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The Practice of Forensic Psychology at NRH
Michael J. O’Connell, Ph.D. ABPP

Forensic psychology is a unique specialization within psychology.  As the name implies, forensic psychology involves both legal matters and psychological matters.  While “forensics” is frequently seen on TV, such as (in) shows like NCIS, in real-life, forensic psychology attempts to help legal decision makers understand mental health information/evidence.  For instance, if a worker sustained a head injury and was having a difficult time at work, a forensic psychologist could help determine the severity of the injury, how it may affect the worker’s ability to do his or her job and what treatments or accommodations could be considered.  

Unlike clinical psychology, where the psychologist focuses on evaluating and treating a patient, a forensic psychologist is simply trying to help the court answer specific medical-legal questions.  As we know in today’s litigious society, it is not uncommon for a person’s medical situation to eventually involve legal matters.  It is important to understand that in many cases the “client” in forensic psychology can be an attorney, an insurance company or the court. 
Common referral questions include:
·         does the person have valid psychiatric or neuropsychological symptoms that have caused a disability that are from a specific accident/injury ? 
·         can the person make medical treatment decisions?
·         can the person live alone?
·         can the person handle his or her finances?
·         can the person go back to work…is the person “fit for duty”?
·         what accommodations (including treatments) does the person need in order to return to work?

The practice of forensic psychology usually involves conducting an evaluation, writing reports and providing expert witness deposition / testimony.  In order to answer the questions above, the forensic psychologist would frequently review multiple records (e.g., medical, work, etc.), conduct various interviews, and administer a battery of tests.  It is crucial that the forensic psychologist has a good understanding of the relevant laws and ethics that are associated with working in the legal system.  Working in forensic psychology is an exciting and challenging specialization within the practice of psychology.

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell is a board certified forensic psychologist from the American Board of Professional Psychology.  He works at the National Rehabilitation Hospital and has offices at the hospital in Washington DC and at Regional Rehab at Dorsey Hall in Ellicott City, MD. 
For information or to schedule an appointment,
call 410 997 1063.
Looking for Aquatic Therapy?

The Aquatics Program helps adults recovering from orthopedic, neurological and musculoskeletal injuries.

Some of the benefits of aquatic therapy:

  • Get a head start on your recovery; the 4 feet of water allows most patients who are not ready for traditional land­based physical therapy to begin treatment 
  • Aquatic therapy is offered in a warm and inviting pool where the water is heated to a soothing 92 degrees.
  • Ideal for people with arthritis, back injuries, fractures, or anyone with weight bearing lssues
  • Work with skilled NRH physical therapists
  • Treatment covered by most insurance plans

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    NRH Outpatient Nutrition Counseling
    Outpatient nutrition counseling is now available for individuals or groups at National Rehabilitation Hospital! NRH Registered Dietitians are available on Monday afternoons from 12pm-4pm and Wednesday mornings from 8am-12pm.
    NRH dietitians can address many concerns including:
    • Chronic Disease and Stroke Prevention
    • Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, High Blood Pressure, Chronic Kidney Disease
    • Digestive Problems
    • Nutrition after Spinal Cord Injury
    • Food Allergies
    • Advice for weight gain or loss
    • Nutrition during cancer treatment
    • Any condition where nutrition intervention could create a positive outcome!
    Call 202-877-1440 to inquire about scheduling, insurance coverage, prices, and group rates.
    Highlighting NRH Sites Across the Network

    NRH Regional Rehab at Dundalk is located southeast of Baltimore, just over the city line.  Dundalk is a tight-knit, seemingly small community of 65,000 people.  The city was initially built to house the thousands of employees at Bethlehem Steel.  Given the blue-collar nature of the community, our clinic tends to have a very high percentage of workers compensation patients.  We are conveniently located on Merritt Boulevard with plenty of free parking and hours of operation to suit a patient’s needs: Monday through Thursday from 8am to 8pm and Fridays from 8am to 5:30pm. 
    Our comprehensive clinical team consists of 4 physical therapists, 2 occupational therapists, and 1 speech therapist.  Although we tend to primarily tend to treat orthopedic work injuries, we are well suited to accommodate those patients that have sustained a neurological injury while on the job.
    Heather Nitsch, DPT, OCS, CHT is the clinic director at Dundalk.  After graduating from Belmont University in 2000 with her doctorate in physical therapy, she has spent her entire career in an outpatient orthopedic setting.  She is board certified as an Orthopedic Specialist by the American Physical Therapy Association and a Certified Hand Therapist. 
    Kimberly Morrison, PT, DPT attended University of Maryland at Baltimore where she received her doctorate in physical therapy.  She has been employed by Medstar at the Dundalk clinic since she graduated 8 years ago. 
    Renee Schroeder, MPT attended Andrews University in Dayton, Ohio for her master’s degree in physical therapy. She spent one year as a contract therapist working in various settings until taking a permanent position at Medstar’s Good Samaritan Hospital Inpatient Rehab. There she worked primarily with the neuro and orthopedic team for 4 years. Renee joined NRH Regional Rehab 1 ½ years ago. She has begun working on her certification for manual therapy and plans on completion within the next year.
    Amanda Greene, PT, DPT received her Bachelors of Arts in Dance from Goucher College and graduated from Northwestern University with her DPT in 2009.  She began with NRH Regional Rehab right after graduation. Amanda is able to effectively communicate to our Spanish speaking patients which is a tremendous benefit to many of our worker’s compensation patients.
    Janice Adams, OTR/L, CHT attended Towson State where she graduated in 1979 with her Bachelors degree in Occupational Therapy.  She began her focus on the treatment of the upper extremity at The University of Maryland Medical Center where she worked for 10 years prior to becoming a Medstar team-member.  She has been working in the Dundalk office for just over 8 years. 
    Amanda Jedamski, M.S., OTR/L has been working at Dundalk since she graduated almost 5 years ago.  She plans to sit for the Certified Hand Therapist exam as soon as she is eligible.
    Becca Houtz, M.S., CF-SLP graduated with her master’s of science degree in Speech and Language Pathology from Towson State University in 2010.  She has been working at both the Dundalk office as well as our Bel Air office since graduation.

