Forensic Psychologist

US Government, 407 Health & Human Services - Mental Health Institution - Cherokee

Only applicants who meet the Minimum Qualification Requirements and meet all selective requirements (listed below) will be placed on the eligible list.

The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is seeking a Forensic Psychologist to join the team at the Cherokee Mental Health Institute (CMHI). This is a full-time position with HHS. The primary schedule is Monday thru Friday from 8:00a.m. to 4:30p.m., however, this schedule is variable and flexible. This position requires a doctoral degree in psychology, licensure as a psychologist or license-eligible in the State of Iowa, and education, training, or experience in forensic psychology.  This position offers resources for professional growth, opportunity for leadership advancement, and a unique occasion to help develop a dynamic forensic behavioral health system in Iowa.  
CMHI is a state-operated, acute psychiatric hospital that is accredited by the Joint Commission and CMS certified. The forensic commitments primarily include persons found incompetent to stand trial who are in need of competence restoration treatment. The hospital includes security professionals who assist in maintaining safety when required. 
The Forensic Psychologist will work as part of an inviting and collaborative interdisciplinary team comprised of psychiatric providers, nurses, social workers, psychiatric rehabilitation specialists, and other health disciplines. This is the only doctoral-level psychologist position at the facility. This position will report to the CMHI Social Work Administrator, and receive clinical oversight, support, and collaboration from HHS Central Office.
The primary duties of this position include: 

  • Direct, provide, and oversee clinical and forensic psychological services for the hospital. 
  • Conduct court-ordered competence to stand trial evaluations and other forensic psychological evaluations as requested, such as violence and sexual risk assessments and evaluations of persons found not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI). Expert witness testimony (in-person or remote) will be necessary when required. 
  • Provide and direct didactic and skills-based competence restoration treatment, including implementing a restoration curriculum and training restoration providers. 
  • Conduct various psychological assessments and reports to clarify diagnosis, eligibility for services (e.g., intellectual disability), and provide treatment and support recommendations. 
  • Provide individual/group/family psychotherapy. 
  • Provide psychological consultation, policy considerations, and staff training direction that promotes a strong continuity of care and improves overall ability to work effectively with civil and forensic commitments. This includes best practices for positive behavior management and restraint/seclusion reduction. 
  • Opportunities may be available for clinical supervision of practicum trainees/predoctoral interns/post-doctoral fellows. Preceptor guidance to psychiatric residents and fellows from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) may also be available through Iowa’s Public Psychiatry Fellowship program. 
  • Clinical adjunct faculty appointment with UIHC may be available. This appointment would include access to numerous virtual learning opportunities such as grand rounds, continuing education credits, and online access to numerous clinical databases, journal articles, and electronic books. 

In addition, it is hoped that this Forensic Psychologist will assist HHS and their partners in further establishing a high-quality system of forensic behavioral healthcare that furthers the HHS mission of providing high-quality programs and services that protect and improve the health and resiliency of individuals, families, and communities. Although not a core part of the job, CMHI is located on the same campus as the Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders which may provide this Forensic Psychologist opportunity for additional consultation, psychological testing and evaluations, and training. 
CMHI provides active inpatient treatment to adults in need of acute psychiatric care. The facility offers several services including individualized treatment plans. Support for patients with special education needs to continue their education is provided and individuals are encouraged to collaborate with staff members in formulating their own plan. Medication, group counseling, and activities therapies are offered as well.
We have a great total compensation package, including:

  • Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS) (Employee contributes 6.29%/State of Iowa contributes 9.44%)
  • Retirement Investors Club (RIC) (Employer Sponsored Retirement Plan) (State of Iowa matches up to $75/month)
  • Health, Dental and Vision Insurance (See below for additional information)
  • Vacation Leave (96 hours/year to begin, and increases with years of service)
  • Sick Leave (144 hours/year)
  • Paid Holidays (9 days/year)
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Life Insurance ($20,000 paid for by the State of Iowa)
  • Long-Term Disability Insurance

For additional information on benefits click here.
Click here to see how we compare with other employers or offers by using our Total Compensation Calculator.
Loan forgiveness opportunities that may be applicable can be found here:–scholarships.html
Cherokee Highlights
CMHI is located in Cherokee, a city of approximately 5,000 set in the beautiful Little Sioux River Valley in Northwest Iowa. Residents enjoy fishing and canoeing on the Little Sioux River which winds through town providing a backdrop to a well-developed parks and trails system. In addition, Cherokee has over 1,000 acres of land devoted to parks and outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and horseback riding. Cherokee is the home of the first accredited museum and planetarium in Iowa, Sandford Museum and Planetarium, established in 1951. Cherokee may be the smallest town in the world to have its own symphony orchestra! This 60-member orchestra has been referred to as the “best kept secret in Northwest Iowa.”
Cherokee is home to Western Iowa Tech Community College and 1 hour or less from other educational institutions including Morningside College, Northwestern College, Buena Vista University, and Dordt College. This quintessential Iowa town is 1 hour from Sioux City and 2 hours from Omaha. Check out these 10 Reasons to Move to Iowa.
The State of Iowa is an EEO/AA Employer
HHS values those with “lived experience” and encourages adults who were fostered as youth, foster parents, and/or parents who were in the DHS system to apply. Minorities, women, persons with disabilities and veterans are encouraged to apply (Hearing and Speech Impaired – Relay Iowa 1-800-735-2942 TDD).  
Our agency uses E-Verify to confirm the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, please visit

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