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Spotlight on Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology – Argosy University, Dallas

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The Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology degree program at Argosy University, Dallas offers a variety of experiences beyond just getting your education. We have an official mascot – Underdog. Why - because in our field we often support those who have very unique needs and are often seen as the expected loser in a legal issue. We wear the cape with pride.

This program teaches more than just the behavior expected of criminals. We teach why those behaviors may become criminal behaviors and we use a multidimensional approach to understanding forensic psychology. Here are a few of the important components of our program:

We offer a Field Placement to students who attend on campus in the blended format. We offer comprehensive Examination Preparation Workshops.

Our graduates work in a variety of fields including Juvenile and Adult Probation, local police departments, recovery agencies, court ordered treatment agencies, and the criminal justice field. Some of our graduates go on to doctoral programs.

Dr. Debbra Jennings is the Chair of the program and teaches several of the courses. She brings years of experience in evaluation and intervention, program development, and teaching. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychology-Law Division – Division 41 of the American Psychological Association, the Dallas Forensic Group, and the National Association of School Psychologists.

Come see what we are all about. Visit a class to experience the energy. Dr. Jennings can be reached through her email at Dkjennings@argosy.edu.


Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Argosy University, 5001 Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway, Heritage Square, Dallas, TX 75244 © 2017 Argosy University. All rights reserved. Our email address is materialsreview@argosy.edu.
See https://www.argosy.edu/locations/dallas/counseling-psychology-and-social-sciences-4/master-of-arts-in-forensic-psychology for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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Gaucher Disease: A Story of Science and Humanity

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By Wayne D. Rosenfield, Ph.D.

October is Gaucher Disease Awareness Month, and the first day of October each year is International Gaucher Day. Until now, you most likely never heard of Gaucher Disease. Most physicians will recall some brief mention of it in medical school, perhaps as part of a list of other rare disorders. A rare disease was defined by the Orphan Drug Act of 1983 as a condition that affects fewer than 200,000 people. Gaucher Disease, affecting perhaps as many as 60,000 people globally, is the most common of a class of conditions called lysosomal storage disorders.

And here is where Gaucher Disease comes out of the textbooks to become a real-life adventure story. Roscoe Brady, MD was early in his career when he first encountered people with the unusual constellation of Gaucher disease symptoms: Bleeding, anemia, fractures, swollen liver and spleen, degenerated joints, and episodes of severe, unremitting pain. There had already been about a century of research, beginning with a doctoral dissertation at the University of Paris by Philippe Gaucher. Dr. Gaucher had puzzled over a patient who had some signs of leukemia, but who had died from something else. Dr. Brady had the benefit of later research showing that the symptoms of people with Gaucher Disease were caused by an excess of a fatty substance in their lysosomes. These lysosomes are tiny structures, inside cells. And the lysosomal storage, and then the person’s symptoms, were because of a very minor deficiency of an enzyme.

The solution seemed simple. Inject the patient with a supply of what was missing and the problem should be solved. “Voila!” as Dr. Gaucher might have said. Dr. Brady’s research team at the National Institutes of Health worked to extract the necessary enzyme from donated tissue. Painstakingly, they accumulated enough enzyme to attempt to treat a living, suffering patient.

The volunteer who had been diagnosed with Gaucher Disease received the enzyme by intravenous injection. Dr. Brady and the clinical research team anxiously checked the patient’s blood chemistry values over the coming days. There was no change in the patient’s condition. The treatment did not work.

Dr. Brady and his researchers pondered what could possibly be going wrong. They knew that they had the right chemical, an enzyme. They knew that this patient was deficient in this enzyme, which led to the symptoms and complications of the disease.

The enzyme needed to travel through the patient’s blood, through the outer walls of the body’s cells, and into the lysosomes deep inside individual cells. They knew that the enzyme’s chemical structure was that of a protein. And they realized that the body is very good at digesting proteins, especially foreign ones.

Perhaps the researchers were discouraged. But the history of science is full of accepted null hypotheses. Even a negative result adds to the body of knowledge. This enzyme replacement should have worked. What were they missing?

Scientists sometimes refer to benchwork, the tedious basic research that reveals essential truths, contributing to the body of knowledge. Truth discovered empirically adds to the body of human understanding. And we never know when we will need knowledge off the shelf. Dr. Brady learned that the membranes of lysosomes, the walls of tiny structures deep inside of other structures, have mannose ligands, tiny molecular receptors just waiting for a certain type of sugar.

“What would happen,” they wondered, “if our precious enzyme had a mannose molecule stuck onto the end of it? Would it survive the journey through the bloodstream long enough to find the lysosomes? And if it did, would the lysosome, itself a digester sort of thing, accept it inside? And once inside, would the enzyme still have enough oomph to gobble up the accumulated substance that causes the disease symptoms? And can all of this happen before the body’s own defenses against foreign invaders rip the enzyme to shreds?”

It seemed like slim odds. But success is only possible if we try. And a young boy, not even a teenager, was sick and would likely die. His mother was a physician who had followed Dr. Brady’s work for years. Her precious son would be the first to get the mannose-terminated enzyme.

I once heard this mother describe the scene of the first infusion. “It was very dramatic,” she said. The research team needed to be ready for any possible emergency. Would the boy have a life-threatening allergic reaction? Would his body respond in unexpected ways?

The enzyme dripped slowly into the boy’s intravenous line, and he remained just as happy and aware as before. In the coming days, laboratory results showed significant improvement in multiple biomarkers. Dr. Brady had done it!

