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Mission

The speed of technology in neuroscience as it impacts ethical and just decisions in the legal system needs to be understood by lawyers, judges, public policy makers, and the general public. The Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior is an academic and professional resource for the education, research, and understanding of neuroscience and the law. Read more

About Mass General Hospital

Founded in 1811, MGH is the third oldest general hospital in the United States and is the oldest and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. MGH is consistently ranked among the top five hospitals nationwide. With more than 21,000 employees, MGH offers world renowned diagnostic and therapeutic care in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery through renowned patient care, teaching and research. MGH is an autonomous entity with separate tax exempt status and a governing board and is linked corporately as an affiliate of Partners Healthcare. Partners HealthCare, founded in 1994, is a non-profit integrated health care system that offers patients a continuum of coordinated high-quality care including comprehensive psychiatric services. In addition to MGH, the Partners Healthcare system is comprised of numerous primary care and specialty physicians, community hospitals, health centers and specialty facilities.

By virtue of its length of service, history of innovation and international reputation, MGH will provide an ideal setting in which to establish the Center for Law, Brain and Behavior. The Center for Law, Brain and Behavior will draw its faculty from two subspecialty programs, one located within the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the other located within the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital. This collaboration between the subspecialties of Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatry, Neurology and Neuroimaging offers a unique opportunity to provide a truly multidisciplinary research and training center to address an area that, by its nature, requires a considerable breadth of medical knowledge and legal experience.

Department of Psychiatry / Law and Psychiatry Service

Now in its seventy fifth year and led since 2000 by its seventh chief, Jerrold F. Rosenbaum, MD, the Department of Psychiatry has earned the top departmental ranking for fourteen consecutive years in the annual “Best Hospitals” survey of U.S. News and World Report. The Department is world renowned for its excellence in clinical care, with recent large scale initiatives in addiction medicine, autism and the assessment of childhood learning and emotional challenges. The Department is also home to an unparalleled array of research programs. In 2009 these research programs received nearly $50 million in external funding, pushing forward the frontiers of modern science and uncovering the pathways of mental illness through studies of neuroimaging, neurophysiology and genetics.

Approximately fifty percent of the Center’s staff will come from the MGH Law & Psychiatry Service (LPS), a division within the MGH Department of Psychiatry. The LPS was established in 1989 to provide forensic mental health consulting, training and research to the Department. LPS staff provides clinical consultation on a wide variety of psychiatric and neurological issues which arise in the context of criminal and civil law, such as competency to stand trial, competency to make medical decisions, criminal responsibility, medical malpractice, fitness for duty, workplace violence, sexual harassment, and testamentary capacity. The Center for Law, Brain and Behavior will be an independent research program located within Law and Psychiatry Service, and will benefit from the clinical experience and high level of academic excellence offered by the Service faculty.

Judith G. Edersheim, JD, MD, Senior Consultant to the Law and Psychiatry Service and Co-Director of the Center for Law, Brain and Behavior, will co-direct and participate in all of the research projects of the Center. For almost ten years she has been a principal lecturer in the fellowship training seminars and adult psychiatry residency forensic seminars at MGH. Her clinical practice includes consultation in a broad range of psychiatric evaluations in criminal and civil forensic settings. Dr. Edersheim has lectured extensively in judicial and legal education programs throughout Massachusetts and is a member of several public sector mental health and non-profit boards of directors, including the Massachusetts Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee, a board appointed by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. She also serves on the Board of Governors of Tel Aviv University. Dr. Edersheim is a graduate of Brown University, Harvard Law School and Harvard Medical School. She trained in adult psychiatry at The Cambridge Hospital and in forensic psychiatry at MGH. She is licensed to practice both law and medicine in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Department of Neurology

The remaining fifty percent of the Center’s staff will be come from the Department of Neurology at MGH. The MGH Department of Neurology, comprised of more than 230 physicians, has consistently placed among the top four neurology departments in the United States according to U.S. News and World Report. Founded in 1872, the department has a long and distinguished history, and since that time has been a leading force in mapping out the intricacies of the brain and nervous system. In addition to its renowned expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological conditions, the Department of Neurology hosts one of the nation’s largest hospital based neuroscience research programs. Among its major milestones were the development of the first functional MRI scanner and the discovery of numerous genes that contribute to neurologic diseases.

Bruce H. Price, MD, Associate in Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, will co-direct the Center for Law, Brain and Behavior, and will participate in all of the research projects undertaken by the Center. Dr. Price graduated cum laude from Harvard University, attended the University Of Cincinnati College Of Medicine, and then completed an affiliated internal medicine residency program, serving as its chief resident. He next trained in general neurology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, then returned to Boston where he pursued fellowship training in cognitive and behavioral neurology at Beth Israel Hospital. He served as a staff member at Beth Israel Hospital for ten years. In 1994, he was appointed Chief of the Department of Neurology at McLean Hospital, also an affiliate of Partners Healthcare and major teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Dr. Price founded and continues to direct a McLean Hospital fellowship training program in behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry for physicians trained in neurology and/or psychiatry. He also co-founded and co-directs the McLean Hospital fellowship in neuropsychology.

An internationally recognized leader in the integration of neurology, psychiatry, neurosurgery, and neuropsychology, his research interests include the cognitive and behavioral consequences of neurologic and psychiatric diseases, brain dysfunction in violent and criminal behavior, frontal lobe functions including insight, judgment, empathy, self-awareness, social adaptation, and decision-making, memory disorders, and dementias. His fascination with the intersections between medicine, law, and ethics is longstanding.