Objective: Forensic psychiatry was officially recognized as a subspecialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties in the 1990's. In 1994, the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) gave its first written examination to certify forensic psychiatrists. In 1996, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) began to officially accredit one-year residency experiences in forensic psychiatry, which follow a 4-year residency in general psychiatry. The extra year of training, colloquially known as a fellowship, is required for candidates who wish to receive certification in the subspecialty of forensic psychiatry; since 2001, completion of a year of training in a program accredited by ACGME has been required for candidates wishing to take the ABPN forensic psychiatry subspecialty examination. With the formal recognition of the subspecialty of forensic psychiatry comes the need to examine special issues of cultural importance which apply specifically to forensic psychiatry training.
Methods: This paper examines the current literature on cross-cultural issues in forensic psychiatry, sets out several of the societal reasons for the importance of emphasizing those issues in forensic psychiatric training, and discusses how those issues are addressed in the curriculum of one forensic psychiatry fellowship at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW).
Conclusion: While much has been written about cross-cultural issues in general psychiatry, very little has appeared in the literature on the topic of cross-cultural issues in forensic psychiatry.