    For more information please call 410.650.2145 or Click Here to visit us on the website
    Congratulations to NRH Regional Rehab at Pasadena for being voted
    "Best Physical Therapy"
    by the C
    ommunity and Pasadena Voice!
    Click Here to see their certificate!
    New Technology From Nascott

    At Nascott we strive to bring the latest technology to our patients and to the many medical professionals that trust us to provide quality, timely and courteous care.  We possess the capability to scan patients for braces (orthotics and shoe orthotics) and prosthetics.  The process is simple and non-invasive.  A stocking or liner is placed on the affected body part.  Once in place, our practitioners attach an electrode to the body cover and will begin the scanning process.  The scan typically takes 15 minutes to complete.  Once completed, the practitioner is then able to make modifications to the scan using software prior to sending the picture for fabrication.
    Scanning presents a cleaner, efficient process while collecting data.  The data collected helps our practitioner’s document changes.  Measurements are collected and saved for future use and also provide documentation for when Nascott patients require new devices and adjustments as patients change. 

    Scanning allows us to maximize our efficiencies in creating a custom created device, for appointment scheduling and turn around time.  As our patients' needs change they can rest assured knowing that we will help them every step of the way.    Refer today!  Visit to find one of five convenient locations.

    3 CEU's to be provided at each event! Attend all 5 events and enter to win free registration to the 2011 MWCEA conference!
    Come see who wins our first Project 15 and wins free registration to the MWCEA conference!

    It all comes down to three:
    Donna Briscoe
    Leslie Ferrari
    Mary Regina Wolf

    *You must attend to win!*

    July 14th, 2011

    "Hands Down, All You 'Kneed' to Know; A Comprehensive Look at Hands and Knees From Injury through Rehabilitation"

    Co-Sponsored by CARPPS

    Registration and Lunch Starting at 11:00am
    Presentations Starting by 11:45am
    Conference ending by 3:00pm

    Richlin Ballroom
    1700 Van Bibber Road
    Edgewood, MD 21040
    For directions, click here


    Dr. Ryan Katz
    - "Workers Compensation: A Surgeon's Perspective; Taking the Patient from Start to ??"

    Dr. Richard Levine- "Meniscal Tears:  Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments"

    Heather Nitsch DPT, OCS, CHT- "Rehabilitation of Common Injuries to the Knee"

    Susan Dumler OTR/L, CHT, CLT- "Evaluation Process for Hand Injuries"

    TO RSVP,
    Click Here

    *3 CCMC, CRC, & CDMS
    credits pending
    *1 Unit (3 credit hours) for MDWCC pending

    $20 Registration Fee for those needing CEU's to be paid at the door. *MDWCC NO CHARGE*
    Upcoming Events


    October 20th, 2011
    "An Overview of Brain Injury:
    25 Years of Experience"

    Presented by ReMed and
    National Rehabilitation Hospital

    National Rehabilitation Hospital
    102 Irving Street, NW 20010

    *Registration Details to Come

    NRH Groups

    NRH Vocational Rehabilitation Group

    Brain Injury Support Group

    Looking for a way to contact us or our physicians within MedStar?  Click Here to access our MedStar Worker's Compensation Resource Contact List!!!



    Hospital Based Services:

    National Rehabilitation Hospital

    Curtis National Hand Center

    Curtis Work Rehab Services

    Physician Services:

    UMH Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

    National Hand Specialists

    National Rehabilitation Hospital

    Georgetown University Hospital

    Harbor Hospital

    Specialty Services:

    Medstar Affiliates:
    Greater Chesapeake Hand Specialists

    Sleep Services of America

    Other Resources:

    Double D Sports, Inc.
    1010 Prince Frederick Blvd.
    Prince Frederick, MD 20678
    Catherine Kuegler, PT- Store Owner
    Michael Kuegler, PT

    Worksite Health & Safety Consultants
    Providing on-site consultation for ergonomics, wellness, & safety training


    For questions about any of our sites or services, please visit

    Recruitment Corner

    To view current job openings in the NRH network,
    please visit


    Meet the Editor:

    Jeannine McNelly

    I have been a part of  MedStar Health since 1999 and have worked as a clinic assistant, Certified Athletic Trainer and Massage Therapist at our outpatient site in Lutherville, MD.  Currently, I have been a part of the Business Development & Recruitment Team at NRH since 2004 and I am also the current Insurance Liaison.

    Feel free to contact me at
    or 202-877-1914 with any questions or if you would like one of our physicians to present at your location.

    Please remember to update me with your email contact information so you can continue to receive the MedStar newsletters!!

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    *National Rehabilitation Hospital
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    Washington, DC 20010*
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