Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship

Matthew Motley, MD, PhD

Matthew Motley, MD, PhD Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Director

Welcome to the University of Southern California (USC) Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Program! We are committed to providing outstanding, advanced training, and experience in forensic psychiatry to prepare our next generation of forensic psychiatrists.

The Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Program was developed for psychiatrists who have completed an accredited residency training program in general or child/adolescent psychiatry and wish to obtain specialty training in forensic psychiatry

blind justice statue
The goal of the fellowship program is to enhance professional expertise in addressing legal issues involving significant mental health factors by improving psychiatrists’ abilities to provide professional assistance to the U.S. justice system.

The Fellowship, which is run by the Division of Psychiatry and Law, was founded in 1965 and is an integrated part of the USC Department of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences.

The ACGME-accredited, full-time, one-year fellowship program comprises lectures, seminars, placements, and supervision. Forensic psychiatry fellows have opportunities for extensive involvement as forensic psychiatric consultants to state hospitals, county jails, juvenile justice agencies, dependency courts, the Los Angeles County Office of the Coroner, and other agencies that interrelate with mental health and the law. In addition, psychiatry fellows have numerous opportunities to serve as expert witnesses in psychiatry and law for superior courts, mental health courts, and other local and state government agencies.

Each forensic psychiatry fellow is also assigned several forensic court cases per week, and their forensic psychiatric opinion is given in a written report. These cases involve psychiatric-legal issues for the criminal, dependency, juvenile and mental health courts, as well as various administrative hearings. In addition, each forensic psychiatry fellow will have multiple opportunities to testify for civil commitment and conservatorship hearings with supervision.

Each forensic psychiatry fellow has a minimum of six supervisors at any given time. The supervisors include psychiatrists board-certified in general, Forensic, and/or Child and Adolescent Psychiatry as well as licensed clinical psychologists with Forensic subspecialty training. All supervisors are on the faculty of the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Supervisors are rotated so that forensic psychiatry fellows will benefit from the supervisors’ varied skills and expertise in psychiatry and law.

LAC+USC Medical CenterThe Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Program benefits from access to diverse locations for optimizing clinical, educational and research activities. Most clinical psychiatric services are based at the LAC+USC Medical Center, which houses the Psychiatric Emergency Service, Consultation-Liaison Service and Medical-Psychiatric Inpatient Unit. An adjacent clinic tower houses the Adult Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic. The adult and adolescent inpatient psychiatric services are provided at the Hawkins Mental Health Building, where patients are evaluated for civil commitment hearings. Partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services provides unique opportunities for understanding the delivery of mental healthcare to underserved patients in the Los Angeles County jail system. Forensic psychiatry fellows serve as consultants to the county Mental Health Court on a daily basis. Forensic psychiatry fellows also serve as consultants to the L.A. County Office of the Medical Examiner-Coroner.

books and statues

Courses specifically designed for forensic psychiatry fellows include:

  • Biological, psychological, and sociological determinants of crime and delinquency
  • Civil law
  • Criminal law
  • Family law
  • Federal criminal law
  • Juvenile & Dependency law
  • Mental health law
  • Correctional psychiatry
  • Biases applicable to forensic assessments
  • Landmark mental health cases (including all AAPL-specified cases)

Course lecturers are drawn from Institute faculty and other USC forensic psychiatrists and psychologists, as well as judges, public and private attorneys, and professionals from other forensic-related disciplines.

Fellows are employees of the County of Los Angeles (a.k.a. L.A. County). Fellows’ salaries are determined in negotiations between the resident/fellow’s legal bargaining unit, the Council of Interns and Residents, and the County’s Department of Health Services.

Salary as of October 1, 2022

PGY5 Yearly: $84,441.19 | Monthly: $7,036.76

Benefits

Bonus $10,000 per fellow for housing purposes, paid
Meals $27 per day at LAC+USC Medical Center; meals are reimbursed during off-campus rotations ($15 for lunch at facilities without a cafeteria).
Parking Provided at no cost at LAC+USC Medical Center. Parking provided or reimbursed at placements.
White coats Provided
Vacation 24 days paid vacation each year
Sick leave 8 days per year, of which 3 may be used for personal leave
Professional liability insurance Provided by the County of Los Angeles
Maternity leave Available — most fellows use sick leave, vacation time and limited unpaid leave
Parental leave Available as required by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
Medical/dental benefits Click each link for benefits information:
2022 Choices: AE Comparison Chart,
2022 Choices: Highlights Guide,
2022 Choices: Rate Sheet
Life insurance Additional insurance up to 8x annual salary may be purchased with benefits allowance

For more information about salary, benefits, and the contract between the County and CIR, visit CIR’s website.

