1. Download free Tapatalk for iPhone or Tapatalk for Android for your phone and follow the SDN forums with push notifications.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Hey Texans—join us for a DFW meetup! Click here to learn more.

Forensic programs

Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by littlepurplepil, Dec 3, 2005.

  1. littlepurplepil

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Hi all, I'm new to posting (though I lurk on here like it's my job :p ) and I'd like to find out more about the reputations of forensics fellowships. Which ones are well-known as being top-notch? Are there any places that stand out as providing excellet forensic psych exposure while also giving one a well-rounded legal background? Additionally, are there any residencies that allow for forensics exposure or provide rotations in forensics for the residents?

    Thanks so much for any info; this forum is great! :thumbup:
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. Doc Samson

    Doc Samson gamma irradiated
    Physician 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2005
    Messages:
    1,963
    Likes Received:
    10
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    I've frequently heard that UMass, Case Western, and UC-Davis are considered the "best" forensics fellowships (though sometimes people throw in Yale as well). They're pretty intense ~90 hour work weeks with semi-frequent all-nighters to get all the writing done.
     
  4. dynamite

    dynamite Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2001
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    0
    Could you tell me more about the options of a forensic psychiatrist? I mean, is it more than just testifying for competency cases? And how much of the "law" are you trained in? Or are you basically just the "expert witness?" I'm starting to become more and more interested in forensics and just wanted to know what the options are. Thanks mucho mucho.
     
  5. Darger

    Darger New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Good east coast programs are:

    Case Western (Phil Resnick is here)
    UMass
    Yale
    Tulane
    Maryland
    South Carolina

    It is important to get a good mix of criminal/civil exposure as well as lots of experience writing to non MDs (lawyers and jurys.)

    As a forensic psychiatrist you see nonforensic adult (or child) patients otherwise no one will take you seriously enough to even be a witness much less an "expert" one. Without actively practicing you don't have much credibility unless you have decades of medicine under your belt.

    Forensics covers, among other things, disability cases, competency, head injury, criminal responsibility, malpractice, psychopharm cases, competency to stand trail, general psychiatry in a corrections center, etc. Pediatric forensic psychiatrists (who btw, can really practice exactly the way they please given how few of them there are) also custody, child abuse and so on.
     
  6. atsai3

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2002
    Messages:
    1,283
    Likes Received:
    9
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    Echo the note about Case Western. You can read more about Resnick here:
    http://www.case.edu/pubs/cwrumag/winter2003/features/darkness/index.shtml

    I've been told that the forensic fellowship at Case is very intense. Lots of reading and writing. But of course, after you finish you get to tell people "I worked with Phil Resnick".

    -AT.
     
  7. littlepurplepil

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Thanks for all the responses guys. What about West Coast programs? I know UCSF has a big Psychiatry & the Law institute; are they well known in the field? Would it be best to focus on residency programs that have forensic fellowships or is the field open enough that it wouldn't make a big difference? (ie, not so closed that most programs only take their own grads).
     
  8. Doc Samson

    Doc Samson gamma irradiated
    Physician 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2005
    Messages:
    1,963
    Likes Received:
    10
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    In terms of the west coast... when I said UCSD above, what I meant to say was UC-Davis (those UC schools all blend together for us easterners). I've re-edited my previous post to correct my error.
     
  9. prominence

    prominence Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2001
    Messages:
    1,064
    Likes Received:
    11
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    are there enough employment opportunities for a forensic psychiarist to solely work in the civil arena?

    also, do you need to complete a child and adolescent psych fellowship to become a pediatric forensic psychiatrist, or is it possible to do a concentration in child forensics during your forensic psych fellowship?

    any input would be appreciated. thanks.
     
  10. prominence

    prominence Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2001
    Messages:
    1,064
    Likes Received:
    11
    Status:
    Attending Physician
  11. PublicHealth

    PublicHealth Membership Revoked
    Removed

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2003
    Messages:
    2,271
    Likes Received:
    5
    To what extent is neuropsychology training interwoven into existing forensic psychiatry fellowship programs? I am interested in adding neuropsychological assessment training into my practice as a psychiatrist. Any insight on this?
     
  12. BCS_001

    BCS_001 Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Does anyone have any details about the reputations of the forensics programs at Maryland or MGH/Harvard? Any info would be appreciated!

    Thanks!

     
  13. sonofthesouth

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    sorry to dig up such an old thread, but Darger, by South Carolina do you mean MUSC in Charleston or the USC in Columbia? And by the way, really?!??? South Carolina? who woulda thunk it? :laugh:

    btw, BCS_001, I heard Harvard is great but still not as good as UMass. Some of their forensic rotation sites are the same, however.
     
  14. whopper

    whopper Former jolly good fellow
    Physician Faculty 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Messages:
    6,648
    Likes Received:
    1,297
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    I'm going to advertise my own program U of Cincinnati.

    Resnick does some teaching here, we got Doug Mossman who is a Guttmacher award winner, and is the head of the Weaver fellowship at the UC law school (They just started a joint class between the law fellows and the forensic fellows at UC this year.) John Kennedy-an AAPL best teacher award winner, Vic Bressler-a national expert on forced confessions (among several other forensic areas), and they give the fellows private forensic work.
    I've interviewed at some of the programs mentioned above among others. IMHO the best ones are...

