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Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Columbia - Curriculum

Forensic psychiatry educational experiences

A major goal of our forensic psychiatry fellowship is to produce graduates who have attained a working knowledge base in the areas of criminal and civil psychiatric practice, as well as a broad understanding of issues influencing the legal regulation of psychiatric practice.

They should have the necessary skills to perform comprehensive criminal and civil psychiatric examinations and provide competent and qualified testimony as expert witnesses in the court system. Furthermore, they should have a thorough understanding of the ethical principles guiding the practice of forensic psychiatry.

Training sites

The Forensic Psychiatry Service is a division of the S.C. Department of Mental Health and an affiliate of the UofSC School of Medicine. Residents receive a criminal forensic experience at this facility.

Evaluation services

Each year, approximately 1,000 adult and juvenile evaluations are conducted on patients from throughout South Carolina. Some patients may be accompanied by their attorneys. Patients judged too ill to stand trial are admitted to inpatient services.

Fellows are supervised in their forensic evaluations of individuals charged with felony crimes and make recommendations as to their competency to stand trial, understand criminal responsibility and their capacity to conform their behavior to the requirements of law. Fellows provide testimony concerning their evaluations on an as needed basis. Fellow workload consists of three evaluations per week, including one murder defendant.

All evaluation reports are reviewed by a faculty member.

South Carolina Department of Corrections

Fellows provide consultation one half day a week for six months at Gilliam Psychiatric Hospital, the inpatient mental health treatment center for the South Carolina Department of Mental Health. Fellows are involved with the treatment of the most serious mentally ill inmates in the correctional system. Fellows evaluate inmates for civil commitment and for the involuntary administration of psychotropic medication.  

Private practice

Fellows spend 20 hours per week for six months reviewing a variety of civil cases, including malpractice, personal injury and worker's compensation. Fellows are exposed to initial discovery and trial stages of many cases. Fellows observe and assist faculty performance of civil evaluations, interaction with attorneys and court testimony.