Expert Spotlight on Alan Newman, M.D.

Dr. Newman is an expert on suicide risk assessment, hospital safety issues, and psychiatric issues in criminal cases.  As a fellowship-trained forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Newman has experience as an expert witness regarding post-discharge suicide, inpatient suicide, ligature risks, seclusion and restraint issues, psychopharmacology, violence risk assessment, malingering, criminal and civil competencies, criminal responsibility, and conditional release assessments.

As a physician leader in a number of academic medical centers, Dr. Newman has significant expertise in hospital policies and processes related to the safe management of patients in the hospital environment, as well as the assessment of dangerous patients in the emergency environment.  He has been actively involved in multiple root cause analyses related to adverse hospital events and has a deep understanding of the institutional processes involved in addressing safety issues in the hospital setting.

Park Dietz related:
I first met Dr. Newman in the mid-1990s, when he was still a resident at the University of Arkansas.  One of his professors–my friend and colleague Daryl Matthews, MD, PhD–had invited me to give Grand Rounds at the University and told me he had an outstanding resident he wanted to introduce to me.  I’ve followed Alan’s career since then and watched him blossom into a leading authority on suicide and hospital safety and a sought-after expert in criminal cases who has adopted the innovations my team introduced during the trial of John Hinckley, Jr.  It is a delight that he has joined PD&A, where we can make his talents available to such a large roster of clients.


Dr. Newman is the Chair of Psychiatry at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in San Francisco, California, and serves as the Residency Training Director.  He serves on the board of San Francisco Suicide Prevention, the oldest suicide prevention and support agency in the country.

Dr. Newman is passionate about medical education and has been actively involved in the education of forensic psychiatrists over the past 20 years.  Dr. Newman is a Clinical Professor at the University of California San Francisco, where he focuses on the legal regulation of psychiatry.  Previously, he served as the director of forensic psychiatry fellowships at Tulane University and Georgetown University.  Dr. Newman was named the “Best Teacher in a Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Program” by the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law in 2004.  Many former trainees of Dr. Newman practice in leadership roles in mental health systems across the U.S.

Dr. Newman is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, where he received his medical degree and completed residency education at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.  He completed a forensic fellowship in forensic neuropsychiatry at Tulane University in 1998.  Honors that Dr. Newman received during his training included being selected for the Sol Ginsburg Fellowship of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry and the Jonas Rappeport Fellowship of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.  He received the 2007 Daniel X. Freedman Fellowship from the American Psychiatric Foundation, where he served on the Health Staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources and participated in the development of laws related to patient privacy, outpatient treatment of opioid dependence, and mental health insurance parity.

Dr. Newman began his career at the Arkansas State Hospital, where he developed a comprehensive, statewide restructuring of criminal responsibility and criminal competency evaluations.  Dr. Newman led a task force that successfully implemented changes to the statutory framework overseeing psychiatric evaluations in Arkansas.  He returned to Tulane, where he spent the next six years as the medical director of three locked forensic inpatient psychiatric units.  During this period, he was heavily involved in issues relating to criminal competencies, insanity defense evaluations, sex-offender evaluation, involuntary administration of medications, and risk assessments of patients being considered for less restrictive environments.

Dr. Newman shifted his interests to the non-forensic clinical environment in 2005, when he became the Medical Director of Inpatient Psychiatry at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, where he also served as Director of Residency Training.  During his nine years at Georgetown, he developed his expertise in the areas of suicide, particularly as it related to the assessment of patients in the hospital emergency room and the management and discharge considerations involved in patients on hospital units.

Dr. Newman lectures extensively on forensic issues, particularly on topics related to political violence, coercive persuasion, collective panics, and the sovereign citizen movement.  Dr. Newman has published articles and book chapters on a variety of forensic psychiatric topics, including cyberstalking, the use of hypnosis by police, admissibility of hypnotically-refreshed testimony, the treatment of stalking victims, and the insanity defense of attempted assassin John W. Hinckley, Jr.