Renate Wack, Dipl. Psych.; M.P.H.
Renate Wack is a clinical and forensic psychologist with over three decades of experience in a variety of professional and organizational leadership positions in State and private forensic mental health settings in the USA and in New Zealand. She has worked in a variety of cultural contexts with forensic populations of varied ethnic origins. The integration of culturally appropriate methods and processes with Western assessment and treatment approaches has thus been an important aspect of her work. Risk assessment and risk management of persons with histories of violent and sexual offending and the psychological treatment of person with histories of violence, suffered as well as perpetrated, have been central to her clinical and forensic work. Throughout her career she has combined administrative and clinical/forensic roles with programme, development, and university affiliated teaching and training activities. She has provided expert testimony to District Courts and High Courts in the USA and New Zealand and served on various government panels for forensic mental health in both countries.
In the USA Renate Wack provided clinical and forensic services for eight years at the Bridgewater State Hospital, Massachusetts’ forensic maximum security facility under the auspices of the Institute for Law and Psychiatry at McLean Hospital, a psychiatric teaching hospital of the Harvard Medical School.
For thirteen years she was the Executive Director of the Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center (KFPC) in New York City, a 168-bed forensic hospital of the New York State, Office of Mental Health (NYSOMH). The hospital quickly achieved full JCAHO accreditation which was maintained throughout her tenure. Innovative risk assessment, -management and treatment approaches and effective court liaison services were established. In affiliation with the Department of Psychiatry at New York University accredited forensic mental health training positions and -programmes for psychologists and psychiatrists were created as well as highquality continuing professional development programmes for KFPC staff and an annual forensic mental health conference series for regional stakeholders.
Since moving to New Zealand in 2000 she has directed Psychological Services for the Regional Forensic Psychiatry Services based at the Mason Clinic in Auckland and been appointed Clinical Leader for Psychology for the Midland Regional Forensic Services in Hamilton. Responsibilities include service-wide clinical and administrative consultations, projects to improve and expand treatment and assessment, development culturally appropriate, recovery-based interventions treatment and enhancement psychology staffing and competence via supervision and training.
As a Consultant Psychologist to Hauora Waikato, a private Maori mental health service, she assists in developing and implementing treatment approaches that combine Western best practice models with Maori cultural values and processes. She also maintains a private practice in Auckland for psychotherapy and forensic evaluations.
Renate Wack qualified in Clinical Psychology at the Freie University, Berlin, Germany and pursued her post-graduate clinical and research training at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA, where she also obtained a Masters Degree in Behavioural Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Academic affiliations have included Harvard Medical School (Fellow, Psychiatry Department), New York University Medical School (Psychiatry Department, Assistant Professor, Clinical, part-time) and Auckland University Medical School (Psychiatry Department, part-time lecturer, Forensic Mental Health Training ).
Publications are in the areas of risk assessment, risk management and treatment of persons with a propensity for violence.