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Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Program

The Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship within the Community and Public Safety Psychiatry Division (CPSPD) of the Psychiatry and Behavioral Science Department at the Medical University of South Carolina (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 simultaneously providing an invaluable service to the state of South Carolina. As a major strength of the fellowship, fellows are required and encouraged to gain exposure to a wide variety of both criminal and civil evaluations with both adults and juveniles through the array of programs offered within the CPSPD.

A Large portion of the criminal law core experience is provided through a contract with the South Carolina Department of Mental Health to provide competency to stand trial and criminal responsibility/capacity to conform evaluations for 12 counties in South Carolina. Through this experience, fellows gain experience conducting court-ordered evaluations in these areas with both adults and juveniles. Additionally, fellows will participate in non-state contracted criminal cases referred to our office from various agencies.

Non-state cases may include several types of evaluations including criminal responsibility/capacity to conform, competency to stand trial, independent medical and malpractice evaluations, adoption evaluations, child custody evaluations, parental fitness, termination of parental rights, disability claim assessments, worker's compensation evaluations, conservator & guardianship evaluations, law enforcement pre-employment evaluations, and other forensic consulting. The frequency with which each type of case will be assigned is based upon the rate of referrals in each given program. At MUSC, we also provide Consultation Liaison services to the Institute of Psychiatry and the Medical University Hospital for issues such as violence and suicide risk assessment. Fellows complete rotations through the South Carolina Department of Corrections and Department of Juvenile Justice. Finally, Fellows provide evaluation services for Charleston and Berkeley County Probate Courts for Civil commitment hearings.

Didactics include a weekly landmark case law series and courses relevant to the intersection of law and mental health. Mock trials and testimony observation are utilized to prepare fellows to present testimony in court. As part of the academic component of the program, fellows complete a research project (paper and/or local, regional, national, or international presentation, etc.). Fellows will gain experience providing some teaching and supervision to students and/or medical students on a rotation in the CPSPD. Further, the CPSPD often has ongoing grant-funded forensic research projects that fellows can participate in.

Benefits include fully funded trips to the Annual Meeting of AAPL and the Forensic Psychiatry Review Course. Fellows have the benefit of working in a multidisciplinary division and work alongside forensic psychologists, licensed professional counselors, social workers, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and others. Best of all, Fellows also get the benefit of enjoying the relaxing coastal environment of Charleston, South Carolina.

For additional information: Please contact Emily K. Shier, MA, LPC/I (Clinical Instructor; Program Coordinator, Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology Fellowships), at 843-792-1461 or via email at forensicfellowships@musc.edu.