June 2023 training opportunity – Second Opinion Evaluations for Non-Secured Status in Ohio’s Mental Health System

Second Opinion Evaluations for Non-Secured Status in Ohio’s Mental Health System

June 8, 2023, 1:00 to 4:00 PM – via Zoom Webinar

One of the four types of evaluations funded by the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services (OHMHAS) is something called the Second Opinion for Non-secured Status. In the field, we refer to this as a “second opinion” or “285” evaluation because the state hospital gives its opinion to the court about whether the individual is ready to move to a less restrictive setting, and then the forensic center for that acquittee’s county gives the second opinion on this matter. A “285” is essentially a risk assessment and treatment plan review of the Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) acquittee’s or Incompetent to stand trial – Unrestorable – criminal justice (ISTU-CJ) person’s appropriateness for being released from the structured treatment setting of the hospital back into the less restrictive setting of the community. In the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) this type of evaluation is called for in ORC 2945.401.

Drs. Erin Nichting and Andy Reisner will be laying out the steps necessary to complete this type of evaluation from the perspective of the forensic centers and from experience as legal examiners, forensic directors, and in Dr. Reisner’s experience, as a forensic monitor. These evaluations must include consideration of evidence-based risk-assessed items and the necessary background information that informs and identifies the individual’s risks and strengths that might mitigate this.

Participants in this training will receive the PowerPoint presentation, have access to the presenters via chat and asking questions, and will be provided with a survey at the end to provide feedback. Subtitles and the option of having an interpreter will be made available to all participants. This program will be eligible for 3.0 OPA-MCE-qualified continuing education credits. If other professions are attending we will make every effort to help you get the necessary documentation to apply for CEs in your field.

PRE Registration is required:  https://forensicevaluationservicecenter.org/2023ceform/

If you are not affiliated with a forensic center, the cost of attending this training is $180. Once you have registered, you will be contacted with the details for payment. Full payment will have to be made before the training, in order to attend.


Ohio Forensic Directors 2022 Annual Forensic Training 9-29-2022

The Ohio Forensic Directors’ Association is offering our annual training virtually. This 3.0-hour training is part of the ongoing series of training events for forensic evaluators at our centers and for our professional partners in the community.

9-29-2022 from 9:30 to 12:45 Dr. Ben Silber will be discussing:

Aggravated Murder and Serious Mental Illness: Practical Assessment Guidance for Ohio’s New Law
The training objectives for this conference are:
  • To familiarize and educate legal examiners about the language of the court in ORC 2929.025, concerning defendants with severe mental illness regarding the death penalty.
  • To familiarize legal examiners with the process of evaluating response to the court’s order for a 2929.025 evaluation.
  • To provide legal examiners with a protocol they can use to thoroughly address all the key elements of a 2929.025 evaluation.

This topic arose out of the recent changes in Ohio law regarding individuals diagnosed with severe mental illness at the time of the offense, or afterward who are involved in a death-penalty eligible offense.

Benjamin Silber is a licensed clinical psychologist based out of Little Rock, Arkansas. Following specialized training in psychological assessment and forensic evaluation at Patton State Hospital (California), he completed a predoctoral internship at the federal correctional complex in Butner, NC where he received further training in forensic psychology and the treatment of serious mental illness. He completed a formal postdoctoral fellowship in forensic psychology at the Arkansas State Hospital and obtained a position as a forensic psychologist there the following year. That same year, he also started Expert Psychological Evaluations, his forensic psychology private practice. Dr. Silber has a tireless and dedicated passion for forensic psychology and continues to pursue advanced training and new opportunities whenever and wherever available. He brings his enthusiasm, energy, and conscientiousness to every evaluation and referral. Dr. Silber is certified as a Specialist on the American Board of Professional Psychology in Forensic Psychology and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Psychology.


RESOURCES for this training session:

This training is free for affiliates of our certified centers and is available for a registration fee for those who are not sponsored by a center.


To register for the conference, click here: https://forensicevaluationservicecenter.org/2022ceform/

The registration fee for those who are not Legal Examiners at a forensic center is $135. Students are free of charge.


After you have registered, you can pay $135 via PAY PAL: AOFECD or you can pay via the invoice we will send you once we have received your registration.

We have been approved for OPA-MCE credits for psychologists, CEs for social workers, and counselors. We have pending applications for CMEs for physicians and CLEs for attorneys.


Thank you to our partners at Ohio MHAS for helping out with the CEs.

