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last updated Thu, Sep 15, 2011
Elyn R. Saks specializes in mental health law, criminal law, and children and the law. Her recent research focused on ethical dimensions of psychiatric research and forced treatment of the mentally ill. She teaches Mental Health Law, Mental Health Law and the Criminal Justice System, and Advanced Family Law: The Rights and Interests of Children. She served as USC Law’s associate dean for research from 2005-2010 and also teaches at theInstitute ofPsychiatry and the Law at the Keck School of Medicine atUSC and is an adjunct professor of psychiatry at theUniversity ofCalifornia,San Diego.
Prof. Saks was a 2009 recipient of a MacArthur Foundation fellowship and in fall 2010 announced she is using funds from the “genius grant” to create the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics. The Institute spotlights one important mental health issue per academic year and is a collaborative effort that includes faculty from seven USC departments: law, psychiatry, psychology, social work, gerontology, philosophy and engineering.
Prof. Saks recently published The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness (Hyperion, 2007), a memoir about her struggles and successes with schizophrenia and acute psychosis. Other publications include Refusing Care: Forced Treatment and the Rights of the Mentally Ill (University of Chicago Press, 2002), Interpreting Interpretation: The Limits of Hermeneutic Psychoanalysis (Yale University Press, 1999), and Jekyll on Trial: Multiple Personality Disorder and Criminal Law (with Stephen H. Behnke, New York University Press, 1997).
Before joining the USC Law faculty in 1989, Prof. Saks was an attorney in Connecticut and instructor at the University of Bridgeport School of Law. She graduated summa cum laude from Vanderbilt University before earning her master of letters from Oxford University and her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she also edited the Yale Law Journal. She holds a Ph.D. in psychoanalytic science from the New Center for Psychoanalysis. Saks is a member of Phi Beta Kappa; an affiliate member of the American Psychoanalytic Association; a board member of Mental Health Advocacy Services; and a member of the Los Angeles Psychoanalytic Foundation, Robert J. Stoller Foundation, and American Law Institute. Prof. Saks won both the Associate’s Award for Creativity in Research and Scholarship and the Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award in 2004.
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