Academics and Corrections
Policy: The Society of Correctional Physicians encourages, supports and strongly recommends the education of correctional medicine at every level of training.
Correctional medicine is an unrecognized subspecialty that few health care graduates are familiar with. Most medical educational institutions do not include any formal or even informal training in the health needs of one of the most underserved populations in this country. Since few formal correctional health training programs exist and are relatively young in the scope of academia, most physicians who work with the incarcerated started their correctional careers only after working in other private and public sectors. Medical trainees (and the general public at large) are not aware that highly qualified professionals provide care to the incarcerated. By incorporating correctional medicine into medical education curriculums, medical students and residents can begin at an earlier point in their career to consider this unique and constitutionally mandated area of medicine. Such an introduction can emphasize the impact they can have on the individual patient as well as on the public health as a whole.
The SCP advocates exposing more medical trainees to correctional medicine through:
Grand Rounds presentations
Shadowing opportunities for first and second year medical students
Electives for third and fourth year students
Rotations for residents and fellows
Correctional medicine fellowships
Though these methods are traditional examples, other methods of integration are also encouraged.
Several correctional systems have already developed relationships with local medical education institutions, affording students and trainees access to experiences that are rarely shared by their colleagues. However, these ties can always be strengthened. Systems which do not have such relationships should seek to develop such academic ties through direct contact with an identified training program. By reaching soon-to-be medical professionals, correctional medicine offers a viable career choice that the trainee will reflect back on as they consider their future job opportunities. Introducing the physician to the merits of correctional medicine will prepare them for the unique challenges and rewards of the profession. Other physicians who do not choose corrections as a career will also benefit as they are more familiar with the incarcerated patient’s needs either in consultation or upon release. The SCP firmly believes that by introducing correctional medicine into academic centers and training programs, qualified healthcare professionals will openly seek opportunities to provide care for this vulnerable and underserved population.
Adopted by the SCP Board of Directors July 8, 2014.