    Case Western
    MGH
    U Mass
    U of Cincinnati
    Tulane
    Albert Einstein (NYC)

    I haven't heard much about UC-Davis, though if Samson has heard good things I'd definitely take that as info from a good source.

    I can definitely mention ones I've seen I was not impressed with--but since the forensic world is very small, my mention of them would get me some flack. I will mention that several programs will not teach the fellows any of the psychometric testing used in forensic cases. This is a big time disadvantage if you go to court, and the other side has someone who is using psychometric testing and you have no way to counter it. You may look like an idiot on the stand if that happens. Several of the tests I'm talking about are--the Georgia Competency test, the Mac-CAT, the SIRS, the TOMMS, among others, (of the programs I've seen that teach psychometric testing--U Mass, Case Western & UCincinnati do this)

    Several forensic programs are in superb psychiatry programs, but the fellowship itself is not impressive. Without naming names, some programs where I interviewed were at top psychiatry departments, yet they didn't have any knowledge or experience with psychometric testing which gave me a little "WTF?" thought in my brain during the tour and interview. Point-just because the residency program is good, doesn't mean the forensic fellowship is good. E.g. Case Western which is a fine program, but not as big in reputation as some other programs with a forensic fellowship. Yet its fellowship program is far better vs other fellowships located at psych departements with a bigger reputations than Case Western's program. In fact I've seen some fellowships at "top" residency programs that I thought were mediocre if not worse.

    Some programs also have top forensic psychiatrists attached to the department, but those people aren't teaching. This IMHO adds very little to the fellowship experience. Yeah--big guy is down the hallway, but he won't talk to you or teach you. Or big guy who has a solid reputation, and he does teach, but he can't teach well.

    The PD is very important. The reason being is that all fellowships only have 1-5 fellows in it, and their contact with the PD is very intimate, and often. Of the programs I've seen where the fellows felt their PD was top notch--Case Western, UCincinati, Albert Einstein, U of Rochester (headed by Ciccone, a pioneer in the field), Tulane, U of Wisconsin. I have heard of fellowships where the fellows couldn't stand their PD (but I will not mention them). Its also very important you make sure you will get along with your PD since you will answer to him/her and quite often. I have heard of some colleagues who didn't get along with their PD, and their year was hell, and the teacher-student relationship was toxic.

    (Out of all the NYC programs, I have heard the most and best positive comments with Albert Einstein's PD. I was told he made it a personal point to help his fellows as best as he could. I was even told by friends in other NYC fellowships to forget the program they were in--just go for Einstein).

    There are plenty of programs where you will have to commute for several hours a day. The reason being is that the fellowship is located in a posh university setting, but you will have to work in a prison which could be hours away, and you will ahve to commute there and back everyday. City planners often times put the prison in a less desirable area. 6 of the 8 programs where I interviewed wanted me to drive over 3 hrs a day. Some of them wanted me to drive about 5 hrs a day (no joke). (advertisement--UCincinnati's forensic facility is about 20 minutes away from the fellowship office)

    The quality of the facility is important. Several forensic fellowships will have you working in something on the order of a dungeon. Some have built state of the art facilities (cameras everywhere, personal safety alarm buttons etc) That is very important because your personal safety will be at stake when you are interviewing someone who has a felony conviction such as aggravated assault, aggravated arson or murder. (UCincinnati has a state of the art facility.)

    Some programs are research powerhouses. U Mass is one. They have the fellows do plenty of research. Some programs emphasize more clinical, private and court experience. Some are on this order to a higher level--they follow the clinical/private/court experience on the order of federal court, national cases, and cases where the forensic psychiatrist is asked to give testimony outside their usual state of practice because that organization's reputation is of a higher order. UCincinnati and Case Western are on this order. Resnick for example has worked on the most famous cases across the country in various states.

    Another factor is gauging the complexity of the legal issues the fellowship will allow. National/Federal court cases, psychological autopsies, sanity evaluations, expert witness evaluations on the stand, and malpractice cases are some of the bigger and tougher cases to work on. Several programs will not allow exposure to these cases. Others will only do small things--which are actually very available in regular psychiatric fellowships. E.g. one fellowship I saw had 1/2 their time seeing patients in an ER and petitioning them for involuntary commitment or not. I spent over 1000 hrs already doing that in residency. I sure as heck didn't need to go to a fellowship that was just going to have me do something I did in residency.

    Most programs will pay for the fellow's AAPL convention costs, and make them take the AAPL review course (this is a good thing). I do know of a few programs that do not do this.

    Working solely in the civil area is a tough call. Doing purely private work has no safety net, no insurance plan, and lack of structure. It can be done, but its tough to get started. you'll have to make relationships with the local lawyers. This can take years. If there's other forensic psychiatrists in the area, they may see you as competition and try to nix you. Others I've seen have become the defense attorney's hired gun, and the pressure to be a hired gun may go up if you are having problems finding private work.

    I cannot answer the 2nd question you mentioned. There is no specific pediatric forensic psychiatrist that's officially recognized as such as far as I know. I do know that my PD is a child psychiatrist, and in his opinion you do need the child fellowship training to do forensic evaluations on children.
     
    #13 whopper, Sep 2, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2009

Share This Page