Dr. Susan Vaughan appointed as Aaron Stern, MD, PhD, Professor of Psychodynamic Psychiatry

We are delighted to announce that Susan C. Vaughan, M.D., will be joining the full-time faculty of Weill Cornell Medicine as the next Aaron Stern, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Psychodynamic Psychiatry and the Director of the Aaron Stern, M.D., Ph.D., Program in Psychodynamic Psychiatry.  Dr. Vaughan is distinguished psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, educator, and scholar.  She has written three best-selling books: The Talking Cure: The Science Behind Psychotherapy about how psychotherapy changes the brain, Half Empty Half Full about optimism and Viagra: A Guide to the Phenomenal Potency-promoting Drug

Dr. Vaughan is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons where she serves as the Director of Columbia University’s Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.  She is also a training and supervising analyst at the Columbia Center. Dr. Vaughan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and received her medical degree from Columbia’ Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (Alpha Omega Alpha).  Following medical school, Dr. Vaughan remained at Columbia where she completed her psychiatry residency, an NIMH-funded research fellowship in affective and anxiety disorders, and psychoanalytic training.  She currently resides in New York City with her wife Deborah Wasser and their daughters, Savannah and Whittier.

The mission of the Aaron Stern, M.D., Ph.D. Program in Psychodynamic Psychiatry is to advance training and education of psychodynamic approaches to treat personality disorders.  Made possible by a generous gift by Aaron Stern, M.D., Ph.D., and Betty Lee Stern, the Stern Program builds on Weill Cornell Psychiatry’s excellence in the tradition of psychodynamic psychiatry.  Dr. Vaughan succeeds Dr. Elizabeth Auchincloss who served as the Founding Director of the program prior to her transition to the voluntary faculty last year. 

Dr. Vaughan has been on the Adjunct faculty of Weill Cornell Medicine since 2015 and will transition to the full-time faculty to begin her new role in the Fall of 2022.  

As we emerge from the challenges of the last two years, Dr. Vaughan’s appointment gives rise to an exciting new chapter in the life of the department.  I look forward to further expansion of our leadership team and to welcoming new talent who will help lead us toward a successful future.




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