2015 AP-LS Conference

2015 AP-LS conference information

Information for the 2015 AP-LS annual meeting

By Nancy Panza, PhD, and Chris Finello

Greetings AP-LS Members

The 2015 AP-LS annual meeting will be held from March 19 to 21 at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter Hotel in beautiful San Diego, California. Please visit the AP-LS conference website for all the details you need to plan your trip.

In case you need enticing, here are the top five reasons you should be excited about this conference:

Exciting plenary speakers

We have three really different and really interesting plenary talks planned for the conference.

On Thursday, March 19 from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Dr. Patty Zapf has arranged for Dr. Lee Goldstein, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Biomedical Engineering at Boston University to come give our Presidential Plenary Address. Dr. Goldstein received a bachelor’s degree in humanities and biology from Columbia University and went on to complete his medical and doctoral training at Yale University. Dr. Goldstein completed an internal medicine internship and residency program in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He was previously an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, as well as the Director of the Molecular Aging & Development Laboratory and Center for Biometals & Metallomics at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston. Dr. Goldstein joined the Boston University School of Medicine, College of Engineering, Photonics Center, and the BU ADC in December 2007. Dr. Goldstein will present a talk focusing on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in Athletes, Veterans and Those Who Are Involved in the Criminal Justice System.

On Friday, March 20 from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Dr. Itiel Dror will present our 2nd plenary address. Dr. Dror is a cognitive neuroscientist who obtained his PhD at Harvard University. His interests focus on how the brain and cognitive systems perceive and interpret information, and his work focuses on the cognitive architecture that underpins expertise. He researches expert performance in the real world, examining medical surgeons, military fighter pilots, frontline police, and forensic examiners. Dr. Dror's research provides insights into the inherent trade-offs of being an expert. In the forensic domain, he has demonstrated how contextual information can influence the judgments and decision making of experts; he has shown that even fingerprint and DNA experts can reach different conclusions when the same evidence is presented within different extraneous contexts.

Dr. Dror will present a talk entitled: The Psychology and Impartiality of Forensic Expert Decision Making: When Justice is Not Blind. Here’s a little peek into what his talk will entail: Traditionally psychology & law has focused on many issues in which psychology is relevant and influential. However, experts’ decision making has been left alone because they are highly valued and regarded to provide impartial and objective evidence. In this talk, the case will be made that understanding the way forensic and other experts think and how the brain processes information, offers insights to circumstances in which evidence may be far from objective or being impartial. Research has well established this problem, demonstrating that in real casework, many different types of psychological contaminations affect experts in the criminal justice system, including fingerprinting and DNA forensic laboratory decision making. Research can help identify such weaknesses and provide practical ways to mitigate them.

On Saturday, March 21 from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Mr. John Philipsborn, an internationally recognized defense attorney from San Francisco, California, will present a talk entitled: We Have Heard Your Jargon, Now Hear Ours: The Takeway From Recent Rulings on Mental Health Evidence. For more than 30 years, Mr. Philipsborn has concentrated on defending criminal cases in trial courts and on appeal. He is extensively published, has earned many top honors in the legal arena, and has argued cases at all levels within the justice system. He is highly respected for his professionalism, skills, and ethics and has been awarded an AV® PreeminentTM Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®, the highest recognition possible in the legal industry. Here’s a summary of what will be covered in his address: This session, presented by an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has litigated capital cases across the U.S., will review recent court rulings emphasizing those from federal courts that have addressed: assessment of intellectual disability; assessment of competence to stand trial; and examination of mental state at the time of the offense. Focus will be placed on courts' application of gateway legal tests for admitting mental health expertise; where and why courts have excluded mental health experts’ testimony; as well as on analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of experts’ testimony. Several of the cases discussed will be recently litigated capital cases.

Fantastic preconference CE workshops

If those three plenary talks alone aren’t enough to have you booking your flight, check out these preconference workshops. We’ve got an all-star lineup of presenters assembled.

All workshops will take place at the conference hotel on Wednesday, March 18. Four workshops will last the full day (8:30-4:30, worth 7.5 CEUs) and two workshops will be half day with one in the morning and one in the afternoon (8:30-12, 1-4:30, each worth 3.5 CEUs). Please see the conference website for descriptions of each program and for details on the methods and costs of registering for these workshops.

