The Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) offer a one-year fellowship designed to prepare trainees for a career in forensic psychiatry. Applications are currently being accepted.
The didactic material is provided in a year-long seminar covering a core curriculum designed to include all the relevant topics, both criminal and civil, in forensic psychiatry. A special seminar on the landmark cases is included. The University of Pittsburgh Law School provides a course in mental health law for the fellows.
The major strength of the program is the depth and range of the clinical experience. Rotations include the State Correctional Institution (SCI) of Pittsburgh Psychiatric Services Unit, juvenile court assessments, family court assessments, and an intensive outpatient treatment program for mentally ill offenders. Civil cases are referred from various sources, which yields a wide range of experience including assessments for PTSD, psychic damage, disability determinations, malpractice evaluations, and the detection of malingering. The Allegheny County Behavior Clinic is an agency of the criminal court of Allegheny County and the second oldest diagnostic court clinic in the United States. The inclusion of the Allegheny County Behavior Clinic in the rotation assures the fellows of the opportunity to assess the defendants in every major criminal case involving psychiatry in Allegheny County. Additionally, opportunities are provided for rotations through the Allegheny County Sexual Offenders Program and the New Castle Youth Detention Center, as well as additional experiences in surrounding counties. Clinicians who have practical experience and are recognized authorities in their fields including Robert Wettstein, MD, and Loren Roth, MD provide supervision.
Fellows are expected to participate in teaching programs for the residents and medical students. Research with opportunities for original projects or participation in ongoing studies, particularly in risk assessment for violence, is sponsored by an active and nationally renowned staff.
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.