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Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship

The Harvard Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship is a one-year, full-time ACGME-approved training program based at Massachusetts General Hospital. The fellowship is designed to provide comprehensive training in forensic psychiatry, drawing on multiple clinical sites, a large-multidisciplinary teaching faculty and a vast array of academic opportunities within the Harvard system.

Overview

Requirements

Applicants must have completed an ACGME-accredited general psychiatry residency program. At the time the fellows begin the program, they must have a Massachusetts medical license.

Overview

The Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital is a one-year, full-time ACGME-accredited training program based at Mass General and is housed within the Law and Psychiatry Service (LPS), a subdivision within the Department of Psychiatry.

The fellowship is designed to develop proficiency in all aspects of forensic psychiatric practice:

  • Evaluation
  • Report writing
  • Courtroom testimony
  • Treatment in correctional facilities

Fellows participate in supervised clinical experiences in three principal off-site facilities which provide for a diverse experience and exposure to criminal, civil and child/adolescent cases. All remaining time will be spent at LPS in academic activities, didactics, supervision and forensic casework. Additionally, the fellow will provide episodic consultation to the psychiatric inpatient service at Mass General and will be expected to teach and supervise house-staff when called for forensic consultation at Mass General.

Evaluation, research, writing and teaching skills are emphasized throughout the fellowship. Fellows participate in a year-long seminar series which provides a comprehensive overview of adult and child forensic topics, as well as landmark cases in psychiatry and the law. The fellow is invited to attend special courses offered to staff and trainees in the LPS and the Department of Psychiatry, including courses on forensic psychological testing and the evaluation of sexual abuse. The fellow will also attend weekly Grand Rounds presentations. In addition to court exposure through cases in the fellowship, the fellow will participate in two mock trial/expert witness exercises. The first takes place at the Harvard Law School and the second is held at the Boston Juvenile Court. During the fellowship year, fellows are also expected to make a scholarly contribution by participating in a forensic research project or by undertaking a review of legal and/or psychiatric literature.

The fellow has no admitting privileges. There are no required nights, weekend or holiday on-call times and he/she is not expected to provide cross coverage for any private patients. The fellow will sign a written employment contract with Partners HealthCare System and will abide by the policies governing all Partners HealthCare System house staff.  The program will provide malpractice and health insurance coverage for the fellow and three weeks paid vacation. In addition, the program pays for American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (AAPL) membership, travel, lodging and tuition for the AAPL annual meeting, as well as the AAPL review course. The fellow is eligible for subsidized parking or subsidized public transportation and the use of Harvard facilities.

Curriculum

Curriculum

Throughout the twelve months of the fellowship, the fellow will gain 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 Jose Hidalgo, MD.

The remainder of the fellowship is divided into two six-month blocks:

  • New England Forensic Associates Block: During one block, the fellow will spend one day per week at the New England Forensic Associates (NEFA) under the supervision of Martin Kafka, MD, and Leo Keating, LICSW. NEFA provides fellows with an opportunity to learn about the diagnosis and treatment of sexual disorders, as well as the application of clinical knowledge and skills to assessment of these disorders in the forensic setting. At the end of the rotation, fellows will understand the various techniques used to assess these disorders, be able to diagnose and treat commonly occurring sexual disorder and be able to conduct forensic evaluations in which sexual disorders are an issue.
  • Boston Juvenile Court Clinic Block: During the other block, the fellow will spend one day per week at the Boston Juvenile Court Clinic under the supervision of Jennifer Murphy, PhD. Here the fellow will have the opportunity to perform child custody and visitation assessments under the supervision of Law & Psychiatry Service senior staff.

All additional time will be spent at Mass General in the Law & Psychiatry Service (LPS) attending lectures, participating in forensic evaluations for threat assessments, guardianship, and various criminal and civil forensic matters. The fellow will have the opportunity to write reports for these evaluations under the supervision of LPS senior staff and will participate in regular supervision with the Fellowship Director Ronald Schouten, MD, JD. 

Application Requirements

Required Documents

  1. Completed and signed application form
  2. Three letters of reference: One of these should be from the director of your psychiatry residency training program, the additional two should be from supervisors and attending staff with whom you have worked directly
  3. A curriculum vitae and a brief one-page personal statement including aspects of your background, experiences and interests relevant to training in forensic psychiatry
  4. A copy of your current professional licensure.
  5. Two writing samples: these should be fully redacted and should be of a clinicalnature, preferably forensic, for which you had primary responsibility
  6. If there are any interruptions in your medical education or training to date for academic disciplinary reasons, please provide a separate written statement of explanation

How to Apply

Download the Fellowship Application

Application due date: April 15th of the year prior to entry
Interviews will occur in June with no formal binding response required prior to November 1st

Applications should be sent to:

Ronald Schouten, MD, JD
Director
Law and Psychiatry Service
Massachusetts General Hospital
One Bowdoin Square
15 New Chardon Street, 10th Floor
Boston, MA 02114

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Fellowship Coordinator Deana Lozano at 617-724-8658 or by e-mail at dlozano@mgh.harvard.edu.

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