Full day workshops:

Workshop A: Quality Considerations in Conducting Juvenile Forensic Evaluations
Presenter: Kirk Heilbrun, PhD

Workshop B: Expert Testimony
Presenter: Randy Otto, PhD

Workshop C: Evidence-Based Trauma-Specific Services for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System: Bringing the TARGET Model to Youth, Staff, and Key Stakeholders
Presenters: Julian Ford, PhD, ABPP and Judith Ford, MA

Workshop D: Advanced Issues in Violence Risk Assessment and Management
Presenter: Stephen Hart, PhD

Half day workshops:

Workshop E: Ethics in Forensic Practice
Presenter: Gerald P. Koocher, PhD, ABPP

Workshop F: Core Competencies in Suicide Risk Assessment and Management: A Workshop for Psychological Professionals
Presenter:  Robert J. Cramer, PhD

Terrific committee sessions

Each year representatives from many of our committees highlight the important work within their areas by planning and sponsoring programs. This year, our committee chairs and members have put together an impressive collection of speakers who will present at various sessions throughout the conference. Here are some of the highlights. (Please see the program as it becomes finalized closer to conference time for the complete listing of dates and times for these sessions.)

  • Dr. Patty Zapf will give her Presidential Address focusing on Broadening Our Scope and Expanding Our Reach: Bringing Psychology and Law to the Masses in which she will discuss way in which we can continue to move our organization forward. Specifically, she will discuss how we need to think like a business and start incorporating planful, targeted communications to various groups in order to expand the scope and reach of our field.
  • The Teaching, Training, Careers Committee has put together a symposium entitled: Psychology and Law in the Classroom: Innovations in Teaching and Learning which will provide an overview of two non-traditional approaches to teaching and learning in the area of psychology and law: experiential simulations and prison exchange courses. In addition to providing faculty and student perspectives on these unique classroom experiences, empirical evidence of their effectiveness will be presented and logistical considerations for implementing and/or advocating for such courses at various institutions will be discussed.
  • The Corrections Committee will offer a session on The Past, Present, and Future of Rehabilitation in Corrections in which speaker Dr. Paul Gendreau, one of North America’s most prominent figures in correctional rehabilitation, will discuss the many influences that have informed and transformed the field of correctional rehabilitation during his prestigious career. Over the past several decades, rehabilitation in corrections has witnessed considerable change. This change has been partially influenced by a burgeoning body of empirical research that supports several guiding principles to enhance public safety and improve offenders’ outcomes. However, social, political, economic and cultural factors also play a significant role in shaping how offenders are managed and treated. Dr. Gendreau will discuss these issues in his talk.
  • The Legal Scholars Committee has put together a session entitled: Psychology and the Legal System:  The Intersection of Research and Policy which will include speakers from national organizations that utilize and fund research produced by AP-LS members. Each organization offers insight at a different level - federal, state, and local. These organizations can provide advice into how they use that research, how we might make our work more relevant for them or disseminate it in ways that will increase its reach within this target audience.  They can also speak to how one might become more involved in policy work.
  • The Student Section in offering a talk sure to appeal to their membership on How to Get Hired in Psychology and Law: Insights from Academic, Policy, and Legal Insiders. This panel will offer advice and information around employment in psychology and law. This interactive panel will feature professional insiders across academia, consultation, and policy to provide insight into attaining a career in the field. Eve Brank, JD, PhD (University of Nebraska–Lincoln), and Jennifer Groscup, JD, PhD (Scripps College) will give advice on gaining employment within academic research institutions and teaching colleges, respectively; Joel Dvoskin, PhD, ABPP (private practice), will discuss establishing and developing a successful consultation career; and Heather Kelly, PhD (APA Science Directorate), will provide insight on applying a psychology degree to policy work. Finally, Kirk Heilbrun, PhD, ABPP (Drexel University) will discuss contract negotiation and start-up once you secure a position in psychology and law. The goal of this panel is to prepare student members with knowledge and foresight as they continue to work towards careers in psychology and law
  • The Early Career Professionals and Student Section have co-sponsored a session entitled: Making “Neuro” Work for You: Opportunities for Students and Professionals in Psychology and Law. This session will address how neuroscience and neuropsychology are changing the way law is practiced in the United States. This panel will focus on research and employment opportunities for students and professionals in these rapidly developing fields. The discussion will begin by examining opportunities in training and research for undergraduate and graduate students in forensic psychology, neuropsychology, and neuroscience. It will continue by exemplifying how to blend these practices in postdoctoral and early career training and practice in clinical work, research, and policy. The discussion will conclude with an emphasis on legal practice and scholarship, particularly how to ensure students and professionals are carrying out clinical, empirical, and policy work that is relevant for the legal system.
  • The Professional Development of Women and Early Career Professions Committees will offer a session called: Can We Have It All? Family Formation, Career Trajectory, and Work-Life Management. The symposium will focus on the impact of family formation on one’s career trajectory for both women and men. Mary Ann Mason, PhD, J.D, from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law will present her nationally-recognized research on measures to enhance the career-life balance for all faculty. She will be followed by a panel of four AP-LS members sharing work-life management experiences and strategies for self-care, including Drs. Antoinette Cavanaugh, Jodi Viljoen, David DeMatteo, and Daniel Murrie.
  • There will be a session to present the next AP-LS Scientific Review Paper - Interviewing Child Witnesses and Victims. In this session, Drs. Jodi Quas and Thomas Lyon will provide an overview of the paper which reviews relevant research and provides specific, research-based guidance on how to conduct effective interviews with children. The authors will briefly summarize the content of the SRP and then invite questions, comments, and suggestions from the AP-LS members in attendance. Because each SRP carries the endorsement of AP-LS, receiving feedback from AP-LS members is a crucial step in the development of an SRP. 
  • The American Board of Forensic Psychology will present a session on Becoming Board Certified in Forensic Psychology in which Drs. Michael Fogel and Reardon will speak about The American Board of Forensic Psychology (ABFP), which is the specialty board of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) that is responsible for the certification process in forensic psychology. During the session, members of the ABFP Board of Directors will discuss the value of board certification, the application and examination process, and some of the common pitfalls encountered along the way. Particular attention will be given to what it means to “think like a forensic psychologist.”
  • In addition to these committee sponsored talks, we will honor our award winners at sessions where we will hear from the winners of the Saleem Shah Award for Early Career Excellence in Psychology and Law, as well as from the AAFP Distinguished Contributions to Forensic Psychology Award and AP-LS Distinguished Contributions to Psychology and Law awards. Posters will be presented in Friday night’s poster session by the winners of this year’s Dissertation Awards.
Fun receptions and special events

