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Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship

Overview

The Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) offer a one-year PGY5 Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship designed to prepare psychiatrists for a career in forensic psychiatry.  Applications are currently being accepted for the fellowship year July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.

The program includes a strong didactic curriculum, covering landmark cases and critical topics at the interface of psychiatry and law, along with an opportunity to participate in a criminal law course at the University of Pittsburgh Law School.  A major strength of the program is the rich and varied forensic experiences, such as evaluations in criminal matters, including competency to stand trial and criminal responsibility, evaluations in civil matters, including disability assessments and expert opinions on malpractice cases, and treatment in correctional settings, including jails and state hospitals.
 
The core teaching faculty brings a broad range of experiences from across the nation and provides close supervision on report writing, expert testimony, and scholarly projects, such as presentations and publications.  Research and teaching opportunities are strongly encouraged.  

Mentorship and career development opportunities are available from nationally recognized experts and authorities in forensic psychiatry, such as former American Academy of Psychiatry and Law Presidents Loren Roth MD and Robert Wettstein MD, as well as nationally renowned researchers, such as Sue Beers PhD and Edward Mulvey PhD.

Additional benefits of the fellowship program include a travel stipend to cover expenses and fees to attend the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (AAPL) annual meeting and enrollment in the Forensic Psychiatry Review Course.

Didactic Program

The didactic material is presented in a yearlong seminar, with four-hour weekly protected blocks.  The course is designed to cover a core curriculum including AAPL landmark cases and essential topics relevant to the practice of forensic psychiatry, and to prepare for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology Initial Certification in Forensic Psychiatry examination.  The program includes a strong emphasis on direct supervision of report writing and expert testimony, which are essential skills as a forensic psychiatrist.

Clinical Experiences

Allegheny County Behavior Assessment Unit
The Behavior Assessment Unit (BAU) is a court-appointed diagnostic clinic at the the Allegheny County Jail providing assessments for judges and officers of the Criminal Court of Allegheny County.  As the second oldest diagnostic court clinic in the country, the BAU enjoys a long history and an excellent reputation. This provides a depth and range of experiences not often available to trainees. Fellows are actively involved in assessment for competency to stand trial, insanity defense, diminished capacity, and mitigating factors, which can include evaluations for malingering.  Experience in child de-certification assessments, probation recommendations, and parole evaluations is also provided.  Proficiency in reviewing legal documents, writing reports, and testifying in court is an integral part of the rotation.

Civil Forensic Issues
Civil cases are referred from many sources which assure the fellows a rich and varied experience including assessments for disability, fitness for duty, guardianship, immigration asylum, malingering, malpractice, post-traumatic stress disorder, testamentary capacity, violence risk, and worker’s compensation. Fellows develop proficiency in the review of legal documents and medical records, as well as clear and accurate report writing. Testimony in court is involved when indicated.
Correctional PsychiatryFellows will be involved in the treatment of inmates at one of two sites:  the Allegheny County Jail and the State Correctional Institution at Pittsburgh (SCIP), thus providing the experience of treating inmates in short-term incarceration in jail while they are awaiting trial or sentencing, and inmates in long-term incarceration in prison after they have been sentenced.

Family Court of Allegheny County 
The objective of the family court rotation is to provide fellows with experience in assessing child abuse and evaluating child custody and termination of parental rights. Additionally, the fellows will gain a familiarity with the policies and procedures of Children, Youth and Families (CYF). Sample report writing is an integral part of the rotation.

Forensic Outpatient Treatment
Essex House and the Services for Adolescent and Family Enrichment (SAFE) clinic are the two sites which may be selected to fulfill the requirement for intensive outpatient treatment of mentally ill offenders. The rotation consists of assessment of dangerousness, development of treatment plans, experiences with intensive case management, and treatment of substance abuse and dual diagnosis. Because the patient population of both of these sites consists of a high number of sexual offenders, fellows will have the opportunity to develop experience in their assessment and treatment. The trainees are expected to follow two cases for at least six months to gain an appreciation of the problems involved with of chronically mentally ill offenders.

Juvenile Court of Allegheny County – Shuman Center
Shuman Center provides fellows with experiences in assessing juvenile offenders. Report writing is a key focus of the rotation. Opportunity for involvement in the treatment of juvenile sexual offenders is also available for fellows who have completed a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship.

Liaison/Geriatric Service
Fellows are given the opportunity to provide consultation to clinical providers regarding medical decision-making capacity, violence risk assessment, and court-ordered electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

Research, Publications and Presentations

Research is available either through an original project or with participation in ongoing studies through the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry, a national leader in clinical research.  Publications are encouraged, especially in forensic psychiatry publications, such as the AAPL Newsletter and Journal of the AAPL.  

Fellows are expected to be involved with teaching medical students, law students, psychiatry residents, and paraprofessionals.  Fellows will also have opportunities to present at local meetings including a monthly Forensic Psychiatry Services Case Conference, a quarterly Forensic Psychiatry Journal Club, and the annual Pittsburgh Psychiatric Society meeting.  Fellows will be encouraged to participate in regional and national meetings, such as the Midwest Chapter of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (MWAAPL) and the national American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (AAPL), including committees, poster presentations, and oral presentations.  Pittsburgh will be the site for the MWAAPL meeting in March 2015.

Electives

Electives and additional opportunities are available for rotations per fellow interest and elective availability. 

Time Distribution

Allegheny County Behavior Assessment Unit
Rotation:  6 months
Weekly: 10-12 hours, plus 1.5 hours staffing monthly
Supervision: 1 hour per week

Civil Forensic Issues
Rotation: 12 months
Weekly: 4 to 8 hours
Supervision: 1 to 2 hours per week

Correctional Psychiatry  
Rotation: 6 months
Weekly: 10 hours
Supervision: 1 hour per week

Family Court
Rotation:  3 months
Weekly: 2 to 4 hours
Supervision: 2 hours per month

Forensic Outpatient Treatment  
Rotation:  12 months (2 cases to be followed for 6 months each)
Weekly: 4 hours
Supervision: 1 hour per week

Juvenile Court
Rotation:  3 months
Weekly: 4 hours
Supervision: 1 hour per week

Liaison/Geriatric Service
Rotation:  12 months
Weekly: 1-2 hours, as needed
Supervision: 2 hours per month

Faculty

Abhishek Jain, M.D. Program Director, Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Stephen Zerby M.D. Associate Program Director, Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Stipend

The stipend provided is $58,906 per annual (PGY5) plus full health coverage.  Fringe benefits include fees for the annual meeting of the AAPI and enrollment  for the Forensic Board Review Course.

Accreditation 

The fellowship is accredited by the ACGME for the maximum 5-year period from April 2009.

Qualifications

Applicants must have completed a residency in adult psychiatry. Applicants must be American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) board eligible and have passed USMLE STEP III. They should also be eligible to obtain a medical license in the state of Pennsylvania.

Application Process

Applications should be submitted by September 1, 2014 accompanied by a curriculum vitae and three (3) letters of recommendation, including one from the chairman of the Department of Psychiatry where the applicant completed their residency.

Abhishek Jain, M.D. and Stephen Zerby, M.D.
Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC
3811 O'Hara Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2593
Telephone:  412-802-8618
FAX:  412-647-9339
Email:  jaina@upmc.edu
Email:  zerbysa@upmc.edu