A smiling child and adult pose smile together outdoors with trees and cloudy sky in the background
Forensic Mental Health Graduate Student Maverick Douglas (right) with his niece.

Maverick Douglas, a student in Russell Sage College’s Master of Science in Forensic Mental Health program, has been selected to present research at the International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services annual conference in San Francisco, June 18-20, 2024. 

Douglas will deliver a presentation on the impact of telehealth on competency evaluations. Competency evaluations are used to evaluate an individual’s understanding of their circumstances and ability to make healthcare, financial, or legal decisions. The use of telehealth for competency evaluations has grown since the COVID-19 pandemic began. 

Douglas and his research mentor, Assistant Professor of Forensic Mental Health Kimberley Brayton, Ph.D., J.D., wanted to better understand the advantages and disadvantages of telehealth for competency evaluations. 

“Our hypothesis was that the use of telehealth would increase the amount of people who appeared and participated in their competency evaluation,” Douglas said. “However, our findings didn’t show a significant difference pre- and post-COVID.”

He offered the caveat that their sample was 92 interviews from two small counties in northern New York and that a bigger and broader sample might show a different result.

Douglas earned a bachelor’s degree in Sage’s Criminal Justice, Law & Behavioral Science program in 2022 and will complete his master’s in December 2024. 

His next step is a doctorate in clinical psychology. Since these programs require a research project and dissertation, having research and presentation experience on his resume will help him stand out to the most competitive programs, he said. 

He added appreciation to Sage’s Jody Ann Zabel Memorial Travel Award, which is supporting his travel to San Francisco for the conference.

“It’s the top-in-the-field conference,” he said. “It’s the one you want to go to.”  

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