May 2019-STEM School Shooting

On May 7, 2019, Colorado suffered another school shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch, resulting in one death and multiple injuries. Dr. Alexander was interviewed by The Denver Post —discussing sentencing options in juvenile versus adult court for the two alleged suspects (one 16 years old, one 18 years old). The article is available to read here.

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Additionally, for more information on offering support to children, teachers, and first responders, please reach out to Dr. Alexander and the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at DU. For tips on how to discuss these events with children, here are some recommended sites:


In the aftermath of a shooting: Help your children manage distress
 (APA; February 2019)

Talking to Children about the Shooting (National Child Traumatic Stress Network)

Helping Youth After Community Trauma: Tips for Educators (National Child Traumatic Stress Network)

May 2019-Sweat

Back in Denver, Dr. Alexander was invited to participate in two talkback sessions for the Pulitzer prize-winning play Sweat at the Denver Center for Performing Arts (DCPA). Written by two-time Putlizer winning playwright Lynn Nottage, Sweat is a play about working steel mill workers of Reading, Pennsylvania in the early 2000s. Many of the questions in the talkback centered around theme of economic inequity in the U.S.

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May 2019-Across the Pond

Dr. Alexander was selected to participate in the American Psychological Association’s MOU Partner Collaboration and Exchange program. She attended the British Psychological Society’s annual conference in Harrogate, England. The theme of this year’s conference was The Psychological Impact of Inequality and Dr. Alexander provided a presentation on the school-to-prison pipeline. She also networked with colleagues from throughout the UK and beyond regarding public policy and advocacy efforts (and enjoyed a lot of British foods).

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April 2019-#SAAM

April is Sexual Assault Awareness (and Prevention) Month. This year’s theme was I Ask, which centers on consent education—an important topic to Dr. Alexander as highlighted in her TEDxMileHigh talk.

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For SAAM, Dr. Alexander was interviewed for the Life As She Knows It—a podcast co-hosted by her TEDxMileHigh colleague Kimberly Corban! You can listen to the podcast here or via your favorite podcast platforms. Additionally, check out Kimberly’s important TEDxMileHigh talk on sexual violence here.

In the last few weeks of the legislative session, Colorado HB 1032 concerning comprehensive sex education and consent education still needs to pass through the Senate. Dr. Alexander headed down to the Capitol with the ACLU of Colorado for Sex Education Visibility Day to promote the importance of this bill and speak with state legislators.

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Finally, Dr. Alexander headed to Fort Collins, Colorado to the inaugural Northern Colorado Diversity Conference to give two workshops on healthy relationships. She had a great audiences of teens throughout the area who engaged in conversations surrounding relationship violence and bystander intervention needs.

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January 2019-Busy Start!

2019 is here and ought to be a great year!

The National Multicultural Conference and Summit (NMCS) was held in Denver this year. Dr. Alexander was selected to attend the inaugural Academic Feminist Leadership Academy held before the conference, and co-facilitated a roundtable entitled Changing the academy from within: A conversation about opening doors and minds in graduate clinical training with her GSPP colleagues.

The following week Dr. Alexander headed to The Big Easy for the National Council of Schools and Programs in Professional Psychology (NCSPP) mid-winter conference. Outside of eating an ungodly amount of gulf coast oysters, she gave two presentations. The first focused on the development of graduate-level curriculum in public policy and advocacy—discussing the development of her Public Policy and Advocacy course. The second presentation was conducted with her GSPP colleagues and entitled On fish, water, and what we don’t know we don’t know: Disrupting privilege in graduate clinical training. The presenters discussed how they discuss and disrupt privilege through pedagogy and experiential training in their training program.

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Dr. Alexander was on Colorado Public Radio discussing ways to address police-involved shootings after 10 incidents of these shootings occurring in Colorado in the first few weeks of January. Check out the article and clip here.

