Welcome to the International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services
Welcome to the International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services (IAFMHS). It is a great honour and privilege to represent our members as President of the association. I have been a member of IAFMHS for nearly 20 years, and have always valued the opportunity for open dialogue and collaboration between professionals from multiple disciplines involved in research, policy, management and actual care delivery at the intersection of mental health and justice. IAFMHS has always sought to bridge these disciplines and promote learning from an international and culturally diverse perspective, our overall aim being to improve care and services for justice-involved people with mental illness.
Across continents, countries, and communities the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change how we are delivering care. We see considerable variations in health and social outcomes even across neighbouring localities. This is the case globally. International research suggests adults and young people with mental health conditions at the interface with criminal justice settings have experienced further burdens on their overall health and human rights. This is an important time to uphold the highest possible ethical and professional standards across our clinical and scientific communities. A time to foster effective support and collaboration across the field of forensic mental health. IAFMHS is home to a flourishing journal, the International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, an ongoing book series, an annual conference, a quarterly newsletter, special interest groups, and an engaged and innovative student board. Over the years, we have been proud to participate in the development of new generations of researchers and clinicians from across the global community. Please join our membership and take part in a vibrant professional organization!
Dr. Quazi Haque
President of the IAFMHS
IN MEMORIAM: DR. JODI VILJOEN
It is with deep sadness that I am writing this In Memoriam for Dr. Jodi Viljoen, who died in June 2022. Despite her many accomplishments, Jodi was incredibly modest, and one of the kindest, caring, creative, warm, and thoughtful individuals I’ve ever known. I will miss her terribly and our field has lost one of its most outstanding humans.
I have known Jodi since 1998 when she started graduate studies at Simon Fraser University. I was her supervisor for her Master’s and Doctoral research. She was an absolute pleasure to supervise. She was always prepared, took initiative on projects we worked on together, and was eager to take the lead on collaborations during her training. One example is that she is lead author on an article in which we challenged the Canadian laws that prevented psychologists from conducting pretrial criminal assessments.
Jodi’s dissertation research was the beginning of her career-long interest in improving mental health and treatment services for adolescents in the justice system and the prevention of violence and offending. Through our collaborations, Jodi further developed competency to stand trial research through focusing on young offenders. Her study had an impact on our understanding of the cognitive elements of competency and incompetency, and the differences between adults and juveniles on the construct of criminal competency to stand trial. The exceptionally high quality of this research was recognized by the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS) when it honored her with its award for the best dissertation of the year in psychology and law.
Following obtaining her Ph.D. she took a position as an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska. To my delight, we were able to recruit her to return to SFU to join our faculty in the Law and Forensic Psychology program.
Jodi’s promise as a young scholar was highly recognized during her academic career, and she leaves the field with a rich legacy that will continue to shape the field. By the time I nominated her for the AP-LS Saleem Shah Award for Early Career Contributions (an award she won), just five years into her career, she had published in the top journals of our field and begun the research that would lead to the development of two forensic assessment instruments for assessing adolescents. One of those instruments, the Short-Term Assessment of Risk and Treatability: Adolescent Version, illustrated her perspective that the assessment of risk must include an emphasis not just on the deficits and vulnerabilities of individuals but also their strengths, and that both characteristics are necessary to generate effective interventions to minimize future risk. She went on to create the Adolescent Risk Reduction and Resilient Outcomes Work-Plan (ARROW), which is based on her view that youth are less likely to reoffend when professionals select and implement case management strategies that research has shown to be effective. The ARROW provides a structured process for justice professionals to develop evidence-based case management plans.
Jodi was also an outstanding mentor. She provided opportunities for her students in all aspects of research, from contributing to grant writing, presenting papers at conferences, and co-authoring publications. One student wrote on her tribute page that she was always full of positive energy, enthusiasm, and endlessly kind and supportive. Another wrote that she always had a smile or a kind word. Jodi was generous with her time, and the impact she had on her students was recognized by SFU when she received the Dean of Graduate Studies Award for Excellence in Supervision in 2011.
Jodi was passionate in her commitment to promoting social change. She served on the Broadening Representation, Inclusion, and Global Equity Committee for the American Psychology-Law Society and was the cochair of its Diversity Awards. She was co-founder of the Indigenous Reconciliation Committee in SFU’s Department of Psychology where she supported students and faculty in their journey to understanding the devastation of colonialism and genocide as she continued her own journey as a settler in Canada. She worked tirelessly to link Indigenous students with Indigenous scholars and Elders.
Jodi was most recently honored with induction into the College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada. Earlier this year, the Department of Psychology nominated her for a University Research Professorship. The university honored her with this prestigious award, but sadly it will now be given posthumously. Jodi was always one to recognize those who supported her, including many of her colleagues and students who contributed richly to her research. Jodi will be missed by the many lives she touched at SFU and throughout the world. Jodi always expressed such joy when she talked about her loving family. She is survived by her husband Adam, her children Talia and Luke, and her parents Dale and Joanne.
A memorial donation may be made to Indspire (https://indspire.ca/) an organization important to Jodi that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.
The International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services (IAFMHS) was established in 2000 as an international non-profit association, with headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.