In Memoriam: Dr. Sue Penfold, Professor Emerita


It is with deep sadness that we share the news that Dr. Sue Penfold, Professor Emerita, passed away on February 7, 2021.  Dr. Penfold first joined the UBC Department of Psychiatry as a resident in 1963, then notably became one of the department’s first female academic psychiatrists to be appointed to a full-faculty position in 1967.

In addition to her extensive research and teaching activities, Dr. Penfold served as the Division Head of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, was a prominent Child & Adolescent psychiatrist at BC Children’s Hospital, wrote two professional books and numerous journal articles, and was the inaugural chair of Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University. Furthermore, as a vocal feminist and a passionate advocate for victims of abuse by doctors and therapists, Dr. Penfold touched countless lives with her tireless devotion to these issues. After her retirement at age 78, she continued to volunteer for the Therapy Abuse Link Line and also lecture at a number of public engagements.

Born on February 11, 1936 in Wells-next-the-Sea, England, Dr. Penfold was one of a handful of women to obtain her medical degree in the Class of 1960 from St. Mary’s Medical School in London. She then went on to complete her psychiatry residency at both the University of Western Ontario and UBC, then completed a child psychiatry fellowship at the University of Washington in 1967 before returning to Vancouver to join our faculty. She is survived by her three children, Robert, Mary, and Paul Stephenson, to whom we send our sincere condolences.

If you wish to send a message to Dr. Penfold’s family, please do so by visiting her public memorial page here.