Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship
The Harvard Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship is a one-year, full-time ACGME-approved training program based at the Massachusetts General Hospital. The fellowship is designed to provide comprehensive training in forensic psychiatry, drawing on multiple clinical sites, a large-multi-disciplinary teaching faculty; and a vast array of academic opportunities within the Harvard system.
The fellow will provide episodic consultation to the psychiatric inpatient service at MGH under the supervision of Drs. James Beck, Rebecca Brendel, and Ronald Schouten. Dr. Beck, a senior forensic psychiatrist and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, will also provide mentorship for research projects initiated by the fellow. During the fellowship, the fellow receives mentorship and supervision to complete at least one publishable written work.
The didactic curriculum provides a comprehensive overview of adult and child forensic topics and landmark cases in psychiatry and the law. The fellow will attend the year-long weekly seminars, sponsored and taught by the LPS and CLP faculty. The fellow will participate in the regularly scheduled scholarly activities of the LPS, including Journal Club, Recent Court Decisions Seminar, and Case Conference. The fellow will be expected to present at each of these conferences, and will give two lectures during the seminar series. The fellow is invited to attend special courses offered to staff and trainees in the LPS, including courses on forensic psychological testing and the evaluation of sexual abuse, both taught by LPS and CLP faculty. The fellow will also attend weekly Department of Psychiatry Grand Rounds presentations and is invited to attend teaching seminars and courses offered to staff and trainees in the Department of Psychiatry at MGH. Finally, the fellow will attend the month-long course on Mental Health and the Law, taught by Alan Stone, M.D., at Harvard Law School in January.
In addition to court exposure through cases in the fellowship, the fellow will participate in two mock trial/expert witness exercises. The first, in September or January, will take place at the Harvard Law School. The second is scheduled in June and run by CLP and LPS staff at the Boston Juvenile Court. The fellow is expected to teach and supervise housestaff when called for forensic consultation at MGH.
Supervision is extensive, and provided by senior LPS and CLP staff. In addition to the supervision noted above, the fellow will meet weekly with Dr. Brendel, the associate fellowship training director or Dr. Schouten, the fellowship director and Director of LPS, to discuss ongoing cases, the fellow’s progress and career goals. Dr. Brendel will also provide informal feedback during these meetings regarding the fellow’s performance, as reported by supervisors. Twice yearly, the director will solicit written evaluations from the supervisors and will review these formally with the fellow. At these times, the director will also solicit written evaluation from the fellow regarding supervision and clinical rotations. The results of these evaluations will be communicated to the various supervisors and any necessary adjustments will be made. The director will maintain a file for each fellow.
Dr. Ronald Schouten, a full-time forensic psychiatrist trained in both law and psychiatry, directs the LPS and the fellowship. Dr. Schouten is an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Rebecca Brendel, also a staff psychiatrist at LPS and also trained as a lawyer, is associate fellowship director. Dr. Brendel is an Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and also on staff of the MGH Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Service. Beginning in the 2008-2009 academic year, the fellowship will train two fellows per year. The selection process follows a written protocol, adhering to ACGME and AAPL guidelines. Drs. Brendel and Schouten oversee the affiliation agreements with non-MGH facilities and keep written copies of these agreements, which are renewed annually.
The fellow has no admitting or billing privileges. There is no weekend or overnight call. He/she is not expected to provide cross-coverage for any private patients. The program supplies the fellow with a pager and expects the fellow to be readily available for consultation during regular duty hours. Meals and housing are not provided.
The fellow will sign a written employment contract with Partners HealthCare System and will abide by the policies governing all Partners HealthCare System housestaff. The fellowship salary is $55,000 per year. The program will provide malpractice and health insurance coverage for the fellow and three weeks paid vacation. In addition, the program pays for AAPL membership, travel, lodging and tuition for the AAPL annual meeting. The fellow is eligible for subsidized parking or subsidized public transportation and the use of the Harvard facilities. Full details can be found on the Partners HealthCare System Website:
1. Please have a letter of support from the Director of your residency training program sent to the program director.
2. Please furnish three (3) letters of reference to the program director. These should be from supervisors and attending staff with whom you have worked directly.
3. Please attach a curriculum vitae and a brief one-page personal statement including aspects of your background, experiences, and interests.
4. Please submit a copy of a clinical, preferably forensic, report for which you had primary responsibility. This report should be appropriately redacted.
5. Interviews are conducted between August and early October and are individually scheduled.
The fellowship is divided into two six-month blocks. During one six-month block, the fellow will spend three days per week at Bridgewater State Hospital, learning about psychiatric treatment in a secure hospital setting and performing statutory evaluations of competency to stand trial, criminal responsibility, and aid to sentencing as part of the statewide Designated Forensic Professional (DFP) training. Dr. Steve DeLisi will supervise the fellow on these evaluations. Dr. Dan Comiskey will provide clinical supervision. The remaining two days during the Bridgewater portion of the fellowship year are spent at the Law and Psychiatry Service (LPS) in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in academic activities, didactics, supervision, and forensic casework.
During the other six-month block, the fellow will obtain experience in correctional psychiatry, providing psychiatric consultation and ongoing care to inmates at the Suffolk County House of Correction (SCHOC) one day per week, with supervision by Dr. Andrew Clark, the Medical Director of the Children and the Law Program at MGH and the Director of Psychiatry at SCHOC. A second day in this block will be spent at the Cambridge Court Clinic, under the supervision of Dr. Prudence Baxter, where the fellow will perform court evaluations and testify in court. The remainder of this block will be spent at LPS in academic activities, didactics, supervision, and performance of outpatient evaluations in a variety of civil matters and issues pertaining to the workplace. In addition, fellows will have the opportunity to perform child custody and visitation assessments under the supervision of senior staff of the Children and the Law Program (CLP) at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Resident duty hours are defined as time spent at the worksite performing clinical and/or academic activities required by the training program, including:
- patient care activities, both inpatient and ambulatory, whether scheduled or not (i.e., includes time spent in the hospital when a resident is called in from home)
- administrative activities that are related to patient care
- in-hospital “on call”, regardless of what the resident activities are during such periods scheduled- academic activities (i.e., conferences and other didactics).
The resident will not be assigned duty hours in excess of 80 hours per week, averaged over a four-week period. Moonlighting hours shall be counted toward the weekly duty hours limit.
The resident will be provided with at least one day off in seven, averaged over a four-week period.
The resident does not perform any in-house call.
The resident will have at least 10 hours off between regularly scheduled on-site duty shifts.
The resident will not work in excess of 24 consecutive hours.
Applications should be sent to:
Rebecca W. Brendel MD, JD
Associate Director of Training
Law and Psychiatry Service
Massachusetts General Hospital
15 Parkman St, WACC 812
Boston, Massachusetts 02114
If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Stephanie Cochran, Program Coordinator, at 617-724-8658 or email her at email@example.com.