Melissa Bender is a documentary photographer and visual storyteller with a medical background. Based in New York City, she is a contributing photographer to Just Security, an online forum about U.S. national security law and policy. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, BuzzFeed News, Meidas Touch Network, Variety, WPIX New York, Cosmopolitan, Unfixed Media, Reading the Pictures (blog), DeSmog (blog), 1814 Magazine, as well as the 2016 "#ICPWeThePeople" exhibit at the International Center of Photography (juried by Alison Morley). Melissa’s photographs have been featured on social media by organizations including: Women's March, ACLU, Indivisible Guide, NOW-NYC, Ultraviolet, No IDC NY, Public Citizen, Rise and Resist, CAIR New York, Photograph Magazine, Democracy is for People, The Glass Magazine, Flak Photo Network, Pantsuit Nation, NYC Muslim-Jewish Solidarity Committee, the #girlgaze project, Her Side of the Street (@womeninstreet), Women's Photo Alliance, Female Collective, Muslim Women's Alliance, and others. Melissa’s photograph "Voice" was selected as a winner of the Soho Photo Gallery National Competition 2017 (juried by Aline Smithson) and was on view in the gallery's group exhibition. 

Melissa holds an AB in Government from Harvard College, an MD from Harvard Medical School, and an MPH from the Harvard-Chan School of Public Health. In 2015, after a fifteen-year career in academic medicine and medical education on topics at the intersection of health and poverty, she turned to the study of documentary photography at the International Center of Photography. Melissa is based in NYC.

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