Los Angeles Skyline at Sunset
Griffith Observatory

Few areas in the world rival Southern California (or “SoCal,” as it is affectionately known) for the diversity of lifestyles afforded. The climate is legendarily pleasant, with low humidity and cool evenings in the summertime and wintertime highs typically in the 60s and 70s (F). Biting insects are rare. In the winter, even though urban Los Angeles has few instances of snow in its recorded history, a two-hour trip provides access to winter sports in the San Bernadino Mountains. The beauties of the desert, including the Joshua tree, which grows nowhere else on earth, are also approximately two hours away. Other National Parks, including Sequoia, Death Valley, and Yosemite, are a bit farther afield but all within a reasonable day’s drive.

The western edge of the Los Angeles Basin is a renowned string of beaches that stretches from Santa Monica to just past Torrance Beach in the South and includes Venice and the Beach Cities (Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach). While Southern California is not the birthplace of surfing, it is where surfing entered mainstream consciousness—and where the Beach Boys and others celebrated the year-round beach lifestyle.

All forms of cultural enrichment and entertainment events are available in the greater L.A. area, including world-class theaters, the LA Philharmonic, and more museums than any other city in the US (including New York City!) including the Getty, The Broad, and LACMA. [Source: discoverlosangeles.com] Los Angeles offers all manner of dining options in just about every cuisine and price point. The lights of Dodger Stadium are visible from several points around the medical center campus. L.A. is home to two NFL teams (the Chargers and the Rams), two NBA teams (the Lakers and the Clippers), two MLS teams (the Galaxy and LAFC), one NWSL team (Angel City FC), and an NHL team (the Kings). USC itself excels in a wide variety of sports [link to usctrojans.com], having won 134 national championships. Its athletes have won 144 Olympic gold medals, 92 silver medals, and 71 bronze medals.

Wide shot of Los Angeles County

Applications will be accepted starting March 1st, and all applications and documentation must be received no later than August 1st. Only completed applications are screened and the selection committee determines who is interviewed. Interviews are part of the application process, and interviews will begin on August 1, 2023 (pending revision by the AAPL committee of Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship program directors [ADFPF]).

The following materials are required:

  • Residency application form (download as Word doc)
  • Fellow applicant information form (download as Word doc)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Citizenship/visa status. The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or eligible for a J-1 visa.
  • Medical school dean’s report (download as Word doc). The applicant should submit this form to their dean to complete. They may use this form or (preferably) may substitute a “dean’s letter” instead. The completed letter/form must be sent to us directly by the dean’s office and not sent via the applicant. Please ask that a transcript also be included.
  • Training program director’s report (download as Word doc). The applicant should submit this form to the training director of their residency program, who must complete and return to us directly.
  • United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)transcript, sent directly to us or via the FSMB.
  • Personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation from psychiatrists familiar with the applicant and their work. These letters must be submitted directly by the recommenders and not forwarded by the applicant.
  • Photocopy of the applicant’s current California medical license (required for training), or, if not yet possessed, a statement by them affirming their eligibility for a CA medical license. All fellows must have their California medical license prior to the forensic psychiatry fellowship start date. For details regarding licensure in California, please refer to the Medical Board of California website.
  • Proof of Covid vaccination
  • Photocopy of the applicant’s current DEA certificate or signed attestation of eligibility for DEA certificate.
  • Photocopy of the applicant’s basic cardiac life-support (BLS) training certificate.
  • Recent work product by the applicant (e.g., admission summary, discharge summary or forensic case report)
  • Passport-sized photograph

Applications are accepted May 1 – September 1. Completed applications are screened and the selection committee determines who is interviewed. Face-to-face interviews are part of the application process. Applicants selected for interviews will have the opportunity to meet with members of our faculty and current forensic psychiatry fellows. However, the decision to invite an applicant will not be made until all the above materials have been received and reviewed. If the applicant has any questions about our program, please call our office.

Email or mail the required application materials and documents to:

Mary Goodbeer
Program Coordinator
USC Institute of Psychiatry & Law
P.O. Box 86125
Los Angeles, CA 90086-0125
(323) 409-4942
goodbeer@usc.edu

Matthew W. Motley, M.D., Ph.D.
Program Director, Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Training Program
Division of Psychiatry and Law
Department of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences
Keck School of Medicine at USC
(323) 409-4942
mmotley@usc.edu