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THE INTERSECTION OF PSYCHIATRY AND THE LAW

Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship

The Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship at MUSC is a 12-month accredited program that provides a diverse training experience in areas where psychiatry is applied to legal issues. Our program is committed to educating clinicians in the theoretical and practical aspects of forensic psychiatry. While doing so, the Division of Forensic Psychiatry at MUSC provides an invaluable service to the state of South Carolina and the Lowcountry in particular.

At MUSC we provide Consultation Liaison service to the Institute of Psychiatry and the Medical University Hospital for issues such as violence and suicide risk assessment and capacity. We also provide evaluation services to Charleston, and Berkley County Probate Courts. Disability evaluations and conservator and guardianship cases are utilized to round out the civil law core experience.

For the criminal law core experience we utilize South Carolina’s Department of Corrections. Fellows provide regular clinical care at two correctional institutions; one of which is a maximum security facility that houses South Carolina’s Death Row inmates. The other is a medium security facility. Fellows also provide clinical care to juveniles housed at the Charleston County Detention Center.  To round out the criminal core experience, our program has a contract with the South Carolina Department of Mental Health to provide competency to stand trial and criminal responsibility evaluations for 8 counties in the coastal region.

Fellows have the opportunity to participate in private evaluations. Faculty perform Criminal Responsibility, Competency to Stand Trial, Independent Medical and Malpractice, as well as Child Custody evaluations that fellows will work together on with faculty supervision. Fellows may also work on private cases as experience and skill allow. A fellow’s training can be tailored to fit specific personal interests. Our faculty includes three board certified forensic psychiatrists one board certified forensic psychologist. Among those, one is board certified in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Didactics include a weekly landmark case series and courses in the basics of law and psychiatry. Videotapes and mock trials are utilized to prepare fellows to present testimony in court. As part of the academic component of the program, fellows complete an academic project (paper, local, regional or national presentation, etc) and participate in a forensic psychiatry journal club once a month. They are responsible for some teaching to general residents.

Fringe benefits include funds to attend the annual meeting of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (AAPL) as well as the Forensic Psychiatry Review Course. Fellows also get the benefit of enjoying the relaxing coastal environment of Charleston, South Carolina.

 
 
 

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