Forensic Section Head - Oahu Branch at the Hawai'i Department of Adult Mental Health
“The faculty [at Argosy University] were invested in my learning. They were always there to guide and challenge me to engage in critical thinking that allowed me to grow both professionally and personally.”
Oversees Community Forensics Programs; Supervises and Trains Forensic Clinical Psychologists
Dr. Don “Keith” Pedro is the forensic section head – Oahu Branch at the Department of Adult Mental Health— Hawai'i. Pedro oversees community forensic programs and trains forensic clinical psychologists, a court-based clinician psychologist and Jail Diversion staff. “I also provide forensic consultations to judiciary and various state agencies on behalf of the Department of Adult Mental Health,” he said. “[For the past 12 years, I’ve lectured in psychology] as an adjunct lecturer for Kapiolani Community College - University of Hawaii and at Argosy University, Hawai'i.”
Pedro’s travels helped him to identify his career path. “My family had hopes for me to go into business as a family trend, but that didn't suit me. My travels motivated me to learn more about human behavior. It was a personal quest to help those at the margins of society,” he stated. He did not plan to study forensics but discovered that it was a passion. “I started off as a forensic coordinator conducting risk assessments, providing forensic consultations to treatment teams and state agencies,” he added.
Pedro looked at doctor of psychology programs both in Hawai'i and on the mainland before choosing the Hawai`i School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University. He said, “I truly believe that it takes not only the university to prepare [for a career], but also the student. [The student must be invested] in continuous learning. Argosy University provided me with the structured courses necessary as a clinician and courses that prepared me for licensure.” He earned a Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology from the university in 2004.
With the solid foundation his education provided, Pedro continued to receive promotions in the forensic field. “My high points are seen in the collaborative relationships built over the years. My growth would not have been possible without the strong support of my supervisors and the director that believed in me. [These people] allowed me to develop not only programs but collaborative community relationships,” he stated. In addition to his promotions, Pedro is a recipient of the Hawaii Psychological Association’s "Teaching Psychology” annual award.
Graduate school is difficult and requires commitment, according to Pedro. He was challenged with tough class schedules that required him to make sacrifices. “Be less entitled and more humble in this journey and learn as much as you can. Take on an internal locus of control,” he recommended to others pursuing their degrees.
Pedro’s additional accomplishments include a recent appointment to the Board of Psychology for the State of Hawaii (DCCA). He serves on the board of directors for I'Ola Lahui, a native Hawaiian scholarship training for behavioral health in rural communities and is on the advisory council for The Salvation Army Women's Way. Pedro is a past Diversity delegate for the Hawaii Psychological Association.
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