Lastly, related to her TEDxMileHigh talk, Dr. Alexander testified in support of Colorado House Bill 19-1032 Comprehensive Sex Education. The bill would support consent education, healthy relationship education, and LGBTQ+ inclusive education in sex education programs throughout the state. The bill was passed the House Health and Insurance Committee in a 7-4 vote and is headed to appropriations!

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February 2019-New Publication

Dr. Alexander co-authored a manuscript published in the Journal of the Academy of Psychiatry and the Law with several other leading clinicians and researchers in competency restoration. Dr. Alexander serves as the Director of the Denver FIRST Outpatient Competency Restoration Program.

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Abstract: The optimization of trial competency restoration is a topic of growing interest and controversy in the fields of forensics, psychology, criminal law, and public policy. Research has established that adult defendants who have severe psychotic disorders and cognitive impairments are more likely than defendants without these conditions to be found incompetent to stand trial and are less likely to be restored to competency thereafter. Research has also identified some of the benefits of attempting restoration in hospitals, jails, or outpatient settings for defendants with different diagnoses or levels of cognitive functioning. Rates of restoration, length of stay necessary to achieve restoration, and, in some cases, how quickly defendants are found non-restorable are primary indicators of positive outcome. We sought to review the extant literature on competency restoration, with the goals of identifying implications for current practice and generating inquiries for future research. We found that there are significant advantages and disadvantages of attempting restoration in a hospital, jail, or outpatient setting on rates of restoration, length of stay necessary to achieve restoration, or length of time necessary to determine non-restorability, while controlling for several relevant factors (e.g., diagnosis, cognitive limitations).

January 2019-TEDxMileHigh RESET

Happy new year!

Dr. Alexander gave her first TEDxMileHigh talk to an audience of 5,000 people at the Bellco Theater in Denver, Colorado on December 1. The video entitled “Sex violence is preventable—here’s how” is now LIVE!!! Click here. Her talk discusses the importance of consent education and medically accurate sex education for young people as a means of preventing sexual violence. Please watch this important talk and share with others.

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November 2018: New Publication

New publication in College Student Journal is a collaboration between Dr. Alexander and her Auburn University student colleagues. Two of the co-authors were undergraduate students at the time it was written!

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Abstract: Risky sexual behavior (RSB) is common among undergraduate students in the United States and previous studies indicate an increased likelihood of engaging in RSB while under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol use is highly prevalent among college students, especially those students involved in sororities. The present study aims to examine the frequency of RSB in a sample of 330 sorority and non-sorority students at a Southeastern university using validated measures of RSB and RSB related to alcohol use. Results indicated no significant differences between sorority members and non-sorority members on measures of RSB. Implications for prevention and intervention strategies for college women are discussed.

 

November 2018: HokieTalks Denver Vol. 2

Dr. Alexander was invited to speak at HokieTalks Denver Vol. 2, a networking and speaking session where three Denver-area Virginia Tech alum share stories and life lessons they’ve learning since graduating from Virginia Tech. In it’s first year, HokieTalks Denver won an alumni outreach award!

Her talk, entitled Ut Prosim: Finding Solutions for Violence Prevention, discussed how her experiences at Virginia Tech (i.e., working for a domestic violence program, clinical research), informed her career in forensic psychology and violence prevention. The audience was great, including the Hokie Bird ;)

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October 2018: Faculty Award

Dr. Alexander received the Faculty Award at the Graduate School of Professional Psychology’s (GSPP) annual Redefining Mental Health: Celebration of Impact event (formerly the Philanthropy Gala). Each year an honoree is nominated and selected by the Graduate Student Association of Professional Psychology (GSAPP) and given to a faculty member who raises understanding and awareness for student scholarship and philanthropy at GSPP, as well as community advocacy and outreach.

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September 2018: New Publication

New publication in the Victimization and the Life Course Special Issue of Criminal Justice Review. A collaboration between Dr. Alexander and her Auburn University student colleagues.

