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John Jay Faculty Member Assumes Leadership Role in National Organization

Professor Patricia Zapf of the Department of Psychology was elected President of the American Psychological Association’s Division 41 which is the American Psychology-Law Society. It is an organization of mental health professionals and legal professionals who conduct research or practice on issues relating to the interface of psychology and law.

Over Zapf’s three year commitment in this leadership position, she will develop a communication strategy to dispense the work of the organization and of its professionals and students to the wider public. “We need to effectively communicate the good work we do and attract more members through the various channels, such as early career professionals and students,” said Zapf.

In addition, she recently delivered the keynote address on criminal competencies titled, “Best Practices in the Evaluation of Competence to Stand Trial” at the International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services conference in Maastricht, Netherlands this past June.

Zapf’s lecture built upon a book she published in 2009 under the same title. In her address, she distilled five areas where forensic psychologists still need to improve their evaluations of competency to stand trial. “I went beyond the information presented in the book to incorporate various research literatures so practitioners can make their evaluations even more useful and high quality,” said Zapf.

Professor Zapf has been at John Jay since 2002. She has helped to build the doctoral program in forensic psychology. Her research interests have always been on competencies to stand trial, competency to waive Miranda rights, and competency to be executed. Over the last few years she has evolved her research to focus on professional training.