Dr. Bandy Lee is a medical doctor, a forensic psychiatrist, and a world expert on violence who taught at Yale School of Medicine and Yale Law School for 17 years before transferring recently to Columbia and Harvard. She became known to the public by leading a group of mental health professional colleagues in breaking the silence about the immediate past U.S. president’s dangerous psychology and publishing the New York Times bestseller, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President” (Macmillan, 2017 and 2019). The volume proceeded from an ethics conference she organized at Yale School of Medicine, which led to her consulting with over 50 members of the U.S. Congress. She is currently president of the World Mental Health Coalition, the largest professional organization to address the problem of dangerous leadership and its contribution to a “mental health pandemic.”
During medical school, she also obtained a divinity degree to expand her understanding of the human condition and later did a fellowship in social psychiatry. Trained at Yale and Harvard Universities, she was chief resident at Massachusetts General Hospital and a research fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health. At Yale Law School, she taught clinical courses covering the mental health aspects of asylum law, criminal justice, and veteran legal services. Her clinical practice consists of psychiatric services at maximum-security prisons and in state hospitals, in addition to working as an expert witness for civil and criminal courts. At Yale College, she was a popular professor who taught the Global Health Studies course, “Violence: Causes and Cures.” Most recently, she accepted the invitation to co-found an institute on violence prevention at Union Theological Seminary with multiple world experts in the field.
She served as Director of Research for the Center for the Study of Violence (Harvard, U. Penn., N.Y.U., and Yale), co-founded Yale’s Violence and Health Study Group at the MacMillan Center for International Studies, and has led an academic collaborators project for the World Health Organization’s Violence Prevention Alliance, helping to translate scholarship into implementation and to support research in low- and middle-income countries. She has consulted with governments on prison reform and community violence prevention, such as for France, Ireland, Alabama, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. She has also played a key role in initiating reforms at Rikers Island, a correctional facility in New York City known for extreme levels of violence.
She authored what is considered the most comprehensive textbook on the subject to date, “Violence: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Causes, Consequences, and Cures” (Wiley-Blackwell, 2019) and published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, 17 edited scholarly books and journal special issues, and over 300 op-eds in outlets such as the Guardian, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Independent, and Politico. The World Mental Health Coalition is an educational organization that assembles mental health experts to collaborate with other disciplines for the betterment of public mental health and public safety. It attempts to step in where the psychiatric establishment failed in societal leadership, or profited (as did the American Psychiatric Association) by protecting powerful political figures over the public. Her present goals center around educating the public on mental health matters for empowerment and self-governance.
She owes great debt to her maternal grandfather, Dr. Geun-Young Lee, a renowned physician who helped reconstruct South Korea after the war, and to her mother, Dr. Inmyung Lee, who extended his philosophical legacy to the United States, a country she admired and adopted for its historic ability to place principle over tribe.