Presentation of the Howard Sokolov Forensic Mental Health Leadership Award is now provided by OHMHAS

The Howard H. Sokolov Forensic Mental Health Leadership Award is awarded annually to the Forensic Mental Health Professional who exemplifies the qualities that Dr. Sokolov brought to our industry.

In 2015, OhioMHAS established “The Howard H. Sokolov Forensic Mental Health Leadership Award” to honor the memory of Howard Sokolov, MD. For several years, that award was presented at the annual Ohio Forensic Directors Association Conference, but now, it will be presented at the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services annual forensic education conference. Congratulations to all the former recipients: Dr. Terrance Kukor, Dr. Robert Baker,

Dr. Sokolov was a legend in forensic psychiatry in Ohio. He was an outstanding psychiatrist, leader, and scholar who made tremendous contributions to Ohio’s mental health field for decades. He was quite instrumental in the development of Ohio’s current forensic mental health system including the extensive revision of the forensic statutes in the Ohio Revised Code. He was influential in the establishment of the system of community-based forensic evaluation centers and the development of numerous forensic policies and procedures that govern the work in the Regional Psychiatric Hospitals.

Dr. Sokolov served as Commissioner of the former Department of Mental Health in the 1970s, and subsequently held a number of other positions including Forensic Medical Director and Acting Medical Director for an extended period. He also served as President of the Ohio Psychiatric Association and was Professor of Psychiatry and George T. Harding III Psychotherapy Chair at The Ohio State University, where he was named “Professor of the Year” by the psychiatry residents on several occasions.

PURPOSE: To recognize excellence in the Ohio forensic mental health system by honoring an individual or a program involved in direct practice, program, policy-making, and/or planning role who influences forensic mental health services by consistently reflecting a commitment to excellence, recognition of dignity and worth of the consumer, the security and safety of the community, and dedication to providing quality forensic mental health services.

For more information about this prestigious award, please contact Dr. Lisa Gordish at lisa.gordish@mha.ohio.gov

National Issues related to Competency Restoration and Ohio’s Response: Implementation of SB2

November 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 12th, 2021 the OHIO Mental Health and Addiction Services Department of Forensic Services will offer their annual professional education conference, this year focusing on the changes in the Ohio statute language for competency restoration, and the populations that this will most likely impact.

TO REGISTER:  https://concept.paloaltou.edu/2021-ohiomhas/

November 2nd, 2021, Elizabeth Kelley, Esq. presenting The Intersection of Mental Disabilities and the Criminal Justice System is a nationally recognized attorney for individuals with severe mental illness, intellectual disabilities, and autism spectrum and her talk will focus on the challenges faced by attorneys defending people with mental illness in the criminal justice system. As a criminal defense attorney, Elizabeth Kelley is an advocate for persons with mental and intellectual disabilities. She is the chair of the ARC’s National Center for Criminal Justice and Disability and has published a practical guide for criminal defense lawyers representing people with mental disabilities and for individuals with autism spectrum characteristics including a handbook for families of people with disabilities and criminal court situations (see her bio for details). Ms. Kelley will share with the audience her experiences of defending individuals with disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, severe mental illness, and autism, and her efforts to make the criminal justice system aware of the unique needs and situations for this population. This session will be held from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM (EST) via video conference. All materials will be provided to registered participants ahead of time via email.

November 4th, 2021, Dr. Neil Gowensmith and a panel of Ohio experts will present National Issues related to Competency Restoration and Ohio’s Response: Implementation of SB2 about the national trend towards increasing referrals for competency restoration has placed heavy burdens on the state-run psychiatric facilities resulting in the waitlist for forensic services and challenges for serving individuals in crisis and need of psychiatric state-run hospitalization. In this session, you will hear from Dr. Gowensmith about the factors that may be driving this issue and how other states have responded, including case law shaping these changes. You will also learn about Ohio’s passage of Senate Bill 2, the case law considered and the impact this will have on the forensic mental health system in the state of Ohio. Justice Eve Stratton, Christina Shaynak-Diaz, Dr. Robert Baker, Vicki Montesano, and Betsy Johnson will address the multi-system implications to SB 2 and how providers are responding to this. This session will be held from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM (EST) and 12:45 to 3:15 PM via video conference. All materials will be provided to registered participants ahead of time via email.

