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Vivian B. Pender, M.D.

Vivian B. Pender, M.D.

Past President, 2022 – 2025

Vivian B. Pender, M.D. is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Weill Cornell Medical College and a Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst at Columbia University. Dr. Pender has mentored and taught medical students, graduate students, residents, fellows and post-graduates for thirty-five years.

A Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Pender served as the Trustee for New York to the Board of Trustees from 2014-2020. Since 1985, she has served in leadership roles in the APA on the Committee on Women, Committee on Private Practice, Legislative Committee, Public Affairs, Finance and Budget Committee and the APA Political Action Committee. She also served on groups that focused on parity, confidentiality, special delivery settings, education, psychotherapy, advocacy, litigation and funding, international psychiatry, and women’s mental health. She was a member of the APA Assembly, representing NY County from 2006-2014.

At the United Nations Dr. Pender represents the International Psychoanalytical Association and the American Psychiatric Association, both associations designated NGOs with Special Consultative Status. From 2007-11 Dr. Pender was Chair of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, a coalition of 100 non-governmental organizations affiliated with the UN. From 2015-19 she was Chair of the NGO Committee on Mental Health, also a coalition of NGOs with the UN. She is a registered consultant with the UN. She has produced four documentaries of conferences she organized at the United Nations on mental health, human rights, human trafficking and intergenerational transmission of violence. Since 2015 she has been a Special Advisor of the APA to the UN.

In 2015, Dr. Pender founded Healthcare Against Trafficking, Inc. a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting education and advocacy in the healthcare sector. To this end she has presented Grand Rounds and symposia on the prevention of child abuse. Dr. Pender organized, directed and produced Human Trafficking: Training Healthcare for Policy and Prevention, a webinar available to the public on Vimeo and YouTube. She is a co-investigator on a Weill Cornell Department of Internal Medicine innovative grant to study "Experiences of Sex Trafficking Victims in Healthcare Settings."

Dr. Pender is a volunteer Asylum Evaluator with the Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights, a medical student run network organization of Physicians for Human Rights. She was a volunteer psychiatrist with Psychiatric Outreach to the Homeless. She is a volunteer with New York Cares and the Medical Reserve Corps. She served in medical missions in twenty countries in Africa. She is active in many professional organizations including the American Psychoanalytic Association, the International Psychoanalytical Association, the American College of Psychoanalysts, the Payne Whitney Faculty Council, the American Association of University Women, the Association of Women Psychiatrists, the Medical Society of the State of New York, Committee for Physician Health and the American Medical Association.

She has published journal articles and book chapters on pregnancy, affect, child abuse, sex trafficking, and leadership. In 2016 her book, The Status of Women: Violence, Identity and Activism was published. She is currently working on two books entitled Healthcare Against Sex Trafficking: Law, Medicine and Social Justice and Exploitation of Women and Children. One of her ongoing projects is to standardize a global psychiatry curriculum for graduate training. She has four children and six grandchildren.

Awards and Honors

  • 2010 Honorary Member, American College of Psychoanalysts
  • 2012 Nancy A. Roeske American Psychiatric Association Award for Excellence in Medical Student Teaching
  • 2013 APA Human Rights Award Nominee
  • 2013 Columbia University, John O’Connor Award, Excellence in Teaching Medical Students
  • 2016 Weill Cornell Rogers Colloquium Award
  • 2016 Presidential Award of Distinction, International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation
  • 2017 Keynote Speaker: Crossroads International, Toronto, Canada
  • 2018 Keynote Speaker: SASSY (Students Against the Sexual Exploitation of Youth), Cornell University: Ithaca, New York
  • 2020 Albert M. Biele, M.D. Lecturer in Psychiatry, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia


  • Doctor of Medicine, Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA Intern in Medicine, Philadelphia General Hospital, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Resident in Internal Medicine, New England Deaconess Hospital, Boston, MA Resident in Psychiatry, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
  • Candidate in Psychoanalysis, Columbia University, Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, New York, N.Y.

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