2010

Howard Zonana and the Transformation of Forensic Psychiatry

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In recognition of Howard Zonana’s contributions, I take stock of the progress of the field of forensic psychiatry over three decades. As forensic psychiatrists, you are the voice of psychiatry in the law and the interpreter of law to your colleagues in psychiatry. I offer provisional impressions of your collective accomplishments under three themes: expertise, influence, and integrity. First, you have established and nurtured the expertise and authority of forensic psychiatry, which has become increasingly evidence-based and reflects a prudent sense of humility. Second, you have had a significant influence on the design and daily application of mental health law in both criminal and civil spheres. Through the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (AAPL) and relevant components of the American Psychological Association, you have been a strong and effective advocate for protecting both the needs and rights of people with mental illness and have had demonstrable influence in the Supreme Court as well as at the grassroots. Finally, you have nurtured and protected the ethical integrity of the profession in the face of ever-increasing chdallenges, due in no small measure to the habits of ethical reflection that Howard Zonana has modeled and taught over the course of his extraordinary career.