The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) recognized UMass Medical School’s Health and Criminal Justice Program for its efforts in improving the health and outcomes of individuals involved in the criminal justice system during the AAMC’s 126th annual meeting Nov. 8 in Baltimore, Maryland.
“Look at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, which over the last 20 years has built a national reputation for improving the health outcomes of correctional populations,” said Darrell G. Kirch, president and CEO of AAMC, a not-for-profit that serves more than 150 accredited medical schools in the United States and Canada.
“Through research, education, and patient care, faculty, students, and staff are helping inmates take control of the social and environmental factors that lead to both incarceration and poor health,” Dr. Kirch said. “Faculty at the university also were involved in producing the first comprehensive textbook of inmate mental health, published this year.”
UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division operates the Health and Criminal Justice Program, which focuses on research and scholarship, education, and service and consulting. The program also runs the Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health, which hosts an international, interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed conference annually on correctional health and health policy.
The program’s consulting work involves managing contracts to provide health services for federal correctional institutions. Clients include the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Federal Medical Centers in Devens, Massachusetts, and Butner, North Carolina, as well as its Federal Correctional Institutions in Ray Brook, New York, and Berlin, New Hampshire.
The textbook that Kirch referenced is the Oxford Textbook of Correctional Psychiatry, the first comprehensive resource on criminal justice mental health issues. It was co-edited by Kenneth L. Appelbaum, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry at UMass Medical School and director of correctional mental health policy and research at the Center for Health Policy and Research, a unit within Commonwealth Medicine.
The first Virtual Site Visit that AAMC produced in August 2014 featured the Health and Criminal Justice Program. Watch this video from that site visit to find out more about the program: