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Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College

Trustee of the American Psychiatric Association

Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst, United Nations


I am honored to be nominated for President-Elect of the APA. I have worked in APA governance for much of my professional life and have participated in its growth. I believe that building bridges, both within the profession and across medicine, to include all identity groups, is crucial to psychiatry. The greatest value comes from listening and establishing consensus. I am optimistic about the future of psychiatry and the contribution that the APA makes to the wellbeing of patients, families and psychiatrists.

I have an extensive and longstanding commitment to the APA in the areas of government relations, public affairs, academic, private and global psychiatry. As President, I will draw upon my decades long experience in APA leadership to address the issues facing psychiatry today. 

 For example, psychiatrists are increasingly burdened by insurance inequities and regulatory burdens. This is leading to burn out, especially affecting those in their early careers. As President, I will use my legislative and public affairs experience in APA positions at local, state and national levels to address these issues. I believe that we can improve our professional practice and thereby the lives of our patients.

As President, I will work to improve private, academic and public psychiatry. In the private domain, I will pursue plans to implement full parity and equitable reimbursement. In the academic domain, I will seek to increase graduate medical education funding, research funding and the workforce. In the domain of public psychiatry I will address issues of social and criminal justice. I will continue to spearhead efforts to educate healthcare, first responders and law enforcement about mental health in areas that encompass trauma, violence, substance use, and individuals with special needs.

Racism, sexism, misogyny and gender-based discrimination are significant factors that have resulted in health inequities for many of our colleagues and patients. All underrepresented groups are entitled to have their voices heard by the APA and their interests recognized.  Women’s mental health, for example, is a long neglected issue that must be comprehensively addressed, including the intersectional identities that lead to even greater disenfranchisement.  As President, I will promote inclusion, equality and diversity in our profession.

We must especially protect children from abuse and neglect by identifying those at risk for adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Families should benefit from the education that the APA provides to communities.  Early identification and mitigation of such root causes of mental illness can decrease future morbidity.  By raising awareness through education, we can reduce the stigma associated with treatable disorders. As President, I will focus on prevention and early identification of mental illness and childhood trauma. In my current role as APA representative at the United Nations, I have worked to promote policies to enhance our outreach to psychiatrists globally and to expand our research efforts with larger communities of patients. As President, I will promote the exploration of integrated global models of psychiatric care to ensure universal access to mental healthcare and human rights.

Voting will take place in the month of January 2020. I would appreciate your support. Please remember to vote!

Experienced Leader

Past Representative, APA Assembly

Past Treasurer, APA Political Action Committee

Chair / Member of APA components on:

• Diversity

• Health Equity

• Inclusion and International Psychiatry

Past President, Cornell - Payne Whitney Faculty Council

Member of the American Medical Association

Represents the International Psychoanalytical Association and the APA at the United Nations as a Special Advisor



Strong Advocate

Dr. Pender is a passionate voice advocating for inclusion, diversity and equality. 

As a volunteer psychiatrist for 10 years, she treated homeless individuals with mental illness. A strong advocate for victims of domestic violence, she has participated in many asylum applications in Federal Immigration Court.

She was a champion for women when she chaired the NGO Committee on the Status of Women. Vivian was instrumental in the establishment of UN Women, marking a groundbreaking change in the UN’s priorities by addressing the needs of women.

Vivian Pender is also spearheading efforts to address current challenges from non-clinical interest groups.

She believes in building bridges within the profession and that the greatest value comes from consensus.

Effective Educator

Vivian is involved with APA priorities on the changing science of psychiatric illness. She has been a distinguished speaker on many current issues including gun violence, human trafficking, and early signs of mental illness. 

A widely published author, Dr. Pender has written journal articles, book chapters and edited a book on women’s mental health. She has also received honors and awards teaching medical students and trainees. As a training and supervising psychoanalyst at Columbia University, Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, she has educated a number of psychoanalytic candidates. 

As the founder of Healthcare Against Trafficking, Inc., Vivian has worked to raise awareness of the role that healthcare plays in this public health issue. 

Vivian is optimistic about the future when intersectional groups are well informed and represented.