The Center for Psychedelic Therapy & Research is led by Professor Janis Phelps, PhD. Dr. Phelps is a leader in the field of psychedelic therapy training as the Director of the Psychedelic Therapies and Research at the California Institute of Integral Studies Center. As the Center’s founder, Dr. Phelps developed and launched the first university accredited, post-graduate training program for psychedelic therapy and research. She has held the position of the Dean of Faculty of the six doctoral departments in the CIIS School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Her 2017 journal publication, Developing Guidelines and Competencies for the Training of Psychedelic Therapists, describes best practices in the academic training of medical and mental health professionals in this field . These ideas are further developed in a 2019 chapter on “Training Psychedelic Therapists” in Advances in Psychedelic Medicine, edited by Michael Winkelman and Ben Sessa. Dr. Phelps is a board member of the Heffter Research Institute, which has conducted highly influential psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy research since the 1990’s. A licensed clinical psychologist, she is a key contributor to the creation of a national accreditation board for psychedelic therapists and to methods of scaling effective training programs to meet the burgeoning need for well-trained mental health and medical professionals in the field of psychedelic medicine. Dr. Phelps maintains a private clinical practice in Mill Valley, CA.

Kwasi Adusei, DNP, PMHNP-BC is a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and co-founder of the Psychedelic Society of Western New York, out of which he developed a local psychedelic harm reduction program. Kwasi is a trainee of the MAPS sponsored MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD and was part of the first ever therapists of color cohort. He intends to bring this method of healing into underserved communities.

Manish Agrawal, MD, is board certified in medical oncology and internal medicine. He graduated from Auburn University, College of Engineering and attended medical school at the University of Alabama School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Georgetown University Medical Center, and his fellowship at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. He attended the CIIS Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research with the 2018 class. Dr. Agrawal currently serves as Co-Director of Clinical Research at the Aquilino Cancer Center in Maryland. He is developing a psychosocial oncology and palliative care program integrated with cancer care in this community setting. This program supports studies of psilocybin-assisted therapies to address psychological and existential distress in patients with cancer and their families. He is an active member in the following professional societies: American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, Montgomery County Medical Society, Medical & Chirurgical Faculty of the State of Maryland, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Mizan Alkebulan-Abakah, MPH, has worked for over 20 years as a community organizer and youth development professional. Her commitment to social justice has fueled her work as a crisis intervention specialist, health educator, curriculum writer, multi-modal workshop facilitator, community researcher, staff wellness coach, and School-Based Health Center Supervisor. Mizan is a certified Radical Healing Trainer and has a Masters Degree in Public Health.

Sizwe Andrews-Abakah is an Educator, Radical Healer and Mentor and has worked throughout the Bay Area. He has supported African American Wellness through the National Campaign for Black Male Achievement, Oakland Freedom School, Flourish Agenda's Camp Akili, Oakland Unified School District's Manhood Development Program, and Determination Black Men's Group at United Roots to name a few. He approaches the work with passion and insight. Sizwe believes that contentedness is our currency and building authentic intimacy is key in our relationships. The practice of being vulnerable with each other can helps us get to a place of transformation and liberation.

Brian Anderson, MD, MSc, is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UCSF Weill Institute for the Neurosciences, and he is an attending in the Psychiatric Emergency Services at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. His research has included both ethnographic studies of religious practitioners who use psychedelics in community settings, and clinical trials of psychedelic therapies. In 2018, he conducted a pilot study of psilocybin-assisted group therapy for demoralization in older, long-term AIDS survivor men. And he is a co-founding member of the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics. Currently, his research focuses on the development of: 1) novel interventions to address psychological distress in patients with serious medical illness; and 2) training and safety standards for psychedelic guiding.

