Professional Standards and an appointed member of the American Medical Association Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA).

Dr. Brendel is a past Councilor and Ethics Committee Member of the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society. She has also served on the Massachusetts Bar Association Health Law Section Council and Mental Health Law Committee and in consultative roles to the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court, the One Fund Boston, and the Federation of State Medical Boards. Informed by her medical, legal, and ethics training and experience, Dr. Brendel writes, teaches, sits on journal editorial boards, and lectures nationally and internationally on critical topics at the intersection of psychiatry, ethics, human rights, and law.

Awards and Honors

  • Janet Glasgow Memorial Award, American Medical Women's Association (2000)
  • Outstanding Achievement Award in Medicine, University of Chicago (2000)
  • Paul Howard Award, Massachusetts General and McLean Hospitals (2004)
  • Mel Kayse Psychotherapy Award, Massachusetts General and McLean Hospitals (2004)
  • Alan Stoudemire Award, Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry (2008)
  • Isaac Ray Award, Massachusetts Guardianship Association (2009)
  • Raymond W. Waggoner, MD, Lecture on Ethics and Values in Medicine, University of Michigan (2018)
  • Visiting Professor Award, Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry (2020)


  • Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Yale College
  • Juris Doctor, University of Chicago
  • Doctor of Medicine, University of Chicago
  • Preliminary Medicine Internship, Brigham and Women's/ Faulkner Hospitals
  • Psychiatry Residency, Massachusetts General/ McLean Hospitals
  • Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship, Harvard/ Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Faculty Fellowship in Ethics, Edmond J. Safra Center, Harvard University

Medical leadership for mind, brain and body.

Join Today