November 5th, 2021, Dr. John Tuell will present Dual Status Youth: Innovative Solutions & Positive Outcomes about juveniles who come into contact with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems and occupy various statuses in terms of their relationship to the two systems. A growing body of research has consistently confirmed that, in comparison to juveniles without such cross-system involvement, dual status youth present a range of important challenges. The challenges and costs associated with dual-status youth strongly suggest the need to devise and implement innovative ways to manage these difficult cases. The RFK National Resource Center has guided state and local jurisdictions, including six currently in Ohio, in their endeavor to improve the outcomes for dual status youth (DSY) and families and to enhance system performance. This session will dynamically highlight the approach, the practice – and the innovative solutions and positive results from this work. The session will include a discussion of case law and will provide a roadmap for other jurisdictions to achieve the same positive results. This session will be held from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM (EST) via video conference. All materials will be provided to registered participants ahead of time via email.

November 12th from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM (EST) panelists from Ohio’s judiciary will present The Role of the Mental Health Court in Ohio, now and moving forward. This panel with Judge Jodi Thomas, Judge Cindi Morehart, and Jill Hillman will discuss case law and focus on the treatment and rehabilitation efforts being made in Ohio’s mental health courts. There are over 40 certified or courts in active pursuit of certification of mental health courts in Ohio. You can see a map of specialized dockets around the state on the Ohio Supreme Court’s website and learn more about the standards that these courts must meet. All materials will be provided to registered participants ahead of time via email.

All participants will be registered through the CONCEPT secure website using a unique email address and password (login). All participants will have the opportunity to ask questions in real-time of each of the presenters/panelists and will have access to others’ posed questions. All participants will be required to submit a satisfaction survey expressing their comments about what they learned regarding the pre-published objectives.  Educational materials will be provided to all participants via the email address they provided during registration and additional links provided to them throughout the conference sessions. The educational materials will be available after the conference for approximately thirty days for anyone who is registered to access them. The conference sessions will not be recorded for future broadcasts.


Systemic Inequities in Forensic Evaluations

The Ohio Forensic Center Directors Association is proud to partner with Concept Continuing and Professional Studies and Palo Alto University to present

Systemic Inequities in Forensic Evaluations

Over the last year, there has been a nationwide awakening to racial and discriminatory injustices against minorities in this country. Laws have been changed and policies have been enacted to set a new standard for our society. Many established institutions have publicly stated a  change in their approach to become more culturally aware and to train their staff to do the same. To be culturally competent is a requirement for most medical professionals and those who frequently interact with diverse groups of people. The American Psychology Association loosely defines cultural competency as, “the ability to understand, appreciate and interact with people from cultures or belief systems different from one’s own” (DeAngelis, 2015). In other words, gaining more resources to better evaluate or assist your patients by understanding their cultural background.

This conference was created to improve knowledge and skills for forensic evaluators, mental health providers, and related professions. Our committee aimed to provide professionals with a space to think introspectively about how they interact with those that are racially and culturally different. Different topics will be covered during this conference, such as trauma-informed care, intellectual disabilities/ASD in forensic cases, and the impact of racial discrimination on adolescent mental health. Our key speakers will be Dr. Brian Sims, Dr. Antoinette Kavanagh, and Dr. Joette James. Historically, racial, and ethnic minorities have not been treated properly in the medical field leading to significant hesitancy to receive medical aid that stretches across generations. With the implementation of this conference, our committee calls on forensic evaluators and mental health providers to take that extra step forward in recognizing the institutionalized boundaries patients face daily and applying this knowledge in the community.

Continuing Education credits are being applied for from the American Psychological Association. It is $25 per session or $65 for all three sessions. There is a discounted student rate ($10 per session). To register: https://concept.paloaltou.edu/systemic-inequities-conference/

Systemic Inequities in Forensic Evaluations Conference



The University of New Mexico Law and Mental Health Series Continues

For more information, contact HSC-LawMentalHealth@salud.unm.edu about this weekly continuing education program – offered on Tuesday afternoons at 2:00 PM (EST) over Zoom and for free and with APA approved CEs.

You do have to pre-register and get on their mailing list for their monthly calendar of really amazing presenters.

To register for the upcoming individual sessions you can use this link: https://hsc-unm.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_xo4njEcIRHSSDdYvKgHYxQ

Monthly, they send out a flyer of their upcoming speakers/topics. Here is the most recent flyer.

June 2021 LMH overview flier – just click this link and it will provide you the pdf for this month’s guest lectures.



We will continue to update these as we get them, but for the most current information please sign up directly with the university.

Did you receive a refund from Brown Paper Tickets for the 2020 conference registration?