Christopher M. Bache, PhD   is professor emeritus in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Youngstown State University where he taught for 33 years. He is also adjunct faculty at the California Institute of Integral Studies, Emeritus Fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, and on the Advisory Council of Grof Legacy Training. An award-winning teacher and international speaker, Chris’ work explores the philosophical implications of non-ordinary states of consciousness, especially psychedelic states. He has written four books translated into eight languages: Lifecycles - a study of reincarnation in light of contemporary consciousness research; Dark Night, Early Dawn - a pioneering work in psychedelic philosophy and collective consciousness; The Living Classroom, an exploration of teaching and collective fields of consciousness; and LSD and the Mind of the Universe, the story of his 20 year journey with LSD.

Anthony Back, MD is a co-founder of VitalTalk, a national nonprofit that provides innovative, interactive clinician and faculty development courses to improve communication skills on an individual and institutional level. Dr. Back is a professor of medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Back earned his MD at Harvard University. He is a triple-board certified in hospice and palliative medicine, medical oncology, and general internal medicine. In his role as a medical communication educator and a VitalTalk co-founder, Dr. Back was the principal investigator for Oncotalk, co-wrote Mastering Communication with Seriously Ill Patients, released the first iPhone app for clinician communication skills, and authored the online communication skills curriculum offered by the Center to Advance Palliative Care.

Camille Barton is an artist, writer and cultural somatics educator, working on the intersections of wellness, drug policy and transformative justice. Camille works as an advisor for MAPS, ensuring that MDMA psychotherapy will be accessible to communities of color, most harmed by the war on drugs. They work closely with Release in the UK on drug policy reform, and in 2018 co-produced RE:GENERATE, an arts festival on drug policy, racial justice and liberation. Camille was the project manager of the Psychedelic Medicine and Cultural Trauma Workshop, hosted by MAPS as a precursor to the first MDMA Psychotherapy training for therapists of color in 2019. Camille has written for Vice, Talking Drugs, the MAPS Bulletin and Double Blind on drug policy & racial justice. They have presented on these issues at conferences including Psychedelic Science (2017), The International Drug Policy Reform Conference (2017 & 2019) and Harm Reduction International (2019).

Yvan Beaussant, MD, is a hematologist and palliative care physician certified in Besançon, France. His master thesis was in medical ethics and his medical thesis focused on subjective and inter-subjective determinants of end-of-life decision-making in advanced cancer patients. He is currently a research fellow in the Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care Department at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, conducting pilot research exploring the potential role and research priorities for psychedelic-assisted therapy in seriously ill patients, as well as new interventions to integrate existential/spiritual care in the palliative care delivery model. He completed the Certificate in Psychedelic Therapy and Research at California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in 2018.

Raquel Bennett,
PsyD is a psychologist and ketamine specialist from Berkeley, California. She primarily works with people who are living with severe depression, bipolar disorder, and/or suicidal ideation. Dr. Bennett is fascinated by the antidepressant and anti-obsessional properties of ketamine, and has been studying them since 2002. She also has a long-standing interest in the psychedelic and mystical properties of ketamine, and the potential for this medicine to be used for spiritual exploration in the context of psychotherapy. In addition, Dr. Bennett is the founder of KRIYA Institute and KRIYA Conference, which are both devoted to the use of ketamine in psychiatry and psychotherapy. She has given hundreds of lectures and trained thousands of clinicians worldwide on the use of ketamine in clinical settings. You can learn more about her work at:

Anthony Bossis

Anthony P. Bossis, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine conducting FDA-approved clinical research with the psychedelic compound psilocybin since 2009. He was director of palliative care research and co-principal investigator on the landmark 2016 clinical trial and publication demonstrating a significant reduction in psychosocial distress from a single psilocybin session in persons with cancer. He is study director and lead session guide on the FDA-approved clinical trial evaluating psilocybin-generated mystical experience upon religious leaders. Dr. Bossis is a training supervisor of psychotherapy at NYU-Bellevue Hospital Center and co-founder of the Bellevue Hospital Palliative Care Service. Dr. Bossis is a teacher with The Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research at California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA., and at the Art of Dying Institute in NYC.  He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology and a guest editor (with Charles Grob, M.D.) for the journal’s Special Series on Psychedelics. He has a long-standing interest in comparative religion and mystical experience and on the interface of psychology and spirituality.  He maintains a private psychotherapy and consulting practice in NYC.

Susana Bustos HeadshotSusana Bustos, PhD (CIIS, 2008), M.A in Clinical Psychology and in Music Therapy from Chilean universities, is adjunct faculty at the California Institute of Integral Studies and other schools in the Bay Area and abroad. Susana also conducts independent research on entheogenic shamanic traditions of the Americas and holds a private practice in Berkeley, CA. Her teaching, research, and clinical work focus mainly on the healing potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness, their integration into ordinary life, and on the quest for adequately bridging Amerindian cosmologies and practices into the West. Susana has written articles and book contributions on the interphase of shamanic song and healing and on entheogenic integration, and she lectures internationally on these topics. She directed the Spiritual Emergence Network in the US between 2016 and 2020.

Alex Cardenas, MD, MA, is practicing psychiatrist at several northern California community hospitals with a focus on severe mental illness and community health. He has a research background studying Schizophrenia as well as Social and Emotional Curriculum development and implementation. He studied Psychology at Yale, Medicine as well as Policy and Organizational Theory at Stanford, and was part of the first graduating class (2016) of the Psychedelic Assisted Therapy and Research Certificate at CIIS. Alex's practice draws from Contemporary Psychodynamic and Relational lineages in addition to biological paradigms. His interest in psychedelic assisted modalities focuses on preparation for expanded access through development of clinical skills and standards of care.

Devon Christie, MD, CCFP, RTC, is a family physician and certified Functional Medicine provider with a focused practice in chronic pain management and a clinical instructor with the UBC Department of Medicine. Devon is also a Registered Therapeutic Counselor and certified Relational Somatic Therapist, as well as a certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher and Kundalini Yoga teacher with over 20 years’ personal experience in cultivating mindfulness and yogic practices. Devon is also a trained MDMA therapist with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and has training and experience in Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy. Devon has also apprenticed with Dr. Gabor Maté over 3 intensive retreats, assisting in preparation and integration of participants’ plant medicine experiences. Devon currently serves as Medical Director with Numinus Wellness Inc. a Canadian publicly listed company. She is passionate about educating future psychedelic therapists in somatic trauma-informed skillsets and relational nuances within this context. Devon is devoted to helping people uncover the root causes that lead to illness, connect with the wisdom and innate healing intelligence of their body-mind, and become active participants in their own wellbeing.

Karen Cooper is an RN in many settings with over 30 years of experience in her field. She contributed to the psychedelic research and therapy field since 2014 serving as Trainer and Lead Guide for the Usona Institute and University of Wisconsin, Madison’s Psilocybin Pharmacokinetic Study, 3 years as Clinical Sub-Investigator Therapy Pair with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) MDMA for PTSD studies. As Instructional Supervisor for the program Karen is committed to advancing research, education, and training to help foster greater understanding and acceptance of psychedelics and generating ideas about ways for greater numbers of people to receive the benefits of their safe and ethical use for healing. Karen was delighted to mentor trainees over 5 years with the CPTR certificate program, and to serve on the Admissions and Screening Committee. Fun and personal interests include meditation (trained in MBSR), yoga (certified teacher), Transpersonal Psychology (MA Holistic Health Education), consciousness, outdoor activities in nature, healthy eating and lifestyle, and fiber arts.

Mary Cosimano, LMSW, has been working with the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research since 2000 when they began research with psilocybin. In her role as Director of Guide/Facilitator Services she is responsible for training and supervising Session Facilitators. She has served as Session Facilitator and research coordinator involved with all the psilocybin studies and has conducted over 450 study sessions. In addition to her work with the psilocybin studies, she has worked with the Club Drug Studies including Salvia Divinorum and Dextromethorphan. She taught individual and group meditation to breast cancer patients in a Johns Hopkins research study and teaches at the California Institute to Integral Studies (CIIS) in the Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research program. In 2003 she started and has maintained a meditation group for employees in her department. She also has 15 years of experience with direct patient care as a hospice volunteer. In addition to her interest in altered states of consciousness, Mary enjoys time with family, friends, nature, reading, walking, meditating, and playing games.

Nicholas V Cozzi HeadshotNicholas V. Cozzi, PhD is a scientist and educator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. He holds a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and a B.S. in Pharmacology and Toxicology, both from the UW-Madison School of Pharmacy. His background and training is in pharmacology, chemistry, toxicology, and neuroscience. Dr. Cozzi has more than 80 publications and is internationally recognized for his work in these areas. As an educator, Dr. Cozzi teaches pharmacology at the UW-Madison and he is a frequent guest lecturer at other academic institutions around the United States. Dr. Cozzi's research involves the design, chemical synthesis, and pharmacological testing of substances with central nervous system activity, especially those with psychedelic, antidepressant, or psychostimulant effects. He is interested in how these agents act in the brain to improve mood, enhance cognition, and increase awareness, and in their clinical value in treating addiction, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic fear, and other mental health ailments. Dr. Cozzi has received several teaching and research awards, including a Distinguished Basic Science Teaching Award from the UW-Madison and a prestigious NARSAD Award from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation for his work involving the serotonin uptake transporter. His research has also been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the UW-Madison, and the Usona Institute. Outside the University, Dr. Cozzi serves as a scientific consultant for legal, pharmaceutical industry, and government clients.

Dawn D. Davis, PhD, is a mother, a wife, co-editor of the Journal of Native Sciences, a founding member of Source Research Foundation, a Newe and a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. She holds a Natural Resources Ph.D. from the University of Idaho for her dissertation entitled, "The Peyote Path: A Newe Perspective on Conserving a Sacred Medicinal Plant in Peril". As a student, Dawn was a twice awarded National Science Foundation recipient as a fellow under the Integrated Graduate Education Research Traineeship and an Indigenous STEM scholar. Her previous research has focused on the cultural, environmental, and anthropogenic issues that surround the revered Peyote (Lophophora williamsii) cacti which is integral to her spiritual practice. Dawn shares her research among Indigenous, academic, ethnobotanical, and psychedelic audiences nationally and internationally.

Rick Doblin HeadshotRick Doblin, PhD, is founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He received his doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where he wrote his dissertation on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics and marijuana and his master's thesis on a survey of oncologists about smoked marijuana vs. the oral THC pill in nausea control for cancer patients. His undergraduate thesis at New College of Florida was a 25-year follow-up to the classic Good Friday Experiment, which evaluated the potential of psychedelic drugs to catalyze religious experiences. He also conducted a thirty-four year follow-up study to Timothy Leary's Concord Prison Experiment. Rick studied with Dr. Stanislav Grof and was among the first to be certified as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner. His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana, primarily as prescription medicines but also for personal growth for otherwise healthy people, and eventually to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist. He founded MAPS in 1986 and currently resides in Boston with his wife and empty rooms from three children who have all left the nest.

Amy Emerson HeadshotAmy Emerson, BS, earned her bachelor's degree in genetics and cell biology from Washington State University in 1992. Prior to her work at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MPBC) she worked in clinical development and research beginning in 1993. Amy's previous experience is in the fields of immunology (Applied Immune Sciences), oncology (RPR), and vaccine development (Chiron and Novartis). Amy worked with MAPS as a volunteer starting in 2003 facilitating the development of the MDMA clinical program. In 2009, she began managing the Clinical Research group at MAPS. She is currently the Executive Director and Director of Clinical Research of MPBC.

Major Neill Franklin, a 34-year law enforcement veteran, retired from the Maryland State Police in 1999 after rising through the ran from undercover narcotics agent to a commander within the Bureau of Drug and Criminal Enforcement. After retirement, Major Franklin was recruited by the Baltimore Police Commissioner to command BPD’s Training Division and was soon after promoted to Chief of Human Resources. After realizing the great violence and other societal harms perpetuated by the failed war on drugs, Major Franklin stepped away from his law enforcement career to serve as the executive director for the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP).

George Greer HeadshotGeorge Greer, MD, is President and a co- founder of the Heffter Research Institute. From 1980 to 1985, he conducted over 100 therapeutic sessions with MDMA for 80 individuals with his psychiatric nurse wife, Requa Tolbert. He is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and Past President of the Psychiatric Medical Association of New Mexico. He is also a co-investigator for the MAPS MDMA-PTSD therapist training studies.

Charles Grob Headshot

Charles Grob, MD, is Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine and the Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. His longstanding interest in the history of psychiatric research with hallucinogens has generated an impressive history of conference presentations and publications in leading medical and psychiatric journals. Dr. Grob received the first FDA approval to carry out human research with 3,4- methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) in the early 1990s. He has collaborated with Drs. Dennis McKenna and Jace Callaway on the Hoasca Project: research that explored the biochemical, physiological, and psychological impacts of long-term ayahuasca use in Brazil. From 2004 to 2008, Dr. Grob conducted an FDA-approved study examining the effects of psilocybin in advanced-stage cancer patients with severe anxiety. Results from this trial were published in the Archives of General Psychiatry in 2011. Dr. Grob, along with his colleague Dr. Alicia Danforth, recently concluded a pilot study of an MDMA treatment model for autistic adults with social anxiety. He is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute. Dr. Grob is the editor of Hallucinogens: A Reader, and the co-editor with Dr. Roger Walsh of Higher Wisdom: Eminent Elders Explore the Continuing Impact of Psychedelics and is working as Editor on a new book on contemporary views of psychedelic research. 

Stanislav Grof HeadshotStanislav Grof, MD, is a psychiatrist with more than 50 years of experience in researching non-ordinary states of consciousness induced by psychedelic substances and various non-pharmacological methods. He is professor emeritus at CIIS, conducts professional training programs in Holotropic Breathwork and transpersonal psychology, and gives lectures and seminars worldwide. He is one of the founders and chief theoreticians of transpersonal psychology and the founding president of the International Transpersonal Association. Dr. Grof has received the prestigious Vision 97 award from the Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation in Prague and the Thomas R. Verny Award for his pivotal contributions to pre- and perinatal psychology. He has published more than 150 papers in professional journals and the books Realms of the Human Unconscious, Beyond the Brain, LSD Psychotherapy, The Cosmic Game, Psychology of the Future, When the Impossible Happens, The Ultimate Journey, Healing Our Deepest Wounds, Spiritual Emergency, The Stormy Search for the Self, and Holotropic Breathwork (the last three with Christina Grof).

Jeffrey Guss, MD, is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and researcher with specializations in psychoanalytic therapy and the treatment of substance use disorders. He was Co-Principal Investigator and Director of Therapist Training for the NYU School of Medicine’s study on psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in the treatment of cancer-related existential distress. He is currently a study therapist in a trial of psilocybin-assisted therapy for alcoholism and the MAPS MDMA for PTSD study and co-wrote the therapy manual for Yale’s depression and psilocybin study. Dr. Guss is interested in the integration of psychedelic therapies with contemporary psychoanalytic theory and has published in Studies in Gender and Sexuality and Psychoanalysis, Culture, and Society. He is an instructor and mentor for the Center for Psychedelic Therapies & Research certificate program and maintains a full-time private practice.

Stephen J. Haggarty, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, an Associate Neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Director of the MGH Chemical Neurobiology Laboratory within the Center for Genomic Medicine and Scientific Director of Neurobiology for the MGH Center for Neuroscience of Psychedelics. Dr. Haggarty is also a Senior Associate Member of the Broad Institute, an Affiliate Faculty Member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and he was named the Stuart & Suzanne Steele MGH Research Scholar in 2017. With a background in the discovery and characterization of natural products and natural product-inspired molecules, Dr. Haggarty’s research program operates at the interface of psychiatry and neurology with a focus on dissecting the role of neuroplasticity and resiliency in health and disease. A major emphasis of his research group is the use of reprogramming technology to create patient-specific, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) as ex vivo models that provide powerful new avenues for studies of neuroplasticity, to investigate the mechanism of action of existing psychedelics, and in the future to potentially discover next-generation agents with improved efficacy to advance the field of precision medicine.

