American Psychiatric Association Names President-Elect, Rebecca W. Brendel, MD, JD

The American Psychiatric Association names their president-elect, Rebecca W. Brendel, MD, JD who will work for parity and practice, member engagement, accountability, professionalism, and self-regulation. She will assume the office of president in May 2022 at the APA Annual Meeting.

Rebecca W. Brendel, MD, JD has been named American Psychiatric Association (APA) President-Elect by the members of the APA. Dr Brendel is director of the Master’s Degree Program at the Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics, of which she is also an associate director. Her clinical work in psychiatry is based at Massachusetts General Hospital where she is the director of Law and Ethics at the Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior. She is also an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Her tenure will begin in May 2022.

“As a proud member of APA for nearly two decades, I am honored to have been elected to help lead this organization,” Dr Brendel said. “We have right now an unprecedented opportunity to advance psychiatric treatment in order to improve the lives of persons with mental illness, and to address the challenges before us to set the path forward for psychiatry’s promising future.”

An APA Distinguished Fellow, Dr Brendel is currently chair of APA’s Ethics Committee, vice-chair of the Massachusetts Medical Society Committee on Ethics, Grievances, and Professional Standards, and a member of the American Medical Association (AMA) Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs. She has also previously served as a parliamentarian of the APA Board of Trustees, member and Chair of the APA Committee on Bylaws, member of the APA Conflict of Interest Committee, and member of the APA delegation to the AMA.  

“Dr. Brendel’s dedication and passion for psychiatry will greatly benefit the APA during her tenure,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, MD, MPA. “APA members and the profession of psychiatry will be well-served by her leadership.”

Dr. Brendel earned her medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School. She completed her psychiatry residency at Massachusetts General and McLean Hospitals, a forensic psychiatry fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, and an ethics faculty fellowship at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard. She is admitted to the Massachusetts Bar.

Dr Brendel’s term as president-elect of the APA will begin May 2021 at the conclusion of the APA Annual Meeting. The meeting will feature Anthony Fauci, MD who will deliver the William C. Menninger Memorial Convocation lecture.


Dr. Rebecca W. Brendel Is Named APA President-Elect [press release]. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association; February 12, 2021.