Professor Richard Bonnie to Receive APA Commendation for Contributions to Field of Law and Psychiatry

Richard Bonnie will give a lecture titled "The Sudden Collapse of Marijuana Prohibition: What's Next?" at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in May.

April 1, 2016

University of Virginia School of Law professor Richard Bonnie has been awarded the American Psychiatric Association's Special Presidential Commendation for his contributions to the field of law and psychiatry.

Bonnie will be presented with the award at the 169th annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, scheduled to be held in Atlanta on May 14-18, at which he will also deliver a lecture titled, "The Sudden Collapse of Marijuana Prohibition: What's Next?"

At UVA Law, Bonnie is the Harrison Foundation Professor of Medicine and Law and the Class of 1941 Research Professor of Law. He is also a professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences, director of the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy, and a professor of public policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

In recent years, Bonnie has been involved in educating, researching or helping to inform policies related to gun policy, juvenile justice, mental health services, tobacco policy and drug addiction.

Bonnie has been actively involved in public service throughout his career. Among many other positions, he has been associate director of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, secretary of the first National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse, chair of Virginia's State Human Rights Committee responsible for protecting rights of persons with mental disabilities, chief advisor for the ABA Criminal Justice Mental Health Standards Project, and chair of the Commission on Mental Health Law Reform established by the chief justice of Virginia. Bonnie has served as an advisor to the American Psychiatric Association Council on Psychiatry and Law since 1979, and he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 1991. In 2007, he received the university's highest honor, the Thomas Jefferson Award.

Since, 2013, Bonnie has been collaborating with a team of scientific colleagues from Duke and Columbia on policies aiming to reduce firearm-related suicide and homicide. The group recently published an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association and submitted invited testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in February on the likely effects of proposals to restore gun rights to people with histories of involuntary hospitalization and to veterans who have been found unable to manage their financial affairs.

At the request of Virginia Sen. Creigh Deeds, Bonnie is now chairing an expert advisory body to prepare options for the Virginia General Assembly’s panel studying mental health services for the 21st century. The group will report its recommendations in December 2017. The study was initiated in the wake of a tragic event in November 2013 in which Deeds’ son attempted to kill him, and then committed suicide.

Bonnie previously chaired the Virginia Supreme Court’s Commission on Mental Health Law Reform from 2006-11.

Bonnie was also the recipient of a commendation from the American Psychiatric Association in 2003 for his contributions to the association's programs for more than two decades. (More)

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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