Dr. Holly A. Miller recently presented Grand Rounds to medical professionals and behavioral scientists at Baylor College of Medicine and two other medical facilities on the forensic and ethical aspects of malingering (faking a disorder) assessment.
Dr. Miller, a Professor and Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies at the College of Criminal Justice, developed an assessment test for malingering, which is used in forensic hospitals and courts throughout the country. The audience for Grand Rounds included physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, interns, and medical residents from Baylor University, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, and Menninger Clinic.
"The detection of malingered mental disorders is sometimes difficult," said Dr. Miller. "Using a tool to aid in diagnosis can benefit a physician's or evaluator's practice. People attempt to malinger mental illness for a variety of reasons; to get out of the cold and be admitted to the ER; to be found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity for criminal charges; or to collect disability monies. An assessment tool allows professionals to make more objective and accurate decisions."
The assessment test designed by Dr. Miller – the Miller-Forensic Assessment Test – is a five to ten minute structured interview to screen for malingering. The test uses validated detection methods to determine if an individual is faking mental illness. Dr. Miller has made many presentations on the assessment tool to correctional facilities and psychiatric forensic hospitals, but this is her first presentation on the measure before the general medical community.
In addition to providing a lecture to more than 100 professionals at Baylor University, with a simultaneous broadcast to the other facilities, Dr. Miller provided an informal session for psychiatric residents at Baylor. Dr. Cecil Webster, Co-Chief Resident and Dr. James Lomax, Chair of Karl Menninger Psychiatric Education at Baylor College of Medicine thanked Dr. Miller stating, "We certainly appreciate your work, sharing this topic with us, in addition to meeting someone at the helm of a tool that we use so often. Our program and our community at large have greatly benefited from your expertise."
Dr. Miller joined the faculty of Sam Houston State University in 2001 and her interests include psychological assessment, psychopathy, offender risk/need assessment, sexual offenders, law enforcement leadership assessment, and human diversity training. As a specialist in forensic assessment and offender evaluation, Dr. Miller also developed a second assessment instrument, the Inventory of Offender Risk, Needs, and Strengths, to assess variables that are related to recidivism for offender treatment and management purposes.
A licensed clinical psychologist and sex offender treatment provider, Dr. Miller consults with various agencies through her Forensic Private Practice providing sex offender evaluations, treatment and research services. She regularly serves as a trainer for the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas and the Correctional Management Institute of Texas.