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Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship at Emory
||Peter Ash, M.D.
||Psychiatry, Suite 312-S
1256 Briarcliff Rd. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30306
|Accredited by ACGME:
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The Emory forensic fellowship began in 1993. The Psychiatry and Law Service is
in large part supported by a grant from the State of Georgia, and, in consequence, is closely
involved with various state departments which deal with forensic and mental health patients.
This blend of state government interest and private university academic orientation has produced
a growing program which emphasizes forensic teaching, public policy development,
research, and, for child psychiatrists, a variety of child forensic experiences. In keeping with this orientation, the program strives to provide flexibility in
experiences depending on a fellow's interests. The training program was accredited in forensic
psychiatry by the ACGME in 1997 when the ACGME began accrediting forensic training
programs, and has continued to be accredited since that time.
The fellowship program includes a wide variety of clinical experiences with civil
evaluations and with inpatient and outpatient criminal populations. The home base
for the fellows is Grady Memorial Hospital, a large county hospital in downtown
Atlanta and the largest teaching site of the Emory Medical School. The program
utilizes a variety of sites to provide varied experiences (see
list). The psychiatry service at Grady is an academic component of Emory University.
Experiences with criminal defendants
Outpatient evaluations: The service has a contract to provide court-ordered evaluations for
defendants in Fulton County (Atlanta). The bulk of these evaluations are conducted on inmates
in the Fulton County Jail on questions of competency, criminal responsibility, sentencing, and
post-sentencing treatment recommendations. Fellows provide testimony on these cases if needed
at trial, which averages several times each year.
Inpatient evaluations: Fellows spend three half days per week on a forensic inpatient unit
conducting inpatient assessments of competency to stand trial, participating in the treatment of
NGRI acquittees, and formulating opinions about release of NGRI acquittees. The primary inpatient site
is the state hospital in Atlanta which has two inpatient forensic units. Fellows spend about two
weeks each year at Central State Hospital, which has the state's maximum security unit. Fellows are provided with
temporary housing at that location. Each site attempts to
have fellows take cases which are especially likely to require testimony, and fellows typically
testify about 6 times/year on their inpatient cases.
Treatment of jail inmates: Experience in treating inmates occurs at the Atlanta City Jail where the service does not do pre-trial evaluations, which keeps the treatment and
forensic evaluation roles distinct.
Sex offender treatment: Fellows rotate part-time for three months at a private clinic which
specializes in the outpatient treatment of sex offenders and professionals who have committed
Civil litigation evaluations
Residents serve as the primary evaluator in certain classes of cases, such as disability
assessments, guradianship/ civil competency cases, and law school clinic referrals. Fellows also
participate with more senior forensic psychiatrists in personal injury and malpractice cases.
Consultation/ legal regulation of psychiatry
Fellows serve as consultants on cases arising out of psychiatric hospital work, such as those
involving commitment, dangerousness assessments, and competency to consent to treatment.
They consult both to the inpatient psychiatry unit and to the general hospital.
Child forensic psychiatry
For fellows who have completed a child psychiatry fellowship, a wide range of experiences are
available, including assessments in abuse/neglect issues, child custody, child personal injury, and
assessment of delinquents. Georgia law places large classes of violent
adolescents in the adult criminal system, and so competency and criminal responsibility
assessments of juveniles are more common here than in most other jurisdictions. The Service
has a number of ongoing research projects on juvenile offenders.
The Director conducts a weekly case-oriented seminar and a weekly seminar on the non-criminal
AAPL Landmark Cases. At the site of the inpatient forensic unit there is a
seminar on Landmark and important Georgia criminal cases. Considerable individual
supervision is provided. Fellows may audit one course each term at the Emory University Law
School. The teaching conferences, grand rounds, etc., of the Emory psychiatry department are
open to fellows. The Service pays travel and tuition expenses to the Forenisc Pyshicatry Review
Course which is given in conjunction with the annual meeting of AAPL.
Public policy development
The program has a close connection with state agencies which deal with forensic populations and
mental health needs. Georgia is now rethinking many previous policies and developing new
responses to a wide array of forensic issues. There are opportunities to participate at a state
government level on policy development and in research projects aimed at informing public
The Emory fellowship is academically oriented, and the program strives to create new knowledge
in forensic psychiatry. Fellows are encouraged in to participate in ongoing research projects or to
develop their own. Fellows are strongly encouraged to submit proposals to present at the annual
AAPL meeting, and extensive help is provided to enable them to do so.
Being a teacher
Fellows participate in training other professionals
and in helping train psychiatry and child psychiatry residents who rotate through the program.
Finally, fellows are responsible for conducting some seminars on forensic psychiatry for general
The staff currently consists of two full-time forensic psychiatrists at Grady, four additional
forensic psychiatrists who supervise at the other site placements (inpatient forensic, sex offender
treatment clinic, etc.), and a number of forensic psychiatrists in private practice. The Director is
Board-certified in child and adolescent psychiatry as well as forensic psychiatry. Additional staff includes a neuropsychologist
and consulting attorneys.
Salary and fringe benefits
The anticipated annual salary for 2007-08 is $54,000. Fellows receive the standard benefit
package associated with being a house officer at Emory. In addition, benefits include travel
support to the annual AAPL meeting and various regional meetings and the expenses of taking
the annual review course in forensic psychiatry given in conjunction with the annual AAPL
Applicants must have completed a psychiatric residency prior to beginning the fellowship (PGY
5 and above) and be qualified to obtain a Georgia medical license.
There is no formal application form. Interested applicants should send a letter of interest and the
following materials to Dr. Ash:
- Curriculum vitae
- Evidence of qualification for a Georgia medical license (in most cases this will be a copy of a
current license from a state that has reciprocity with Georgia)
- A copy of the applicant's medical school diploma
- Three letters of reference. One of these must be from the training director of the resident's
general psychiatry training program documenting expected satisfactory completion of general
An interview with the Director is required, and a visit to the program is strongly advised.
Dr. Ash is happy to discuss the program with potential applicants by telephone.
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Last updated March 15, 2008.