It’s necessary to inform the attorneys–and the public–where you got that coveted forensic training and degree. Due diligence, solid credentials to present to a Judge and Jury. However, if the school itself raises an eyebrow, a proactive strategy is better than a defensive/reactionary response.
To make my point, I selected a few common and problematic education issues.
Medical school abroad (case study of a Caribbean medical school below.)
- Medical Schools named after people unfamiliar to the public.
- Medical Schools not in the U.S. followed by residency and licensing in the US.
- Forensic fellowship at medical schools that don’t sound like medical schools or aren’t geographically situated as known medical schools. (One client went to a school in the US that was Called “X University” and the X was a word that sounded like it was not English–i.e. not to Accreditation standards). Snap judgments have been made on less than that.
The solution: Educate and Focus on the Highest of Your Training.
1. What is the most difficult achievement you made. That is your Emphasis. More about that below.
2. Better to intentionally educate attorneys, than lose credibility. Your website is the simplest place to do so. Wording is crucial. Focus on what’s good about the school:
These forensic fellowships are accredited by the ABPN and ACGME, and underappreciated by attorneys because of geography, name and jury recognition.
Case Western Reserve (not associated by the public with medicine, though it should be; one of the premier forensic psychiatry fellowships in the country)
Oregon Health and Science University (doesn’t sound like a medical school; yet ranked 4th best medical school for primary care medicine in the country by U.S. News and World Report)
University of Arkansas (small state, unaffiliated with a big name medical school)
Medical College of Wisconsin (ditto)
Considerations for Forensic Psychologists (and Solutions for Everyone):
Forensic psychologists have a different hurdle because some of the most attended forensic psychology programs are at one-noun schools, in small states without big name affiliations; thus, they may be completely unknown to attorneys. Some sound suspiciously like diploma mills, usually because they are known by an abbreviation that does no favors.
“John Jay.” The John Jay College of Criminal Justice is ranked in the top 10 for its forensic programs by multiple sources. Faculty include pioneer of the study of false confessions, Saul Kassin, Ph.D., and expert on Eye Witness Memory and Jury Selection, Dr. Steven Penrod.
Missouri State. Forensic Child Psychology program is one of the only in the country. U.S. News and World Report ranks it 45th out of 217, almost 10 positions higher than Georgetown, Rutgers and Rice.
Alliant. “Alliant International University,” is home of the California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP.) Psy.D. and Ph.D. programs in Clinical Psychology are individually accredited by the American Psychological Association. The school has trained approximately half of the licensed psychologists in California.
Medical School Abroad
The belief is doctors attend medical school in the Caribbean or India (medical schools that feed doctors back to the US) because they can’t get into an American school. However, to be a licensed physician you must have been a resident in a U.S. hospital; thus, emphasize your residency. That’s where your training became most relevant. Further, being Board-Certified in Forensic Psychiatry means you passed a rigorous, U.S.-based fellowship and qualifying exam. If your Caribbean Medical school was terrible, you wouldn’t be able to do so.
A case study: St. George’s in Grenada
St. George’s University School of Medicine, Grenada, West Indies. I did some careful research and found that St. George’s placed more doctors into first-year U.S. residency positions than any other medical school in the world between 2011 and 2012. In 2016 The Princeton Review ranked it one of the “Best 168 Medical Schools.” Further, St. George’s University medical students achieved a 97 percent first-time taker pass rate on the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination I in 2012. First-time takers at U.S. and Canadian schools in the same year achieved a 96 percent pass rate.
On her or his CV, list St. George’s University School of Medicine, appropriately placed. Residencies and Forensic Fellowship are what’s most relevant to your med-legal practice, and that should be the emphasis. There’s no ethical obligation to indicate where this doctor studied geographically; that’s a convention. Just be consistent.
Layout of a CV is important. Standard formats in business do not apply to med-legal work because what’s important isn’t chronological. Your expertise and how it was acquired is key.
If attorneys are unfamiliar with the school of your forensic training and want more info., they will ask. You have nothing to hide. Your credentials speak for themselves.
You are the most knowledgeable about the strengths of your education. You may not be the best person to write about it with an eye to an attorney’s interpretation.
For best outcomes, communicate and collaborate with a writer who knows what attorneys care about, vis-a-vis your education and training. The spin is guided by marketing skill in this forensic med-legal niche.
Don’t run the risk of being lumped with for-profit schools like University of Phoenix.