Richard J. Bonnie, Director, Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy, is Harrison Foundation Professor of Law and Medicine, Professor of Public Policy, Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, and Director of the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. ­­He teaches and writes about health law and policy, bioethics, criminal law, and public policies relating to mental health, substance abuse, and public health. 

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Heather Zelle, J.D., Ph.D., Associate Director of Mental Health Policy Research, Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy, is licensed as an attorney in Pennsylvania and as a clinical psychologist in Virginia. Her clinical work includes conducting forensic assessments examining psycholegal issues such as competency to stand trial, criminal responsibility, and capacity to waive Miranda rights. Her research and policy interests include capacity to waive Miranda rights, guilty pleas, and advance health care directives with instructions for mental health care.|CV


Cynthia Elledge, Ph.D., is the Advance Directive Implementation Coordinator at the ILPPP.  This involves managing a state-wide program to increase understanding and completion of advance directives with instructions for mental health care.  She offers general informational workshops about Advance Directives as well as intensive certification trainings to become an Advance Directive Facilitator.  Cynthia also provides implementation guidance and consultation to health care providers and organizations who want to better incorporate advance care planning into their services.  Cynthia brings to this work rich clinical experience as a Hospital Chaplain and Pastoral Counselor as well as teaching experience as a professor of Biomedical Ethics and Pastoral Theology.


Tanya Wanchek, J.D., Ph.D.,is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences. Dr. Wanchek teaches Health Care Economics and Health Policy from and Economic Perspective to both graduate and undergraduate students. Her research focuses on the analysis of the dental labor force, oral health outcomes, mental health policy, and cost-effectiveness analysis.


John Oliver, Esq., served in the Chesapeake City Attorney’s office for 31 years, as an Assistant and then Deputy City Attorney. His work there included behavioral health and social services law. He’s now in part-time private practice, where he works as guardian ad litem for children and adults, and as legal counsel in involuntary commitments. He’s also working with the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy on several mental health law and service reform initiatives and in the publication of the Institute’s journal, Developments in Mental Health Law.


Ashleigh Allen, MPH, is trained in quantitative and qualitative data analysis and public health research methods. Her work at the ILPPP focuses on involuntary commitment, psychiatric emergency services, and state mental health systems. Her other research interests include the financing and quality of hospice and long-term care and decision-making regarding clinical trial participation. She worked previously as a medical writer and medical data coordinator on contracts with the National Cancer Institute.


Meret Hofer, M.A., is a doctoral candidate in the Community Psychology and Prevention Research program at the University of Virginia. Meret's research interests include mixed methods approaches to understanding the experiences of police officers. Her work with ILPPP focuses primarily on criminal justice reform.


Kathy Faris, MPH, is a research specialist working on projects related to mental health law reform in Virginia with a special focus on alternative transportation for people in mental health crisis, civil commitment trends, and the use of telemental health in emergency settings. She holds a B.A. and a Master in Public Health with a focus on Research in Practice from the University of Virginia. Her interests include mixed methods research, program evaluation, database management, and how technology can be used to advance access to healthcare and health education. |CV


2018-2019 Undergraduate Research Assistants, are a diverse group of undergraduate students from the University of Virginia with strong academic records and interest in the fields of mental health policy and practice. 

If you are a current University of Virginia student interested in working with us, please contact Heather Zelle, J.D., Ph.D., zelle@virginia.edu


Xuemei Ding, LLM is the Institute Administrator. She oversees all business aspects of the Institute including the Forensic Psychiatry Clinic, all research projects and training programs.


Edward Strickler, Jr., MA, MA, MPH, CHES, has served for more than 15 years as Programs Coordinator involved in every aspect of Institute-sponsored training programs, symposiums, and conferences; as Managing Editor of Developments in Mental Health Law; and in other support of the mission of the Institute. His service has helped to sustain and expand the translational enterprise of the Institute into its fourth decade as a national flagship in forensic mental health.


Alex Jakubow, Ph.D., is an empirical research librarian at the University of Virginia School of Law. His work at the ILPPP focuses on the use of risk assessment in sentencing among Virginia judges and the use of Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) in Virginia.