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Clinical Didactics

Fellows participate in a weekly one-hour seminar with UC faculty and other forensic experts in Cincinnati on a variety of specialty forensic topics. In addition, clinical faculty lead weekly one hour didactic sessions in fulfillment of ACGME requirements, including:

  • History of forensic psychiatry
  • Roles and responsibilities of forensic psychiatrists
  • Assessing adjudicative competence and criminal responsibility
  • Testamentary capacity and civil competencies
  • Issues involved in the assessment of dangerousness
  • Assessment of the accused sexual offender
  • Evaluation and treatment of incarcerated individual
  • Ethical and administrative issues
  • Legal regulation of psychiatric practice
  • Writing of a forensic report
  • Eyewitness testimony of children

Law Tutorial Classes

Taught by A. J. Stephani, Esq. (an attorney who specializes in psycholegal matters), these classes focus on “landmark” legal cases that address the broad variety of matters in which the law seeks psychiatrists’ input, including civil commitment, competence to stand trial, the insanity defense, personal injury, malpractice, child custody, and child abuse.

Mr. Stephani holds several special tutorials with forensic psychiatry fellows to introduce basic legal concepts, to prepare fellows for their duties as expert witnesses, and to ready fellows for their experiences in law school classes. Focusing on workings of the legal system directly related to forensic psychiatry, these tutorials cover:

  • Fundamentals of law, statutes, and administrative regulations
  • Structure of federal and state court systems
  • Using legal research materials
  • Theory and practice of sentencing
  • Basic aspects of civil and criminal procedure, jurisdiction, and tort law

Scholarly Project

Each fellow completes a scholarly project by the end of the academic year. Past fellowship projects have included developing presentations for national meetings, retrospective and prospective research, case law analyses, and collaborating on a faculty member’s established research program.

Whatever form it takes, the project should generate a work product that is suitable for publication. Fellows present the results of their scholarly projects at local psychiatric meetings, such as grand rounds held by the UC Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience department.

Private Case Experiences

The UC forensic psychiatry division functions as a clearinghouse for private civil and criminal forensic psychiatric evaluations conducted by psychiatry department faculty. Fellows join faculty in these activities, participate as observers, report writers, or primary evaluators. Types of assessments include allegations of psychiatric malpractice, independent medical examinations, insanity assessments, fitness for duty, psychological autopsies, threat assessment, domestic relations matters, professional licensure, and death penalty mitigation—to give just a few examples.

Faculty members expect fellows to participate in as many private practice evaluations cases as their time allows. These experiences allow fellows to become familiar with techniques and theories of psychological assessment that go well beyond the training of most forensic psychiatrists.

Journal Club

Clinical and legal faculty also moderate the journal club, which meets virtually on the first Thursday of every month. Journal club participants include forensic psychiatrists, psychologists, lawyers, and law students from the Cincinnati region.

Mock Trial and Case Conference

In collaboration with other forensic fellowships in Ohio, fellows hone their testamentary abilities by participating in virtual mock trials. They practice expounding and defending their forensic opinions in a collegial environment among fellow learners and experts and receive constructive feedback and encouragement. Throughout the year, fellows will also role-play as attorneys performing direct as well as cross-exam.

At case conferences, interesting and challenging evaluations by forensic fellows are reviewed while faculty discussants highlight important teaching points and add their experiences. These conferences enrich fellows’ education while supporting collegiality by meeting forensic fellows, faculty, and future colleagues from other programs.

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Department of
Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience

Stetson Building Suite 3200
260 Stetson Street
PO Box 670559
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0559