What are the best credentials in a Forensic Psychiatrist?
Board-Certification in Forensic Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) sets the highest standard for a Forensic Psychiatrist.
Prior to 2001, Board Certification did not require fellowship or special training, though a doctor was required to pass the Board exam.
In 2001, the ABPN began to require Board-Certification in general Psychiatry, completion of a one-year Fellowship in Forensic Psychiatry at an accredited institution, and could only then take a rigorous exam.
The exam is given only every other year. Doctors who have completed their Fellowship but are awaiting the next available date for Boards may refer to themselves as “Board-eligible.” Only after passing the Boards can a doctor then be awarded Board-Certification in Forensic Psychiatry.
As a fellowship-trained Forensic Psychiatrist, I received specialized training to perform medico-legal evaluations. Best practices and professional standards exist to set a high threshold of practice in this area and continuing education required of every Forensic Psychiatrist covers civil as well as criminal considerations in the Forensic evaluation, report of opinions and testimony. You can confirm a doctor’s Board-Certifications with the ABPN and as a matter of due diligence, it is highly recommended.
The American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, the APA’s Forensic Psychiatry branch (AAPL) sets the well-established gold standard in Forensic Psychiatric practice. AAPL adopted “AAPL Ethics Guidelines for the Practice of Forensic Psychiatry” in 2005 that stand today, and “AAPL Practice Guideline for the Forensic Assessment”, both authored by educators of the highest caliber in the field of Forensic Psychiatry. The continued medical education they and others provide are required of all doctors, however AAPL sets the bar. I am honored to serve on two AAPL Committees: Forensic Neuropsychiatry, and Human Rights and National Security.