Hello to All those who were registered attendees for the April 9th & 10th 2020 conference and who paid registration fees to Brown Paper Tickets,

As an association, we reached out to you to reimburse you for your 2020 prepaid registration when we learned that Brown Paper Tickets was not going to honor the refund policy following Covid’s onset. In May or June of 2020, we sent you a check from our Association to make you whole because we wanted to honor our commitment. We were fairly certain at that time that BPT was not going to reimburse anyone and certainly not in the short run. We have been told that Brown Paper Ticket is slowly climbing out of the financial catastrophe they found themselves in and is reimbursing individuals using the credit card you provided them at that time. Please notify us and consider reimbursing the association, if you get your money back from BPT. We will put the money to use to build our 2022 conference, which will include supporting a couple of educational opportunities that we plan to offer for at most a nominal fee. Checks should be made out to:

Ohio Forensic Directors Association  – 101 High St., 3rd Floor, Hamilton, OH 45011

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask. We are here (virtually) to answer anything we can help with.

Recap of the Annual Ohio Forensic Directors Conference

We really want to thank this year’s speakers Dr. Maureen Reardon and Dr. Shaun Acheson, and all of our poster presenters. We also want to acknowledge the work of Amber Watkins and her team from CONCEPT who delivered an excellent two-day presentation for approximately 80 participants and Drs. Kara Marciani, and Erin Nichting for their efforts.

We are pleased to announce that Ashley H. VanDercar, MD, JD was the winner of our poster presentation. Her topic “Mens Rea, Sanity, and Kahler v. Kansas; implications for Ohio” tied in nicely with the conference topics. The votes were very close, and we felt all of the presenters did a great job. Thank you for your contributions.

While this year’s conference was not in-person, and many of you commented on that, it was still great to see and hear colleagues asking great questions and thinking critically about this year’s topics.

If you are an Ohio Psychological Association MCE program member, please SEND your CONCEPT Continuing Education Certificates to OPA-MCE to credit your account. They will not be automatically sent this year. You can email (or mail) your scanned certificates to mce@ohpsych.org and you will be credited for your APA-approved CEs and they will count as completed forensic and ethics hours. If you need more information about the OPA-MCE program you can find more about them here.

Please join us in our upcoming educational opportunities. We will be posting here and hopefully be back in person, very soon.

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN FOR 2021 Annual Conference – offered via video on 4/29 & 4/30

To register for our April 29th & 30th conference – providing 10 hours of CE/CME/CLE credits for professionals in the criminal justice and mental health fields (tuition $100), including 4 hours of ethics education – register here:


For more information about our topics and speakers please see this post:

Poster Session Applications for the 2021 Forensic Conference Now OPEN for Applicants

The 2021 Miller Makey and Howard Sokoloff Memorial Poster Session will be virtual.

The Association of Ohio Forensic Evaluation Center Directors invites graduate psychology, medical and law students or residents conducting research on mental health and criminal justice-based topics to present virtual poster summaries at its annual conference. The 2021 annual conference for the Association of Ohio Forensic Center Directors will be held virtually on Thursday, April 29, 2021 (full day) and Friday, April 30, 2021 (half-day) and our poster presentation will be incorporated into the program. Posters may report on recent empirical (quantitative or qualitative) studies or non-empirical (theoretical/review) projects.

Accepted submissions will be presented virtually via a video file that is not to exceed five (5) minutes in length.  Participants also will be required to submit a PDF file that can be downloaded by interested attendees. Participants will present a five (5) minute pre-recorded talk to accompany one PowerPoint slide that details their poster content. The presentation will be followed by a networking chat session during which they can discuss their presentations.

If your submission is accepted for presentation for the poster session, you will be given instructions to assist you in preparing your materials in the required format. Your registration fee for the conference will be waived.

Submission Instructions:

Potential poster participants can use the form linked here or submit the following information to kmarciani@eastway.org via word document, no later than March 15th, 2021 at 4:00 p.m.   This information must include:

  • Title of presentation (please limit to 10 words or fewer)
  • Principal author (In instances of multiple authorship, the principal author will be the one whose name is listed first and will be the designated contact person for the presentation and will have the registration waived).  You should include the individual’s name, highest educational degree, e-mail, complete mailing address, contact phone numbers, and institution affiliation.
  • Coauthors:  name, highest educational degree, and institution affiliation.
  • Up to 300 word abstract of the poster, including a statement of the problem, subjects used, procedure, results, and conclusions.

Please include any information pertaining to any financial disclosures that must be made by the principal author or co-author(s).

ALL authors must agree to poster submission and abstract publication in the conference abstract booklet, which may be published online. All authors have to sign off for abstracts to be eligible for acceptance.