Systemic Inequities in Forensic Evaluations Conference
October 14th, 19th, & 26th
1:00 - 3:00 pm Eastern
Over the last year there has been a nationwide awakening to racial and discriminatory injustices against minorities in this country. Laws have been changed and policies have been enacted to set a new standard for our society. Many established institutions have publicly stated a change in their approach to become more culturally aware and to train their staff to do the same. To be culturally competent is a requirement for most medical professionals and those who frequently interact with diverse groups of people. The American Psychology Association loosely defines cultural competency as, “the ability to understand, appreciate and interact with people from cultures or belief systems different from one’s own” (DeAngelis, 2015). In other words, gaining more resources to better evaluate or assist your patients by understanding their cultural background.
This conference was created to improve knowledge and skills for forensic evaluators, mental health providers, and related professions. Our committee aimed to provide professionals with a space to think introspectively about how they interact with those that are racially and culturally different. Different topics will be covered during this conference, such as: trauma informed care, intellectual disabilities/ASD in forensic cases, and the impact of racial discrimination on adolescent mental health. Our key speakers will be Dr. Brian Sims, Dr. Antoinette Kavanagh, and Dr. Joette James. Historically, racial and ethnic minorities have not been treated properly in the medical field leading to significant hesitancy to receive medical aid that stretches across generations. With the implementation of this conference, our committee calls on forensic evaluators and mental health providers to take that extra step forward in recognizing the institutionalized boundaries patients face daily, and applying this knowledge in
Sessions are $10/session for students and $25/session for Professionals.
The registration fee includes 2 hours of live online instruction, continuing education credits, and e-copies of all meeting materials. These are live session only and take place on the specific date at the specified time. Non-attendees will not have access to recordings or on-demand versions of the program.
Save & bundle all three sessions by registering below
Evaluating Intellectual Disability & Autism Spectrum Disorder in Forensic Cases: Debunking the Stereotypes
Presented by: Joette James, Ph.D., ABPP-CN
October 14th, 2021
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Eastern
This session will focus on the role of psychologists and neuropsychologists in preparing evidence of Intellectual Disability (ID) and Autism Spectrum Disorder in a variety of forensic cases, with a particular emphasis on addressing common stereotypes. Since the 2002 Atkins v. Virginia case, ID is a bar to the death penalty. Using the two “gold” standards, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) and the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD- 12th Edition), forensic psychologists are tasked with determining whether clients meet each prong for the diagnosis, which includes deficits in intellectual functioning, deficits in adaptive functioning, and the onset of ID symptoms in the developmental period. Unfortunately, stereotypes related to ID abound, both in terms of the diagnosis generally, and also specifically with respect to the diagnosis of ID in individuals of color. This is a pressing issue: African Americans constitute 42% of death row inmates while comprising only 13% of the population of the United States.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder in which social and communication deficits feature prominently. In 2020, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that approximately 1 in 54 children are diagnosed with ASD. Like ID, the variability in clinical presentation gives rise to stereotyped notions of the condition, such as the nonverbal individual with superior skills in a particular domain. Further, like ID, ASD is often misdiagnosed in children of color.
Looking through a Trauma-Informed Lens in Forensic Evaluations
Presented by: Brian Sims, M.D.
October 19th, 2021
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Eastern
Do you believe the people you are serving? This session will focus on the dynamic between trauma-informed care and forensic assessments. Trauma is defined as, “individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that are experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being” (NASMHPD, 2019). In the lens of a forensic evaluator, you are tasked with looking beyond the surface level as the experience of different cultures and customs result in different behaviors.
Traumatic events such as abuse, loss, and chronic stressors impact how one responds and should be considered in the evaluation. Understanding and emphasizing a patients’ trauma is a key component missing in many evaluations, and the approach one takes determines the provider-evaluee relationship and the revelation of these life experiences. This discussion will explore different approaches to assessing for trauma and then how to incorporate that when writing the forensic assessment result.
The Impact of Systemic Racism/Discrimination on Adolescent Mental Health
Presented by: Antoinette Kavanaugh Ph.D.
October 26th, 2021
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Eastern
This session will address the historical context of systemic racism in forensic evaluations and its impact on the assessment of adolescents. Racism is embedded in every institution, it is prevalent in our educational system, political system, and the healthcare system. Historical events such as the dissolution of slavery, desegregation, gerrymandering, and inadequate access to basic needs in poorer communities have led to deeply rooted racism in the healthcare field. This deeply rooted system breeds certain perceptions and beliefs leading to tangible disparities. We will discuss how implicit and explicit biases have lasting effects on our youth and on how we evaluate them.
Dr. Joette James is a licensed psychologist and clinical neuropsychologist. She completed her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, her internship at Harvard Medical School/Boston Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric neuropsychology at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. Dr. James is currently an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at George Washington University.
Clinically, her area of specialization is in the diagnosis and neuropsychological assessment of children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dr. James has obtained research reliability on both the Autism Diagnostic Observations Schedule (ADOS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R). Her research interests include executive functioning in individuals with high-functioning Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome and the development of psychosocial interventions for this population. Dr. James also has extensive experience in the neuropsychological evaluation of children, adolescents, and adults with specific learning disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, executive functioning problems, and neurological disorders such as brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, and epilepsy. Dr. James currently serves as the chief inpatient and outpatient neuropsychologist at HSC Pediatric Center, a sub-acute rehabilitation facility in Washington, DC that is affiliated with Children’s National Medical Center. In addition, Dr. James maintains a private practice in forensic neuropsychological consultation and has testified as an expert on a variety of cases, including death penalty litigation, competency to stand trial, and juvenile waiver/transfer.
Dr. James doesn’t have a lot of published work, but she was given numerous presentations that could be beneficial to this conference. “Neuropsychology 101: What Every Defense Attorney Should Know.” Presentation to the Maryland CJA Attorney Conference, Greenbelt, Maryland (November 2011) and “Intellectual Disabilities: What Every Defense Attorney Should Know” Presentation to the Public Defender Service of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC (June 2010) summarize that the importance of understanding those with autism and other intellectual disabilities to better represent them.
Live Event Policy
When registering, use an email that is active and that you check regularly.
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We will refund any registrations canceled up to October 1st at 6:00 PM EST, less $5 to cover the costs of processing.
Students: If you are in financial need and would like to request a scholarship for the conference, please complete the form here.
Please conduct yourself in a professional manner throughout the event. Our goal is to make this as interactive an experience as possible for all who attend. We reserve the right to remove any participants who are disruptive or who act unprofessionally.