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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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: 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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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.

 

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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June 2018: Colorado Advocacy in Action

Dr. Alexander headed to the mountainous Vail, Colorado with colleague Dr. Lynett Henderson Metzger to attend the Colorado Advocacy in Action (CAIA) conference. A full day of learning about the latest research and approaches to interpersonal violence and advocacy for persons impacted by interpersonal violence. Drs. Alexander and Henderson Metzger presented a 90-minute presentation providing an brief literature review on the impact of non-fatal strangulation in domestic violence cases.

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Non-fatal strangulation refers to those who have survived an episode of strangulation (a form of mechanical asphyxia caused by direct pressure on the neck by one or two hands or arm). It is estimated 3-9.7% of U.S. women who have experienced interpersonal violence have also experienced non-fatal strangulation in their lifetime (Sorenson, Joshi, & Sivitiz, 2014). Further, strangulation attempts has been linked to acts of mass violence. For instance, Omar Mateen (who murdered 49 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando) allegedly strangled two of his ex-wives and was never charged.

Drs. Alexander and Henderson Metzger hoped to bring awareness to this important issues, emphasize the need for proper assessment of victims of interpersonal violence, and begin a dialogue regarding proper intervention.

April 2018: Op-Ed

Dr. Alexander wrote an editorial for Colorado Politics concerning the need to ban "conversion therapy" with minors. Read the editorial here! Unfortunately, the bill failed for the 4th time on Monday evening. May we continue to fight against this discredited, unethical, and harmful practice.

April 2018: New Article on Advocacy

Dr. Alexander wrote an article entitled Social Justice, Advocacy, and Early Career Practice for the Psychotherapy Bulletin. She discusses the importance of early career professionals' involvement in social justice movements. Further, she highlights how involvement in advocacy is part of professional ethics in psychology. Check out the article here (or a PDF here).

March 2018: More Advocacy

Dr. Alexander testified for the Colorado House Committee on Public Health Care & Human Services regarding HB 18-1245 aimed at banning practices labeled "conversion therapy" for LGBTQ+ minors, a harmful and practice which is opposed by major professional organizations, including the American Psychological Association. This is the fourth year the bill has been introduced to the Colorado State Legislature and Dr. Alexander's second year testifying about the issue. The bill passed the House Committee in a 7-6 vote, and will reach the House floor soon.

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March 2018: Good News!

Dr. Alexander and her DU Department of Theatre colleague Dr. Ashley Hamilton were awarded the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (AHSS) Dean's Award for Interdisciplinary Studies. This funding will allow for a their steering committee to host a consultant for planning a Prison Education Program (PEP) through DU!

Dr. Alexander was also one of 20 faculty members selected for DU's inaugural Public Impact Fellow program. The Public Impact Fellows will receive training, access to workshops, and consultation focused on translating their research for public dissemination. Thus, continuing and supporting Dr. Alexander's commitment to advocacy, outreach, and public policy efforts!

Additionally, Dr. Alexander returned to Wheat Ridge, CO to testify again in front of the City Council regarding a resolution opposing conversion therapy for minors and supporting a statewide ban against conversion therapy for minors. In a 6-1 vote, the City Council voted for the resolution! Finally progress is being made! Dr. Alexander will testify at the State Capitol next week for the state bill regarding the same issue.

 

February 2018: Legislative Advocacy

Dr. Alexander continues advocating for the protection of LGBTQ+ youth against practices of "conversion therapy." She joined Candidate Brianna Titone and the Jefferson County LGBTQ Caucus to testify at the Wheat Ridge (CO) City Council meeting in order to encourage them to draft a resolution  opposing conversion therapy for minors. The Council voted to draft a resolution! We will hear more in a few weeks.

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March 2017: Advocacy

We had a busy month! This quarter Dr. Alexander taught Psychology, Public Policy, and Advocacy, which consisted of six students in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology (GSPP) at DU. Guest speakers for the course included individuals from local advocacy organizations (i.e., Mental Health Colorado, ACLU Colorado, Advocacy Denver, Rocky Mountain Victim Law Center). The capstone project for the course involved students providing mock testimony on a current legislative bill—which demonstrated students’ preparedness for legislative testimony. Shortly after the course ended, Dr. Alexander and her students attended Mental Health Colorado’s Legislative Education and Advocacy Day (LEAD Day) where they learned more about current issues involved mental health reform in Colorado and how to be a better advocate at the state level.

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This month Dr. Alexander testified before the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee at the Colorado state Capitol regarding House Bill 1156. This bill would ban licensed mental health professionals from conducting “conversion therapy” with minors—an ineffective, unethical, harmful, and abusive practice which attempts to alter a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. The practice is not supported by many professional mental organizations (including the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, and American Medical Association).

Dr. Alexander was there with the support of ONE Colorado and Moses Gur (Policy Associate and University of Denver alum) of the Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council. Unfortunately, after 3+ hours of passionate, brave testimony by individuals in the LGBTQ+ community, their allies, and mental health professionals discussing negative outcomes of this practice, the Committee voted against the bill (for the 3rd year in a row). Although hurt, no one appeared broken. Hopefully, next year this bill will pass!  

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