Episode 9: Pathways to Impact: Careers in Forensic and Correctional Psychology

Join Dr. Patricia Zapf as she interviews experts Dr. Monique Coleman and Dr. Virginia Barber Rioja on their career paths and insights into forensic and correctional psychology.

Episode 9: Pathways to Impact: Careers in Forensic and Correctional Psychology

Episode 9 | Pathways to Impact: Careers in Forensic and Correctional Psychology

In this episode, "Pathways to Impact: Careers in Forensic and Correctional Psychology," Dr. Patricia Zapf discusses the world of forensic and correctional psychology with experts. Dr. Virginia Barber Roja and Dr. Monique Coleman, with extensive experience in the field, share insights into addiction, mental health, and the legal system. From their unique career trajectories to daily activities and ethical considerations, listeners will gain invaluable knowledge about the intersections of psychology and law. This episode highlights the multifaceted realm of forensic psychology and its profound impact on individuals and society.

Join us on an inspiring journey with 'Talking Mental Health Careers' brought to you by Palo Alto University and CONCEPT, its Division of Continuing & Professional Studies

About Our Host

Dr. Patricia A. Zapf, Ph.D. is Vice President for Business Innovation & Strategic Advancement at Palo Alto University (PAU). Prior to coming to PAU she was a professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York (CUNY) for 16 years, during which time she was instrumental in the development of a new doctoral program in clinical psychology with an emphasis in forensic psychology and served as the program’s first Director of Clinical Training. Prior to her time at CUNY, she was on the psychology and law faculty at the University of Alabama. In 2009, Dr. Zapf founded CONCEPT Professional Training with the mission of elevating the level of practice in psychology and related professions. In 2018, Dr. Zapf brought CONCEPT Professional Training to Palo Alto University to further its mission of continuing professional studies in partnership with Palo Alto University.

About Our Guests

Guest 1 | Virginia Barber Rioja, PhD

Virginia Barber Rioja obtained her Ph.D. in clinical forensic psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York. For 7 years, she worked in the NYC jail system holding the positions of Co-Chief and Clinical Director of Mental Health, and Assistant Chief of Forensic Services for Correctional Health Services/NYC Health + Hospitals, which provides mental health treatment to the NYC jails and forensic assessment services to the NYC courts. She is also an adjunct assistant professor in the Psychology Department of New York University and the Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology of Teachers College, Columbia University. She has over 15 years of experience working in correctional and forensic contexts, including jails, forensic hospitals and alternative to incarceration and reentry programs. She also worked as a consultant for the juvenile correctional facilities in Puerto Rico. Currently, Dr. Barber Rioja consults for the Center for Justice Innovation as a Senior Clinical Policy Advisor and maintains an independent forensic practice involving consulting, training and forensic assessment in immigration, state, and federal court cases. She is an elected Member-At-Large of the American Psychology Law Society (APLS), a board member of the Asociación Iberoamericana de Justicia Terapéutica (Iberoamerican Association of Therapeutic Jurisprudence) and a former elected member of the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Legal Issues (COLI).

Guest 2 | Monique Coleman, PsyD

With over 20 years of experience, Dr. Coleman is the owner and CEO of Comprehensive Psycholegal Services, and is an expert witness, with experience conducting comprehensive psycholegal evaluations in criminal and civil forensic psychological cases for adults and juveniles. She has expertise in such areas as criminal competency, criminal responsibility, death penalty mitigation, and pre-trial & post-conviction mitigation. She works with individuals of all cultures and backgrounds. Some areas she specializes in are severe mental illness, mood disorders, and post-trauma. Dr. Coleman is also an expert presenter in forensic and clinical psychology topics and has presented in the U.S. and international markets. She has worked in inpatient and outpatient settings, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E) in federal and state detention centers, and state prisons conducting parole board evaluations, in addition to her private forensic practice. Dr. Coleman has also developed partnerships where she assists with providing trial consulting services in civil litigation cases, including focus groups, mock trials, witness preparation, and jury selection. She is board-licensed in Georgia and Louisiana and is a member of the American Psychological Association, American Psychology Law Society, and American Society of Trial Consultants.

Episode Resources


🎙️ Subscribe on your favorite podcast platform and let's build a brighter future in mental health together. 🎙️ 

Latest Episodes

Browse Latest Episodes

Episode 10: Pathways in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Careers

An educational podcast series brought to you by Palo Alto University & its Division of Continuing & Professional Studies.

Episode 8: Human Rights: Career Insights from Mental Health Experts

An educational podcast series brought to you by Palo Alto University & its Division of Continuing & Professional Studies.

Episode 7: Game-Changers: Exploring Careers in Sport and Performance Psychology

An educational podcast series brought to you by Palo Alto University & its Division of Continuing & Professional Studies.