Kelly Posner Gerstenhaber, Ph.D.

Founder and Director

Dr. Kelly Posner is a Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University and her work is saving lives all over the globe across 6 continents. The President of the American Psychiatric Association noted her work with the Columbia Protocol could be “like the introduction of antibiotics.” The U.S. Department of Defense said that her work is “nothing short of a miracle” and stated “her effective model of improving the world will help propel us closer to a world without suicide.” The CDC noted that her work is “changing the paradigm in suicide risk assessment in the US and worldwide.”

Dr. Posner’s work has been noted in a keynote speech at the White House and in Congressional hearings, and she gave the lead presentation in a forum on school safety at the U.S. Senate in her partnership with the Parkland community. Through her advocacy she has changed local, national and international policy, which in turn has helped achieve reductions in suicide across all sectors of society. Israeli government officials said her work “is not only saving millions of lives but in Israel it is literally changing the way we live our lives.”

She gave the invited presentation on tackling depression and suicide at the first European Union high level conference on mental health, was recognized as the Most Distinguished Alumna of her graduate school at Yeshiva University in the past 50 years, and received the New York State Suicide Prevention Award. She was also named one of New York Magazine’s “Most Influential.”

The Columbia Protocol was developed in the context of an important NIMH effort to fill a gap in the field that had never been filled before. Now it is policy across all 50 states, federal agencies, and most countries and has led to reductions in suicide across all sectors of society. The FDA has characterized her work as “setting a standard in the field” and a lead article in The New York Times called it “one of the most profound changes of the past sixteen years to regulations governing drug development.” Her scholarly work has been included in the compendium of the most important research in the history of the study of suicide.

In 2018, Dr. Posner was awarded The Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service.