The Forensic Psychiatry Residency at the Medical University of South Carolina 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 doing so, the Division of Forensic Psychiatry at MUSC provides an invaluable service to the state of South Carolina and the Lowcountry in particular. Our main location is the Medical University of South Carolina, Institute of Psychiatry. At MUSC we provide Consultation Liaison service to the Institute of Psychiatry and the General Medical Hospital for issues such as violence and suicide risk assessment and capacity to consent to or refuse medical treatment. We provide evaluation services to Charleston and Berkeley County Probate Courts for civil commitment hearings. Disability evaluations and conservator and guardianship cases are utilized to round out the civil law core experience. Additionally, Fellows may shadow Attending Physicians in civil cases including Medical Malpractice/Standard of Care evaluations.
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 evaluations for 8 counties in the coastal region. Additionally, Fellows routinely perform private evaluations for the Charleston County Public Defenders' office in coordination with the Office of Indigent Defense. Fellows also perform court-ordered evaluations for the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice. Fellows have the opportunity to participate in private evaluations performed by Attending Physicians including Criminal Responsibility/Competency to Stand Trial (both adult and juvenile), Sexually Violent Predator commitments and Independent Medical Examinations. Finally, to round out the criminal core experience, fellows participate in treatment of offenders who are assigned to the Charleston County Mental Health court program.
A fellow's training can be tailored to fit his or her personal interests. Didactics include a weekly landmark case series and courses in the basics of law and psychiatry. Videotapes and mock trials are utilized to prepare Fellows to present testimony in court. Fellows are allowed to audit available classes at the Charleston School of Law. As part of the academic component of the program, fellows complete an academic project (paper, local, regional or national presentation, etc.) and participate in the Medical University's forensic psychiatry interest group once a month. They are also responsible for some teaching of general residents. Fringe benefits include fully funded trips to the Annual Meeting of AAPL and the Forensic Psychiatry Review Course. Best of all, Fellows also get the benefit of enjoying the relaxing coastal environment of Charleston, South Carolina!