Program in Psychiatry and the Law was founded in 1979/1980 at
the Massachusetts Mental Health Center. Its original mandate was
to serve as a training program for young forensic psychiatrists,
who would learn through performing, under supervision,
medicolegal and ethical consultations with the trainees and
staff at the Center.
To date the Program has trained eleven Chief Residents in
Psychiatry who form an informal nationwide group of Program
associates; some still attend meetings. In the early 1980s this
medicolegal training mandate was enlarged by the confluence of
several conceptual streams.
The first was the problem in medicine as a whole of making
decisions under conditions of uncertainty, in the teeth of the
possibility of tragic outcomes. Models for guiding such decision
making were first outlined in a seminal text.