Physician and Expert in Healthcare Policy including AI

Strategic insights with applications in healthcare policy, ethics, and AI. A seasoned consulting expert who has years of global clinical experience.

Laura Davies, MD, is a leading consultant based in San Francisco, CA. As a Board-Certified Psychiatrist Dr. Davies has consulted with leading attorneys, global leaders, healthcare executives and heads of government agencies. Dr. Davies leverages technology, including AI, to minimize costs and maximize value. She uses her years of clinical experience as well as her experience with policy to ensure that all recommendations and strategic plans are thoroughly vetted to provide full value to clients.  

She has an in-depth understanding of legal, ethical, clinical, and practical considerations, and is able to effectively triage competing priorities.  

Laura Davies, MD, Board Certified Child, Adolescent, & Adult Psychiatrist, has practiced evidence-based medicine and advocated for policy throughout her career, including international government service, private practice, and expert witness trial representation.

Dr. Davies served in United States' Embassy Moscow as a diplomat and physician from 2017-2019, advising Ambassadors and Chiefs of Missions in over 14 posts. She has testified as an expert witness in state and federal courts covering a multitude of issues.  Dr. Davies has worked on civil and criminal cases, as well as working on the implementation of consent decrees obtained by the United States Department of Justice. Her fluency in Spanish has been an asset for work in Puerto Rico and California.  

Dr. Davies has worked on forensic cases dealing with determining competency to draft a will, ability to give informed consent, effects of substances, immigration issues and others. 

Clinically, Dr. Davies integrates her expertise in psychopharmacology with psychotherapeutic modalities including CBT, short-term dynamic, and supportive treatment approaches.  She encourages the use of apps or workbooks as appropriate for patients.  She treats a wide range of conditions including depression and anxiety. Dr. Davies identifies and addresses biopsychosocial issues with her patients to assist them to move forward. 

Dr. Laura Davies psychiatrist AI expert

Laura Davies, MD

Laura Davies, MD, Board Certified Child, Adolescent, & Adult Psychiatrist, has practiced evidence-based medicine and advocated for policy throughout her career, including international government service, private practice, and expert witness trial representation. 

After graduating cum laude from Princeton University, she attended medical school at USC and then completed residency and fellowship at University of California, San Francisco.  She is Board Certified in Psychiatry, with Subspecialty Certification in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  

Embracing AI as a Psychiatrist

As a psychiatrist, I recognize the immense potential of artificial intelligence to transform mental healthcare - from enabling more accurate diagnoses to expanding access to therapy. I believe that responsibly harnessing these tools can greatly benefit patients and support providers like myself. 

However, I also understand that AI comes with risks if not thoughtfully implemented and overseen. My career has focused not just on providing care, but on shaping policy around emerging technologies in medicine. This drives my active involvement in monitoring AI developments and advocating for ethical, safe practices.

I am an active member of the AI Exchange online community, connecting with global AI leaders across industries to discuss technology trends and use cases.  Enrolling in courses like the AI Brain Trust, No Code AI and AI for Business through Innovating with AI has expanded my hands-on skills.

By following thought leaders like Fei Fei Li and Andrew Ng I gain perspective on making AI more trustworthy and dependable. 

With my actively cultivated expertise and experience, I hope to shape AI's role in moving mental healthcare forward.  I regularly and carefully evaluate new mental health chatbot and app offerings that utilize AI, focusing on proven benefits for patients and comprehensive privacy and safety protocols. Considering risks like algorithmic bias and being transparent with patients about when and how AI is being used as part of their care.

We are in a new era of technology and industry, far outpacing governmental regulations.  Industry self-regulation must emphasize transparency, accountability, and safety across the AI product lifecycle.

The rapid evolution of artificial intelligence calls for voices of tempered optimism - welcoming AI's benefits while establishing prudent boundaries.


Non-confidential Publications:

Collaboration with the Rand Corporation: "Suddenly becoming a 'Virtual Doctor': Experiences of Psychiatrists Transitioning to Telemedicine during the COVID-19 Pandemic."

Regular contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle, 2013-2014, monthly column for the Health section.  One of the columns: 


In San Francisco, we are exposed to many ways of thinking about health and wellness.

This is great — our thoughtfulness about food and movement has surely had some impact on our being one of the 10 “least-obese” American cities. Sometimes, though, it can backfire.

We might avoid proven therapies just because they are not “natural.” I have seen this over and over again in my practice, where people are happy to take herbs but avoid medication for illnesses such as depression because of unfounded fears. People can be scared that the pills will change their personality, or that they will become addicted.

Fortunately, neither one of those occurs. Antidepressants are proven medications which have helped millions of Americans.

Being depressed does not mean that one is crying all the time. Sometimes it can be a withdrawal from friends and family, irritability, difficulty sleeping, a change in appetite, thoughts of death or even suicide, a loss of hope for the future, anxious thoughts, and lowered self-confidence.

Depression is not rare. Over our lifetimes, more than 20 percent of people in the United States will suffer from it. That means that we will all be exposed to it in some way, likely in our family, and certainly at a moderate-sized workplace. But because of the stigma associated with mental illness, most people don’t talk about depression, and, in fact, only a third of people with severe depressive symptoms are taking medication. Of them, only a third are in contact with a mental health professional.

Nobody wants to think of themselves as “that bad off.” People will pretend the problem doesn’t exist, almost as if the crying and avoiding of friends isn’t real if the cause doesn’t have a name. This is sad because depression can kill, sometimes with suicide, or sometimes with a single-person car accident. Untreated depression will affect not only the sufferer, but their family. Children of a depressed parent do much worse in school and are more likely to be abused.

People may want to think that they can “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” But that doesn’t work in diabetes, and it doesn’t work in depression.  So it makes sense to take advantage of well-tested, proven therapies.

Fortunately, we live in a time when good treatment for depression is available. And with the Affordable Care Act, one of the traditional barriers to accessing mental health care, that of creating a “pre-existing condition,” will no longer be a concern.

The medicines need to be prescribed by a licensed physician. There are also therapies which can be helpful in addition to the medicines, such as talk therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Antidepressants are not intended to make you giddy or euphoric. They are not cocaine. What they do is provide a floor for one’s emotions, so that tears do not come as often or as intensely. The world does not look as gray or bleak once the medications take effect. It is easier to get out of bed in the morning, and to get through the day. Little by little, usually over three to six weeks, patients feel like they are getting back to normal.

Antidepressant medications have helped millions of Americans regain their interest in life and relationships. They do this in part by rebalancing serotonin, a chemical in the brain that affects mood.  They block the serotonin from coming back into the neuron that is sending it, so that the signal stays around longer.

There is no magic voodoo happening here, just chemistry, the same as with beta blockers for high blood pressure, inhalers for asthma, and insulin for diabetes.

The pills do not change who people are. And there is no way to become addicted to these pills.  If you have any concerns that you may be depressed, talk to your doctor.

For more information:


person holding pencil near laptop computer

National Mental Health Resources

Emergency Mental Health, Telephone or chat: 

988 Lifeline 

Sexual assault resources:  Acute and Lifelong: 

National Sexual Assault Hotline

Where to find your prescription medications that may be in a national shortage: FDA drug shortage database

Smartphone apps icons against businessman using phone 3d

Selected Apps for Consumers -- CBT and journaling exercises

CBT-i from the VA:

CBT from MindDoc


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Recursos en Español