OCEAN COUNTY – Psychiatry students will have hands-on learning thanks to a partnership between the Department of Psychiatry at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
Post Graduate Year Two (PGY2) Psychiatry residents will be in a forensic rotation at the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Offenders
Unit. Two residents will be there in one- to two-month rotations. They will be affiliated with Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune or Ocean Medical Center in Brick.
This kind of partnership is the first of its kind in New Jersey, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said.
“The goal of this innovative partnership is to immerse the psychiatry residents in an atmosphere where they have a panoramic view of criminal cases so they can see the potential roles they may play in forensic psychiatry. The partnership will allow psychiatry residents to attend court appearances with our Assistant Prosecutors and observe seasoned forensic psychiatrists testify in Ocean County Superior Court. The psychiatric residents will receive didactic training throughout their rotation with regard to Chapter 4 of the New Jersey 2C Criminal Code as well as instruction on courtroom etiquette and the nuances of the criminal justice system. The psychiatry residents will review cases that include issues revolving around competency, not guilty by reason of insanity, KROL hearings and diversionary programming,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.
“These psychiatry residents will also review medical records and interview defendants that may be pending entry into various OCPO-led programs such as Ocean County Helping Hand initiatives, Mental Health Diversion or the Veteran’s Diversion Program. We are grateful to Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine for sharing their psychiatry residents with us and we look forward to working with them to help us navigate difficult cases involving mental illness,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.
“We are proud to be part of this innovative collaboration between the Department of Psychiatry at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. Relationships between our healthcare system and criminal justice system are critical to the training of our psychiatrists and partnerships like this one place our trainees at the cutting edge of mental health education,” said Dr. Ramon Solhkhah, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health for the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.
“This is a natural intersection for us…with regard to the mental health crisis facing this nation, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office is dedicated to leveraging our resources and expertise in order to ensure the psychiatrists of today and tomorrow have the most comprehensive training,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.
Billhimer thanked Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Renee T. White and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Offenders Unit for their collaborative efforts relative to the Residency Partnership’s success and to ensure that defendants facing criminal charges are given the opportunity to access evaluations vital to an appropriate disposition.