Of course, we aren’t all business at the conference each year… there are plenty of social and other events to look forward also. Here are a few:

Student Section Welcome Breakfast and Conference Orientation
|Student Section Coffee Presentation Session
Welcome Reception

Student Section Sponsored 5K Fun Run
Minority Affairs Committee Luncheon (Invitation Only)
Friday Evening Poster Session and Reception

Saturday Evening Poster Session and Reception

There will also be many receptions held by various groups on all three nights of the conference. These are still being scheduled. Please see the program for days and times as they are available.

Hello…it’s a trip somewhere sunny in the middle of March

If all that good stuff isn’t enough to already have you booking your flight and reserving your hotel room, how about some info on San Diego to get you moving…

Average Annual Temperature: 70 degrees

Months of the year you can walk/swim/surf at the beaches: 12

Months of the year you need a winter coat: 0

Average inches of snow and/or ice: 0

Here are a couple websites with tourism information for you to check out:

The Official Travel Resource for the San Diego Region
City of San Diego Official Website
Things to Do in San Diego

And here are some of my (NRP) favorite things to do: San Diego Zoo and Safari Park (there’s a new baby rhino and a baby gorilla!), Sea World, Balboa Park, La Jolla Cove and town, Point Loma, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and golf course, the USS Midway and accompanying Museum, Maritime Museum, San Diego Air and Space Museum, whale watching tours, and this doesn’t even include the beaches.

So now that you’ve read all the amazing things that will be going on in and around the conference, go book your flight, book your room, register, and start packing your bags, The conference website has all the details you need to get there.

See you in sunny San Diego.

Your conference co-chairs,
Nancy Panza and Chris Finello