Alvin Lau, MD

Associate Chief For Training & Innovation

Dr. Alvin Lau is a Psychiatrist offering Medication Management, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), esketamine, and Ketamine Infusion Therapy (KIT) treatments.

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More about Alvin Lau, MD

Dr. Alvin Lau is a Psychiatrist offering Medication Management, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), esketamine, and Ketamine Infusion Therapy (KIT) treatments. His initial interests were mostly around hospital psychiatry, integrated primary care and psychiatry care models, and then treatment of significant mental illness in complex medical populations. When medication management and psychotherapy reached their limit, he searched for other treatment options. Discovering other treatments allowed him to focus more on incorporating interventional psychiatry techniques into his treatment plans.

Having seen a wide area of complex patients with complex diagnoses and in complex situations in various situations, he prides himself on being able to step back and take a deep thorough dive into patient histories, to really try and tease out all a person’s complexities, so that the plan he comes up with can be as tailored as possible to an individual. He tends to take less of a formal psychoanalytic-style of approach to psychiatry, and more so realize he is working with a person.

Dr. Alvin Lau has an affinity for alternative treatments such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), esketamine, and Ketamine Infusion Treatments (KIT), which allow him to find what works best for each of his patients and their individual needs. TMS treatment in his words, is in many respects what we want medications and all our treatments, to be: A targeted method for treating mental illness that when efficacious provides durable benefit without any invasive aspects or systemic side effects. These treatments ensure that patients get the help they need.

Personal Interests

Outside of work, Dr. Lau and his wife are both Bay Area born and raised and both love being with our families. His nieces and nephews are at an age where “their uncle is still cool”, so he tries to spend time playing with them as much as possible.  Him and his wife enjoy going to museums, exhibits, and other events, particularly like trying new restaurants.  When they have the chance, they do like to travel, whether it’s short trips in California to longer visits to international relatives.  He personally enjoys playing basketball, going bike riding, and other things that get him outside to get some fresh air.  He is also a reasonably invested Bay Area sports fan.

Education & Experience

Dr. Lau first attended the University of California for his Bachelor’s degree in Cell Biology. Afterwards, he stayed for his graduate studies, earning his Master’s degree from the School of Medicine. He completed his years of residency training at the University of California as well, later completing a Fellowship with the Psychosomatic Medicine Residency Program at the University of Washington.

After he completed his residency and fellowship, he served as a director of imbedded primary care at the regional mental health clinics, working with the San Mateo County Psychiatry Residency program. It was an inversion of the typical integrated care models where mental health services are imbedded in the primary care. A very interesting and stimulating model in his eyes, and he enjoyed his time their immensely.  Eventually, he wanted to pursue C/L work at an academic institution, and was recruited to UCSF, where he joined a cadre of physicians and first met Dr. Marton.

At a period of transition at UCSF, he took a position at the San Francisco VA as the Section Chief of Inpatient Psychiatry, where he further refined his interventional skills, and gained his IV ketamine treatment foundation.  He  believed so strongly in the benefits of IV ketamine as a modality that he then founded his own clinic, hoping to provide multi-modal treatment options to the community beyond the VA.

Certifications & Memberships

  • Family Medicine: American Board of Family Medicine
  • Psychiatry: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
  • Psychosomatic Medicine: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

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