Jennifer I. Downey is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University's College of Physicians & Surgeons in New York. She received her MD degree from Case-Western Reserve School of Medicine in 1976. She was a resident in Psychiatry at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and NY State Psychiatric Institute in 1978—1981 and was Chief Resident in Psychiatry in 1980-81. At Columbia she held a 5-year Research Scientist Development Award from the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Downey attended the Columbia Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, from which she graduated with a Certificate in Psychoanalysis in 1988.
She has been a researcher, educator and clinical scholar in the areas of women’s health, psychoanalysis, and sexuality. One of her first published articles demonstrated that peripheral sex hormones in heterosexual and homosexual women did not differ. This work, published in in the 1980’s in Hormones and Behavior, demonstrated that women of different sexual orientations could not be distinguished by physical perameters.
Dr. Downey then went on to carry out research in Turner Syndrome, a chromosomal condition affecting girls which causes infertility, as well as research in mental health effects of infertility in women. She wrote a series of highly respected papers and chapters on the reproductive cycle and psychiatric conditions in women. These works discussed not only infertility, but adolescent sexuality, premenstrual affective symptoms, the treatment of psychiatric disorders during pregnancy and post-partum, and cancers of the reproductive tract in women.
In the early 1990’s with Dr. Richard C. Friedman, Dr. Downey began to write about homosexuality. In 1994 they published an invited Special Article on Homosexuality in the New England Journal of Medicine. One of their articles on female homosexuality received an award from the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association as the Journal’s best publication of 1998. Their most recent book is "Sexual Orientation and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: Sexual Science and Clinical Practice," re-issued by Columbia University Press in 2008. Presently, she and Dr. Friedman are working on their next book, which concerns sexuality and dynamic psychotherapy. Jennifer Downey and Richard Friedman served as Co-chairs of the Human Sexuality Committee of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry (GAP) until 2015.
In 2008, she was named the first Victor Teichner Scholar for Teaching in Psychodynamic Psychiatry by the American Academy of Psychoanalysis & Dynamic Psychiatry. She was a visiting professor at the University of Kentucky in Lexington during 2009 - 2011.
In 2012 Dr. Downey became Deputy Editor of Psychodynamic Psychiatry, the journal published by the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry. Between May 2016 and May 2018 she served as President of the American Academy of Psychodynamic Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis.
Jennifer Downey lives and works in NYC where she teaches at Columbia University Medical Center and at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She practices psychodynamic psychiatry.