The drug still needed much more testing, especially with regard to safety and effectiveness in more people, to win approval from the FDA. The first version of this enzyme replacement therapy was available for sale to the public in 1991.

Two years later, I was present at a meeting of the National Gaucher Foundation, with dozens of people who had been sick with multiple symptoms that affected their productivity, their longevity, and their ability to live normal lives. Dr. Brady took his place at the podium. There was only limited applause, because many of those in attendance were still pulling themselves up on their crutches to give him a standing ovation.

Then there was applause.

Gaucher Disease became the first lysosomal storage disorder to be treated with mannose-terminated enzyme. There are several dozen lysosomal storage disorders, some with even more devastating complications than Gaucher Disease. About five of them are now commercially treated.

But this month is about Gaucher Disease, a tenacious scientist, a brave mother and her trusting son, and the value of basic scientific research to find the Gaucher disease treatment.

Author Bio

Dr. Wayne Rosenfield worked for many years in Connecticut to develop and implement inpatient treatment programs for persons with chronic and debilitating mental disorders. His interest in addressing the most intense problems led him to disaster mental health deployments with the Red Cross following the 2001 terrorist attacks, and then to crisis work in hospital emergency departments. He was again with the Red Cross in Newtown the day after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Engaged with Connecticut’s response to Sandy Hook he was part of a statewide initiative to treat trauma in children. Having relocated to Florida, he is part of a research team examining a novel treatment for combat PTSD, and he performs psychological assessments for a group practice. He is a frequent speaker in the US and internationally on the subject of rare diseases. He is a professor in the Argosy University School Psychology program in Sarasota. His highly rated book, Great Necessities, is available on Amazon.com.

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For Argosy University Graduate Kareema Fletcher Lewis, A Second Chance is All She Needed

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Kareema Fletcher Lewis knows just how powerful the kindness of strangers can be.

Back in 2012, Lewis—then a single mother with four children, including two with special needs—was facing challenges that would have broken the spirit of someone less resilient.

Lewis had completed her associate’s degree when her oldest son was in eighth grade, and she was determined to earn her bachelor’s degree in psychology before he graduated high school. When she enrolled at Argosy University in Atlanta to study psychology two years earlier, she was the first in her family ever to attend college. But with one daughter in remission from leukemia and a newborn with Down’s Syndrome, the obstacles were overwhelming.

“It became more than I could handle,” remembers Lewis, now 35. “I had four kids under the age of 12, including one daughter with serious medical issues and another with special needs. I failed one of my classes because I had no time to study, and I was under incredible financial pressure. Even though I was only eight classes away from graduation, something had to give—and that something was my education.”

While she knew she made the right decision under the circumstances, it was one Lewis often regretted. Three years later, in 2015, she was feeling frustrated and defeated. She was working at a community services center that provided second chances to people recovering from addiction, but she felt like her own life and career had come to a standstill.

“I was passed up for jobs because I didn’t have the educational background they required,” she explains. “I knew I needed to complete my degree in order to create the career and life I wanted for my children, but I just couldn’t see how I could make it work.”

Lewis decided it was time to try creating a second chance for herself. She picked up the phone and made a call that would change her life.

“I decided to call Argosy University Online, explain my situation, and see if anyone could or would help me,” she recalls. “I connected with an admissions representative named Richard Gerhardt. After I explained my situation, he said he’d call me back in an hour—and he did! He went so far above and beyond what he needed to do. He found a scholarship I was eligible for. He showed me how to utilize prior learning assessment in some of my classes. He connected me with John Barley, a finance counselor at Argosy who helped me apply for student loans and created a payment plan that I could manage. The encouragement and kindness Richard and John showed me gave me hope at a time when hope was hard to find.”

Her decision to return to college reaped immediate rewards. Soon after showing her employer proof that she had returned to college, she received a promotion. Eight classes later—on December 3, 2016—Lewis graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, with a concentration in Criminal Justice. It was also a big day for two other reasons. Earlier that day, she spoke by phone with her father, whom she’d never met. Later that night, her boyfriend proposed marriage.

With all of the good things happening in her busy life, Lewis was ready to exhale and slow down. But when Richard Gerhardt encouraged her to consider pursuing her master’s degree, she listened.

“At first, I just laughed,” Lewis recalls. “I had already accomplished more than I imagined was possible. But the more we talked, the more seriously I considered it. He pointed out that I’d already developed a routine, a structure and study habits that worked for me. When he showed me how I could earn my master’s degree in 13 months, I decided to go for it.”

Now just four classes away from her completing her Master of Science in Human Services, Lewis is on track to graduate in December.

“It’s amazing how the kindness of strangers can change a person’s life forever,” says Lewis, who recently started a new job as a Child Protective Officer with the Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services. “When I called Argosy, I never expected that the person who answered would become such a powerful influence in my life. Even though I’ve never met Richard in person, I feel like he’s a friend. Every step of the way, Richard, John and so many others at Argosy have been there for me. I did the work, but they helped me believe. I’m hoping I can meet them one day to give them a hug and to say thank you in person.”

Lewis is certain that without their support, her life would have been very different.

“It hasn’t always been easy,” she says, “but it’s absolutely been worth it. The process of earning my two degrees has allowed me to be a role model to my children, to show them anything is possible. That means the world to me. I love knowing that my kids are as proud of me as I am of myself.” ###

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