Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Forensic Psychiatry Service


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About Our Team

The Forensic Psychiatry Service, a component of Penn Behavioral Health, is comprised of a team of world-class clinicians, researchers, and educators from a wide range of disciplines and subspecialties within psychiatry and behavioral health. Our experts are all full-time faculty members within the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Psychiatry. The goal of this team is to translate science into effective and meaningful assessment.

Specific areas of expertise include: mood and anxiety disorders, addiction, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide, psychotherapy and neuropsychiatric disorders. Through this diversity of specialization and expansive depth of knowledge, our service is able to provide the most appropriate expert to meet the needs presented by each unique task.

About Our Experts

Charles Dackis, MD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Medical Director, Department of Psychiatry
University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Dackis received his Bachelor's and MD degrees from Duke University and completed his psychiatric residency at Columbia University. He is board-certified in Psychiatry and has more than 30 years of experience treating a broad spectrum of psychiatric and behavioral disorders. Dr. Dackis joined the Penn faculty in 1998 and is currently Medical Director for the Department of Psychiatry in charge of psychiatric clinical services at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and psychiatric services within the Clinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania. He is actively involved in resident and medical student education and has participated as a principal investigator in numerous clinical trials at Penn. Dr. Dackis has authored more than 100 publications in the areas of substance abuse and psychiatric disorders. He provides supervision in the Penn Forensic Fellowship Program and has been an expert witness for more than 20 years with a focus on civil malpractice.

Click here to view the Curriculum Vitae (CV) for Dr. Dackis

Susan E. Rushing, MD, JD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Department of Psychiatry, Outpatient Psychiatrist
University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Rushing received her Bachelor of Science in Brain and Cognitive Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She received her M.D. at Yale School of Medicine, and her J.D. at Stanford Law School. Following law school, Dr. Rushing was a litigator in the life sciences group at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in San Francisco, CA. She completed her internship in Pediatrics at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC and completed Psychiatry residency at the University of Pennsylvania, where she also trained in Forensic Psychiatry. Dr. Rushing joined the Penn faculty in 2011 and is currently an attending psychiatrist in the Psychiatric Emergency Evaluation Center and on the Psychiatry Consult-Liaison Service at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Rushing is actively involved in resident and medical student education and is the course director for Forensic Psychiatry education. She lectures on topics of law and medicine around the country with focuses in decision making capacity and surrogate decision maker laws & criminal law and mental illness. Dr. Rushing's research investigates traumatic brain injury and violent behavior. She is currently conducting a study looking at the brain structure and function of persons accused of capital murder. Dr. Rushing has served as an expert witness in criminal, civil, and administrative matters.

Click here to view Dr. Rushing's Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Alexander S. Zwil, MD
Instructor of Psychiatry
Department of Psychiatry Out-patient Clinic
Director, Brain Injury and Behavior Center
University of Pennsylvania

Dr Zwil received his Bachelor’s degree from New York University and his MD degree from the Temple University School of Medicine.  He completed a residency in Psychiatry at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and a fellowship in Neuropsychiatry at the Brain Behavior Laboratory of the University of Pennsylvania.  He held the post of Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and at the Dartmouth University Medical School, before entering the private sector to serve as a neuropsychiatric consultant to brain injury rehabilitation providers, and as an expert witness in cases of brain injury liability litigation.  Dr Zwil also served as a Forensic Psychiatric Examiner at the Delaware Psychiatric Center, Jane E. Mitchell Forensic Unit, performing Adjudicative Competency and Mental Illness Defense examinations in criminal cases.  Dr Zwil joined the Penn faculty to develop a Center for the evaluation and clinical treatment of patients with brain injuries and other neuropsychiatric conditions, and to perform forensic psychiatric examinations supporting brain injury liability and criminal litigation.


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To learn more about the Forensic Psychiatry Service or to speak with one of our experts, please call