Tonia Nicholls

Tonia Nicholls

Professor (Partner), UBC Department of Psychiatry, Division of Forensic Psychiatry

Adjunct Faculty, Department of Psychology, SFU

Researcher, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services Research (BCMHSUS) Institute

Distinguished Scientist, Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission, BCMHSUS

Investigator, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute


Short Biography

Dr. Nicholls is Professor, Department of Psychiatry, UBC and Distinguished Scientist at the Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission, BCMHSUS. She holds cross-appointments at UBC including the SPPH and an Adjunct appointment in the Department of Psychology, SFU.

Her research examines the intersections of law and mental health related to the provision of services to persons in conflict with the law and diverse marginalized populations focusing on assessment and treatment of violence, criminality and the development and implementation of EBP. She has published manuals to support the translation of research into practice and has engaged in large-scale implementations and evaluations; these include violence risk assessments and mental health screening in correctional settings, mental health assessments and treatment planning (see manuals).

Her scholarly work has earned her and her teams multiple grants and awards totalling over $15 million. Recently she received a CIHR Foundation award (> $2 million; 2015-2022) to fund her research.


Research Focus

Topics at the intersections of law and mental health. Including risk assessment and management (suicide, violence, self-harm); measure development and psychometrics; mentally ill individuals who come into conflict with the law; psychopathy; domestic violence; resiliency, recovery, victimization and homelessness; de-institutionalization and trans-institutionalization.

Significant Accomplishments & Professional Contribution

2017 Significant Contribution Award, Canadian Psychological Association, Criminal Justice Section

2016  Canadian Institutes of Health Research -Foundation Award

2016  New Zealand Chad Buckle Visiting Fellowship, Mental Health, Addictions, & Intellectual Disability Directorate, Wellington, NZ 

2012 Quality Award – Short-Term Assessment of Risk and Treatability Program, BC Patient Safety & Quality Council

2011  Accreditation Canada Leading Practice – Short-Term Assessment of Risk and Treatability  

2004  President’s New Researcher Award, Canadian Psychological Association 2004  Distinguished Professional Contribution, American Psychological Association/APAGS

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