Mental Health Consultant, Phillips & Associates, Gormley, Toronto, ON. Born: Trinidad & Tobago.
Dr. Michael Phillips has been described as “a pioneer in the design and implementation of diversion programs for criminal offenders with mental illness.” After initial studies in nursing administration, he shifted to hospital administration, winning awards for his work in the area of psychiatry and the justice system.
Highlights: Deputy Director of Administration, Metro Toronto Forensic Service, which provides forensic psychiatric assessments to the courts; Assistant Professor, Psychiatry, University of Toronto (1982-2002); joined the Ministry of the Attorney General as Provincial Coordinator, Forensic Psychiatric Services, where he implemented a diversion program for mentally ill offenders charged with offenses resulting from their mental illness (1992); joined the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services providing treatment services to special needs offenders (2000); developed a provincial database for identifying high-risk offenders.
Presently, Dr. Phillips works as a Consultant in mental health and justice with government ministries and agencies in developing a human response to mentally ill offenders, and advancing the development of institutions such as mental health courts. He is also the Co-Founder of the International Institute on Special Needs Offenders and Policy Research, a volunteer organization whose mission is aimed at ensuring personal and public safety, by promoting improved systems and services for adult and adolescent offenders who are mentally ill or developmentally disabled and have special needs. This includes continuing advocacy for adequate institutional programs and diversion initiatives such as mental health courts. The hallmark of the Institute’s activities is in working with governments and agencies and fostering knowledge exchange through an international conference held every two years.
Affiliations: Appointed Member, Justice of the Peace Review Council (2008-present); elected Member, Advisory Board, Canadian Criminal Justice Association (2007); served on the Board of Directors, Canadian Mental Health Association and Ministry of the Attorney General Representative to Mental Disorder and Justice Review Project; appointed to Ontario Criminal Code Review Board (1994-99).
Honours: Inclusion in Who’s Who in Black Canada 2 (2006); Fellow American College of Health Service Executives (1980-2002); Canadian College Health Service Executives (1999); Amethyst Award, Province of Ontario (1997); Employee Recognition, outstanding performance, Ministry of Attorney General (1996).
Works: Position papers and publications on Health Care administration and on mental disorders and the criminal code.
Education: PhD, Graduate College Union University, Cincinnati (1983); Master of Health Administration, Canadian School Management (1981); Bachelor of Science in Nursing, University of Toronto (1972).
Favorite book? (Nothing specific.) Completed reading Will Durant’s 11 volume set, The Story of Civilization. I’m presently reading The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon.
Favorite quotes? 1) “Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you.” – Aldous Huxley 2) “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” – Gandhi.
Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? Contribute my time as a role model, and work with Third World grade school children to inspire them to be the best person they can be.
Who inspires you? My mother, who said when we were kids, “I cannot leave you wealth or property but will leave you with a desire for knowledge that will remain with you for the rest of your life.”
Why do you do what you do? The belief that we all have the potential to achieve our ultimate goals in life. That living and learning continue beyond formal education and a professional job, and that our contribution to society, likewise, is a lifelong process.