Melissa Bender is a documentary photographer and visual storyteller who previously had a career as an infectious disease physician. Her work probes questions surrounding race, privilege, and identity. Based in New York City, she is a contributing photographer to NurPhoto Agency and Just Security, an online forum about U.S. national security law and policy. Her images have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, CNN, PBS Newshour, BuzzFeed News, Unfixed Media, WPIX New York, Texas Public Radio, Cosmopolitan, and on newswires including Reuters, AP, and AFP.  Melissa’s photographs have been featured on social media by organizations including: Women's March, ACLU, Indivisible Guide, NOW-NYC, Ultraviolet, Public Citizen, Rise and Resist, CAIR New York, Photograph Magazine, Muslim Women's Alliance, Israelis for Peace NYC, 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 lives in NYC with her husband and two children. 

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