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Law and Psychiatry Training and Education

The Law and Psychiatry Program's training and education activities include:

  • The Forensic Psychology Residency Program
  • The Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Program
  • Training and Education activities provided to mental health professionals in the public sector system in Massachusetts
  • Training and Education Activities to legal and correctional professionals

Forensic Psychology Residency Program

The Forensic Psychology Residency Program is directed by Ira K. Packer, Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, and a board certified specialist in Forensic Psychology (American Board of Professional Psychology – ABPP). This program is managed through a partnership with the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Correction. The residency is a one-year program, training doctoral level psychologists in the specialty area of Forensic Psychology. Psychology Residents receive applied clinical experience providing forensic evaluation services in inpatient hospitals, court clinics, and civil cases. Didactic seminars are provided jointly with the Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship program, and cover a broad range of topics in forensic mental health, including Landmark Cases. The Residency program adheres to the Education and Training Guidelines for Forensic Psychology adopted by the American Psychological Association's Commission on Accreditation and prepares Residents for Board Certification in Forensic Psychology from ABPP. In addition, Forensic Psychology Residents participate in research projects relevant to law and mental health, under the supervision of Law and Psychiatry faculty. A more detailed description of the Forensic Psychology Residency can be found at: www.umassmed.edu/forensicpsychology

Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Program

The ACGME-accredited Fellowship in Forensic Psychiatry is directed by Paul Noroian, M.D. It is a one-year post-residency fellowship that prepares Fellows to become Board Certified in Forensic Psychiatry by ABPN (American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology). The fellowship is a one-year full-time program of supervised clinical, research, and courtroom experience in forensic psychiatry and the legal regulation of psychiatric practice. In addition to, and independent of, the curriculum approved by the Residency Review Committee for Psychiatry, the required participation in this training includes attendance at educational conferences, and it authorizes the resident to perform forensic examinations for the courts of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Fellowship provides broad and general training in Forensic Psychiatry, with a specific focus on practice in the public sector. A more detailed description of the Forensic Psychology Residency can be found at: www.umassmed.edu/forensicpsychiatry.

Training and Education Activities

Designated Forensic Professionals and Certified Juvenile Court Clinicians: The Law and Psychiatry Program is contracted by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) to oversee the training and certification of psychologists and psychiatrists who conduct public sector forensic evaluations for District and Superior Courts in Massachusetts, as well as all professionals (including social workers and licensed mental health counselors) who provide evaluation services to the Juvenile Courts. The Law and Psychiatry Program works with DMH to provide annual trainings for those seeking certification ("Foundations for Forensic Practice") as well as an annual in-service update for all professionals working in the public sector forensic system. In addition, the Law and Psychiatry Program chairs the committees that oversee the certification process for forensic mental health professionals in the public sector in Massachusetts.

Trainings in Forensic Mental Health for Community Service Providers

In partnership with DMH, the Law and Psychiatry program also plans and administers a yearly series of workshops to educate and train community providers who work with clients with histories of involvement with the criminal justice system. These workshops are presented both by UMMS Law and Psychiatry faculty, as well as other professionals with relevant expertise. These workshops are designed to help community providers understand the legal and clinical issues that impact on effective services to forensic clients. Topics include: violence risk assessment and management, fire-setting, youth involved in the justice system, legal issues related to forensic clients, working with probation and parole, and working with clients who have been incarcerated.

Training and Education Activities to Legal and Correctional Professionals

Law and Psychiatry faculty have developed, coordinated, and delivered trainings to: Boston Municipal Court justices; Suffolk County District Attorneys and Suffolk Defenders Association; Committee for Public Counsel Services; Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee; the Judicial Institute; Massachusetts Sheriffs' Association; and Police Departments throughout the Commonwealth. These activities have covered a broad array of topics, including: recognizing symptoms of mental illness, diversion of mentally ill individuals from the criminal justice system, competence to stand trial, violence risk assessment, domestic violence, and suicide prevention.

Other Training Activities

The Law and Psychiatry Program utilized the expertise of its faculty to present trainings to mental health professionals in both the public and private sector. In recent years, trainings have been provided on issues of violence risk assessment (adult and adolescent), criminal responsibility, juvenile competence to stand trial, and psychopathy assessment (including specialized training on the use of the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised).