Skip to Main Content

Frank Fortunati, MD, JD

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatry, Psychiatry

Biography

Frank Fortunati, MD, JD, is medical director of Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital, vice chief of psychiatry at Yale New Haven Hospital, and deputy chair of psychiatry for Yale New Haven Health. 

Dr. Fortunati is an adult, child and adolescent, and forensic psychiatrist. Forensic psychiatrists specialize in applying scientific and clinical knowledge to answer a legal question. Such questions may include determining if an individual has capacity to stand trial or whether an individual has suffered psychological harm after witnessing violence or from being harmed in an accident. 

Dr. Fortunati’s interest in forensic psychiatry stems from his time practicing as a medical malpractice attorney. It was during that time that he realized he was more interested in the medical aspects of the cases than the legal ones. He enrolled in medical school with the intent of becoming an obstetrician-gynecologist. But that plan changed while working with young adults in a psychiatric unit during medical school. 

“I was drawn to this work because I learned that a good psychiatrist can make an incredible difference in the life of young a person who struggles with depression or some other mental disorder,” he says. “I was impressed to see how much a psychiatrist’s skills and techniques and the relationships they build with children and their caregivers could impact treatment.” 

Prior to his current role, Dr. Fortunati led the child and adolescent inpatient psychiatry service at the Hospital of Saint Raphael for nearly 10 years.  

Dr. Fortunati treats patients at Smilow Cancer Hospital’s Adolescent and Young Adult Hematology Clinic, in addition to his administrative responsibilities. A big part of his work with all young patients is offering them a sense of hope that things will get better, he says.  

“They need us to show them hope and a conviction that they will get better. That is the most important thing for us to mirror back to them and amplify,” Dr. Fortunati says. “We want to avoid repeating some of the negativity and despair they may hear in other settings and focus on the future.” 

Dr. Fortunati says one of his favorite parts of his job is helping younger doctors, especially those who just finished their training, grow and develop. “The most satisfying part of my administrative role is watching a doctor grow in their skills and competence and come into their own in the profession,” he says. 

Additionally, Dr. Fortunati is involved in advocacy efforts at the state level to increase funding for children’s mental health issues, including greater access to care. He currently serves on the Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership Oversight Council and is a co-chair of the Connecticut Hospital Association’s Behavioral Health Council. 

Titles

  • Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
  • Medical Director - Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital
  • Associate Chief of Psychiatry - Yale New Haven Hospital

Education & Training

  • Fellow in Forensic Psychiatry
    Yale School of Medicine (2003)
  • Fellow in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
    Yale School of Medicine (2002)
  • Resident in Psychiatry
    Yale School of Medicine (2000)
  • Resident - Internal Medicine
    University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ - NJMS (1998)
  • MD
    New Jersey Medical School (1997)
  • JD
    Rutgers University School of Law - Camden (1991)
  • BS
    Rutgers University College of Pharmacy, Pharmacy (1988)

Additional Information

Biography

Frank Fortunati, MD, JD, is medical director of Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital, vice chief of psychiatry at Yale New Haven Hospital, and deputy chair of psychiatry for Yale New Haven Health. 

Dr. Fortunati is an adult, child and adolescent, and forensic psychiatrist. Forensic psychiatrists specialize in applying scientific and clinical knowledge to answer a legal question. Such questions may include determining if an individual has capacity to stand trial or whether an individual has suffered psychological harm after witnessing violence or from being harmed in an accident. 

Dr. Fortunati’s interest in forensic psychiatry stems from his time practicing as a medical malpractice attorney. It was during that time that he realized he was more interested in the medical aspects of the cases than the legal ones. He enrolled in medical school with the intent of becoming an obstetrician-gynecologist. But that plan changed while working with young adults in a psychiatric unit during medical school. 

“I was drawn to this work because I learned that a good psychiatrist can make an incredible difference in the life of young a person who struggles with depression or some other mental disorder,” he says. “I was impressed to see how much a psychiatrist’s skills and techniques and the relationships they build with children and their caregivers could impact treatment.” 

Prior to his current role, Dr. Fortunati led the child and adolescent inpatient psychiatry service at the Hospital of Saint Raphael for nearly 10 years.  

Dr. Fortunati treats patients at Smilow Cancer Hospital’s Adolescent and Young Adult Hematology Clinic, in addition to his administrative responsibilities. A big part of his work with all young patients is offering them a sense of hope that things will get better, he says.  

“They need us to show them hope and a conviction that they will get better. That is the most important thing for us to mirror back to them and amplify,” Dr. Fortunati says. “We want to avoid repeating some of the negativity and despair they may hear in other settings and focus on the future.” 

Dr. Fortunati says one of his favorite parts of his job is helping younger doctors, especially those who just finished their training, grow and develop. “The most satisfying part of my administrative role is watching a doctor grow in their skills and competence and come into their own in the profession,” he says. 

Additionally, Dr. Fortunati is involved in advocacy efforts at the state level to increase funding for children’s mental health issues, including greater access to care. He currently serves on the Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership Oversight Council and is a co-chair of the Connecticut Hospital Association’s Behavioral Health Council. 

Titles

  • Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
  • Medical Director - Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital
  • Associate Chief of Psychiatry - Yale New Haven Hospital

Education & Training

  • Fellow in Forensic Psychiatry
    Yale School of Medicine (2003)
  • Fellow in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
    Yale School of Medicine (2002)
  • Resident in Psychiatry
    Yale School of Medicine (2000)
  • Resident - Internal Medicine
    University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ - NJMS (1998)
  • MD
    New Jersey Medical School (1997)
  • JD
    Rutgers University School of Law - Camden (1991)
  • BS
    Rutgers University College of Pharmacy, Pharmacy (1988)

Additional Information