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Abstract: Current research suggests a link between childhood sexual abuse and risky sexual behaviors (RSBs) in emerging adults. However, previous studies neglect evaluating the influence of high levels of cumulative childhood victimization. The present study examined the relationships among polyvictimization, six aggregate categories of childhood victimization, and RSB in college women. This study first examined the relative contributions of polyvictimization and individual categories of childhood victimization in predicting RSB and then tested whether polyvictimization contributes any unique variance, beyond that accounted for by the combination of all six aggregate categories, in a sample of 321 college women in a Southern state. Regression analyses reveal that (a) polyvictimization accounts for a significant proportion of variability in scores for RSB, beyond that accounted for by any of the six categories of childhood victimization alone; (b) the categories of childhood victimization contribute little to no variability beyond that accounted for by polyvictimization, and (c) polyvictimization accounts for a significant proportion of variability in RSB, beyond that already accounted for by the simultaneous entry of all six categories as predictor variables. Results suggest treatment providers working with college students should assess polyvictimization in relation to RSB and inform their prevention efforts given this link.

 

August 2018: The Denver Post Op-Ed

On August 8, 16-year-old Jennie Bunsom was arrested on first-degree murder charges for the death of 7-year-old family member Jordan Vong. On August 13, upon receipt of autopsy information, new documents were filed charging Jennie with first-degree murder after deliberation and first-degree murder by a person in a position of trust (victim under the age of 12). Later in the week, it was decided that her case would be heard in Denver District Court as opposed to juvenile court. The judge in Jennie's case has the opportunity to redirect the case back to juvenile court through a process known as a reverse transfer hearing.

Dr. Alexander authored an Op-Ed for The Denver Post discussing adolescent development and recent policy changes concerning juveniles in the justice system.

 

August 2018: APA Convention

Dr. Alexander headed to San Fransisco, California for the annual APA Convention! This year she had several presentations across the four-day conference. Here are a few brief snapshots:

  • Panel: Can Racism Be Treated Therapeutically? Answers From the Next Generation of Psychologists. Chair: Graham Danzer, PsyD

Can we treat individuals engaging in racist ideology? Five early career psychologists discussed how the field can address racism.  Dr. Alexander discussed conceptualization approaches to racism as a potential clinical syndrome, as well as discussed current interventions used to counter implicit biases.

  • Symposium: Special Topics in Assessment and Treatment--Sexual Offenders and People at Risk of Perpetrating. Chair: Oona Appel, PsyD. Discussant: Apryl Alexander, PsyD

Dr. Alexander discussed the importance of providing culturally competent care to individuals who have committed sex offenses and the limited research on diverse populations within this population despite the emphasis of cultural competence and humility in the field of psychology.  Further, the panelists discussed critical areas need in sexual violence prevention.

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  • Paper: Improving Competency Restoration Through Placement Decisions. Lead Author: Graham Danzer, PsyD

Colleague Dr. Graham Danzer (Florida State Hospital) presented an upcoming paper entitled The Association Between Specific Competence-Related Abilities and Competence Restoration. Dr. Alexander serves as a co-author of the manuscript — discussing her experiences as director of an outpatient competency restoration program. The manuscript will be published in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law in early 2019!

  • Symposium: The Disinvited--Opening Spaces for Our Marginalized Selves in Training and Practice. Chair: Apryl Alexander, PsyD. Discussant: Neil Gowensmith, PhD

The symposium explored the role intersecting, marginalized identities in supervision and training context. The presenters, GSPP forensic faculty, explored how these identities impact practitioners and their clients; how conventional approaches to supervision may overlook or discount the importance of these identities; and practical ways to open a space for exploration of these identities within the parameters of ethical and effective training and social justice practice.

June 2018: Denver Proclamation

The Denver City Council unanimously passed and signed a proclamation in support of banning the use of "conversion therapy" with LGBTQ+ minors. Dr. Alexander was invited to share a few words by Councilwoman Ortega after the proclamation was signed and she was provided a copy of the signed proclamation. Another move forward as community advocates aim to get a bill passed during the next legislative session.

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