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Adam Nelson, M.D.

Adam Nelson, M.D.

Speaker, 2022 – 2023

Dr. Nelson has been practicing psychiatry for more than 30 years during which time he has cared for a diversity of patients and families in a variety of healthcare settings. He currently maintains a full-time office practice in Marin County where he offers consultation, psychotherapy and psychopharmacology services to patients and their families. In addition, Dr. Nelson is the Medical Director of La Cheim Behavioral Health Services, a community-based Partial Hospital and Intensive Outpatient Program, which he helped to cofound in 1995. Dr. Nelson is also the former Chair of Psychiatry at Marin General Hospital, where he established a Consultation and Emergency Psychiatry Service and serviced as Medical Director for Outpatient Behavioral Health Services.

Dr. Nelson is a Distinguished Fellow of the APA and has served as President of several chapters in California, including Sacramento, East Bay, and Marin, as well as District Branch President for the Northern California Psychiatric Society. He has also served in the APA Assembly as a representative for more than 10 years and produced and distributed the Assembly Notes to Assembly members and DB Executive Directors before being elected as Assembly Recorder in 2020 and Speaker-Elect in 2021.

Previously, Dr. Nelson devoted himself to public and community psychiatry, where he has been a force for innovation in assisting marginalized persons to access psychiatric services. Dr. Nelson was the Medical Director of the Brinton Psychiatric Homeless Project in San Francisco, in which he established city-wide social and legal service collaborations to assist homeless persons to access housing and entitlements. He developed a mobile electronic health record and was a pioneer in piloting electronic prescribing to deliver psychiatric services to persons at campsites and shelters. Dr. Nelson also established psychiatric services for Medi-Cal beneficiaries at Catholic Charities of San Francisco and Marin and has served as Consulting Psychiatrist to several Bay Area clinical settings, including Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic, Glide Memorial Church Medical Clinic, Saint Anthony's Medical Clinic, Mission Neighborhood Drop-In Center, Tenderloin Drop-In Center, and Caduceus Outreach Services. Dr. Nelson has also worked extensively in government programs, as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, in the VA Medical System, as Medical Director for the Sacramento County Jails, and with the City of Berkeley Mental Health Clinic. Dr. Nelson has been an advocate for the rights and benefits of psychiatric patients and those with mental illness and served as the psychiatrist appointee to the California Mental Health Planning Council.

Dr. Nelson has published a number of newsletter and journal articles and has presented several talks to colleagues and to mental health advocacy and consumer groups. Many of his talks have focused on navigating the labyrinth of healthcare systems and improving access to care. Dr. Nelson has previously held teaching appointments with UC Davis, UCSF, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Awards and Honors:

  • Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society
  • US Air Force Health Professions Scholarship Award recipient
  • US Air Force Commendation Medal
  • Janssen Clinical Scholarship Award


  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, University of Pennsylvania
  • Doctor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Categorical Internship in Medicine/Psychiatry, Hillside Hospital/Long Island Jewish Medical Center
  • Psychiatry Residency, Hillside Hospital Division of Albert Einstein College of Medicine

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