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August 2022 - Clay Pavlis, M.D. Selected Among Top Psychiatrists in the Country to Lead National Mental Health Initiative

In thecriminaljustice system, judges frequently encounter people who are in need of behavioral health services. However, after leaving the judicial system, mental health care for an individual is often not continued. The discontinuation of care is not only detrimental to the individual, but also to the society in which that individual livesdue to higher rates of recidivism, or tendency to reoffend, if mental health illnesses are left unmanaged.

The Judges and Psychiatrist Leadership Initiative helps merge together medicine and judiciary experts to help remedy this national mental health crisis inside and outside the courtroom.This initiative gives the opportunity for judges and psychiatrists to work together, helpingpatients treat their mental health needs and build a meaningful life in their community after exiting the criminal justice system.

The JPLIhas 3 core priority areas to reach this goal:

  1. Enhance connections between judges and psychiatrists.
  2. Increase the reach of trainings to improve patient and public safety outcome.
  3. Develop educational resources to help judges understand what best practices to use.

There are 15 psychiatrists in the nation that have been chosen to lead this initiative, and one of them is from the greater Sioux Falls, SD, area. MWI Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Clay Pavlis, M.D., has been selected to be one of these passionate, licensed psychiatrists to guide the JPLI. This will ultimately stimulate support and enhance efforts to improve judicial, community, and systemic responses to people with behavioral health needs.

Dr. Pavlis will be traveling to the American Psychiatric Association headquarters in Washington, D.C. on September 10th-12th.He will be training judges on the behavioral health needs that are prevalent in the courtroom.Ultimately, this will be a series of events that will help advance the national response to mentalillness inside the courtroom.