The didactic activities of the residency program center on two weekly seminars and a bi-weekly case conference. The seminars are attended by the forensic psychology and forensic psychiatry residents, as well as other trainees, making for a group of 6-8 people that is highly conducive to discussion.
Forensic Psychology/Psychiatry Seminar. The Program's main seminar is taught weekly, on Tuesday mornings (see link to faculty) as well as by other faculty and outside presenters. The purpose of the seminar is to provide the critical empirical and theoretical foundations for specialization in forensic psychology. The seminar focuses on reading and discussion of relevant mental health law concepts, forensic assessment methods, research on relevant psycholegal issues, and issues raised by the residents' practicum experiences. The seminar covers a wide range of forensic content, including topics in criminal and civil forensic evaluations, juvenile evaluations, professional ethics, and psychological evidence and testimony.
Landmark Mental Health Law Case Seminar. This seminar is taught weekly, on Tuesday afternoons, by Albert Grudzinskas, J.D. , Paul Noroian, M.D. and other faculty. The seminar involves residents in the discussion of over 100 of the most important appellate cases in mental health law. The cases cover the recommended list provided by ABPP for those seeking Board Certification in Forensic Psychology. Through this seminar,residents learn how to read and analyze law, and how to think about mental health law and policy.
Law-Psychiatry Case Conference . Bi-weekly on Monday mornings, the faculty and trainees of the Law-Psychiatry Program meet to hear and discuss a presentation by a Program member or an outside speaker. Presentations may involve forensic cases, descriptions of ongoing or completed research projects, or descriptions of special forensic issues and programs. Residents are expected to present both a research seminar as well as a clinical case conference sometime during the fellowship year.
Mock Trial Exercises: residents participate at an annual Mock Trial exercise with law students at Harvard Law School. In addition, UMMS provides a mock trial exercise with an experienced lawyer, which includes a videotape of the residents testimony, as well as feedback from both mental health and legal professionals.
Other didactic experiences are available throughout the year. Residents have the option to attend weekly Psychiatry Grand Rounds at UMMS, which often include clinical topics that are relevant for forensic work. In-service trainings are also available at Bridgewater State Hospital and at Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital.
The Law-Psychiatry Program also produces several day-long workshops for forensic mental health professionals throughout Massachusetts. Once or twice a year, residents are asked to teach brief units to Psychiatry residents and/or Psychology interns on topics such as psychological testing or legal issues in clinical practice.
Residents are expected to attend the annual conference of the American Psychology-Law Society (Division 41 of American Psychological Association). An educational stipend is provided that covers the expense of this conference.