Diane Haug, MA, LPCC, is a licensed therapist living in northern New Mexico. Having completed Grof's first three-year training program, she has been involved in the field of transpersonal psychology since 1989. In that capacity she has staffed and taught Grof training modules internationally in countries including China, Russia, Ukraine, Scandinavia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. Diane is currently a founding director of the Grof Legacy Project USA and a teacher with the CIIS Center for Psychedelic Therapy and Research certificate program. In 2021 Diane served as the Director of the CPTR Mentoring Program.

Patricia James, BA, is a Medicine Woman and cross-cultural expert. She is of Seminole heritage, and a traditionally trained Cheyenne Pipe Carrier and Priest. Her focus is on bridging ancient wisdom with our contemporary times, bringing practical application to the mystical, and to weaving a new “Braided Way” to live life well. Initiated in multiple indigenous spiritual traditions, Patricia has studied wisdom practices and is trained in modern healing modalities including breathwork and hypnotherapy. She compliments this knowledge with over two decades in public administration. Patricia maintains a private practice in the Bay Area that focuses on psycho-spiritual mentoring, integration, teaching, and workshops. She provides teachings and ritual-based ceremonies throughout the country. Patricia maintains a private practice in the Bay Area that focuses on psychospiritual mentoring, integration, and ceremony. Her work is informed by her teachers, including Angeles Arrien, as well as decades of public administration experience. Patricia aims to bridge ancient wisdom with our contemporary times, bring practical application to the mystical, and to weave a new Braided Way.

Robert Jesse HeadshotRobert Jesse is convenor of the Council on Spiritual Practices (CSP). Through CSP, he was instrumental in forming the psilocybin research team at Johns Hopkins University. He is a co-author of its first paper, "Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance" (2006) and he is one of the team's co-investigators. Bob now serves on the board of Usona Institute and is an advisor to CIIS. In 2005, he led the writing of an amicus brief for the U.S. Supreme Court in a key religious liberty case that was decided 8-0, favoring the U.S. branch of the Brazilian church, the União do Vegetal. Prior to CSP, Bob worked as a consultant in information technology for AT&T Bell Labs and others, then in several capacities for Oracle Corporation, lastly as a vice president of business development. His university training is in computer science and electrical engineering.

Emma Knighton, MA, is a somatic trauma therapist, psychedelic integration therapist, and embodied organizer. In her clinical work, she specializes in working with folks with complex PTSD from childhood abandonment, neglect, and sexual abuse. Emma’s approach is grounded in queer, consent, and feminist theories and she works from an anti-oppression lens. Through her work, Emma strives to serve the psychedelic medicine and the sacred ancestral wisdom passed down through generations of healers.

Anja Loizaga-Velder, PhD, is a German-Mexican clinical psychologist and psychotherapist with humanistic orientation. Parallel to her psychotherapeutic practice Anja has been learning from and collaborating with indigenous healers specialized in the therapeutic use of sacred plants. She also has dedicated part of her professional life to the scientific research of therapeutic potentials of psychedelic plant medicines. She earned a doctoral degree in Medical Psychology from Heidelberg University through research dedicated to identifying therapeutic mechanisms of ayahuasca assisted treatment for mental health challenges and is coordinating the mental health section of a Mexican transdisciplinary research group on the therapeutic potentials of psilocybin mushrooms. She is founding member and director of research and clinical services at the Nierika Institute for Intercultural Medicine in Mexico, an NGO dedicated to the preservation of indigenous traditions with sacred plant medicines and research around their therapeutic applications in the treatment of mental health challenges.

Maria ManginiMariavittoria Mangini, PhD, FNP,  has been a family nurse midwife since 1985. She has written extensively on the impact of psychedelic experiences in shaping the lives of her contemporaries, and has worked closely with many of the most distinguished investigators in this field. She completed her doctorate in Community Health Nursing at UCSF, where her research centered on drug use and drug policy. She is an Emerita professor of nursing at Holy Names University in Oakland, where she was the director of the MSN/FNP program for 20 years. Her current project is the development of a Thanatology program for the study of death and dying.

