Epright to join USC School of Medicine clinical faculty

May 12, 2014 | Erikah Haavie, Contributing Writer

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Philosophy professor Carmela Epright has been invited to join the Department of Psychiatry at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Columbia as Clinical Professor of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science. She is the first philosopher ever appointed to the clinical faculty.

As a clinical professor, Epright will teach medical ethics to physicians, fellows, residents, and medical students. She will also serve as an ethics and policy consultant and participate in collaborative research projects.

"Dr. Epright has a remarkable grasp of the ethical issues that abound in forensic psychiatry. She is able to synthesize the notion of free will and how persons with severe mental illnesses are misunderstood in the legal system,” said Dr. Richard Frierson, professor of psychiatry and vice chair for education in the Department of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. “She will be a valuable asset to our forensic psychiatry training program and our department as a whole."

Epright served as a visiting scholar during the 2012-2013 academic year at the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, where she studied with the Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Program. Her sabbatical project focused on the evaluation and treatment of the criminally mentally ill.

“I am deeply committed to exploring ethical issues in the treatment of mental illness, and in particular in highlighting the most marginalized psychiatric populations,” Epright said. “I am pleased that USC’s program recognizes the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and sees benefit in exposing their students to new ways to conceive of their role as psychiatrists.”

She will continue her work at Furman in addition to her work in medical ethics at the state level. Epright currently serves as a consultant to each of South Carolina’s three academic medical centers and to the state ethics committee. She has also served as a visiting scholar at the Medical University of South Carolina, where she is a member of the ethics committee.

In 2004, Epright was awarded the Alester G. Furman, Jr. and Janie Earle Furman Award for Meritorious Teaching at Furman University. She has published articles in bioethics, feminist philosophy, moral theory and moral psychology. She is currently working on a book that examines the ways in which physicians conduct competency and criminal responsibility evaluations, as well as how they diagnose and treat the criminally mentally ill. She earned her Ph.D. and master’s degrees in applied ethics and philosophy from Loyola University.

Learn more about the Furman Philosophy Department.