Leena Akhtar is a graduate of the PhD program in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University, with a secondary field with the Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Prior to this, she received an MA in Cultural History from the University of London and an advanced certificate in Trauma and Violence Transdisciplinary Studies from New York University. After spending several years working in finance, she was the Director of Exhibits and Archives at the Museum of American Finance from 2008-2011.
Her scholarly interests focus on the history of medicine and mid to late 20th century psychiatry, particularly trauma psychiatry. Her dissertation is about the impact of Second Wave feminist activism on understandings of rape survivors, and trauma survivors more broadly, in the 1970s-- work that has been influenced and informed by her six years as a rape crisis counselor and emergency room advocate in Pittsburgh and New York City.
In addition to a long standing interest in the history of psychiatry, she is interested in historical and cultural changes in ideas around gender-based violence, as well as issues surrounding harassment and discrimination in the workplace. As a lecturer at Harvard, she taught seminars on power-based violence and on the history of trauma psychiatry. She is also the founder and principal of Boston-based consultancy The Greater Us.