Gabor Mat HeadshotGabor Maté, MD, recently retired from active medical practice. He was a family physician for two decades and for seven years he served as medical coordinator of the palliative care unit at Vancouver Hospital. For twelve years, he worked in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside with patients challenged by hardcore addiction, mental illness, HIV, and related conditions. For two years, he was the onsite physician at Vancouver's unique Supervised Injection Site, North America's only such facility. He is internationally known for his work on mind/body unity in health and illness, on attention deficit disorder and other childhood developmental issues, and his breakthrough analysis of addiction as a psychophysiological response to childhood trauma and emotional loss. He is the author of four bestselling books published in twenty languages on five continents, including When The Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection and the award winning In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction. Gabor is the recipient of an Outstanding Alumnus Award from Simon Fraser University and an Honorary Degree of Law from the University of Northern British Columbia, among other awards. He frequently addresses professional and lay audiences in North America on childhood development and parenting, physical and mental health and wellness, and addiction. He is an adjunct professor in the criminology department at Simon Fraser University. His next book, Toxic Culture: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a World of Materialism, will be published in 2016.

Jen Matthews, MD, is an Integrative Pediatrician and serves as the Medical Director for the Pediatric Integrative Medicine Program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. Dr. Matthews completed the Integrative Medicine Scholars Program at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine and the Helms Course in Medical Acupuncture. In her research, Dr. Matthews studies Integrative Health Equity and how best to implement pediatric acupuncture and integrative medicine in caring for children who are underserved by traditional and complementary medical systems. She teaches Integrative Pediatric Pain Management as well as a curriculum that allows health care providers to examine their role as healers in the current medical landscape. Dr. Matthews is one of the original members of the Structural Competency Working Group and has been facilitating Structural Competency training for the past 6 years.

Rebecca Matthews earned her B.A. at UC Berkeley in 2000. Prior to her work at Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MPBC) she worked in clinical research and development at Chiron/Novartis starting in 2001, working on sepsis and monitoring and managing vaccine trials. In 2009, she joined MAPS as a part-time contractor and has since been working with them on MDMA/PTSD studies. In 2015, Rebecca joined MPBC full-time to work on Marijuana/PTSD studies as well as continuing to support MDMA studies as the Associate Director of Clinical Operations.

Keith McCoy , MD, is a psychiatrist living in Durham, NC and is a graduate of the CPTR 2019 cohort. He works for the State of North Carolina focusing on public sector health policy for individuals with behavioral health conditions and developmental disabilities. He has also worked as a consultation liaison and outpatient psychiatrist - focusing on care for adults with medical illnesses such as cancer diagnoses. Keith's approach to healing is empathy- and empowerment-based; he is generally skeptical about western gurusim, panaceas, and psychospiritual justifications of unethical care; and, he advocates for strong systems of accountability for all of us who seek financial gain in return for practicing the craft of healing

Mary McDermott, MS, MFT, LPCC, RYT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist and professional clinical counselor, a Yin Yoga teacher, and certified as a psychedelic-assisted therapist through CIIS. She is a 2016 graduate of the CPTR program and is a mentor. Mary studies meditation, spiritual practice, and psycho-spiritual integration with her teacher Jennifer Welwood. Mary gained her knowledge, training, and expertise in the Shipibo tradition, from her teachers from the Temple of The Way of Light, in Iquitos, Peru. Mary met Julie Megler, the co-author of their upcoming book, Invitation to Integration, while consulting at the Temple in Peru.

Dennis McKenna HeadshotDennis McKenna, PhD, is interested professionally and personally in the interdisciplinary study of ethnopharmacology and plant hallucinogens. He received his doctorate in 1984 from the University of British Columbia, where his doctoral research focused on ethnopharmacological investigations of the botany, chemistry, and pharmacology of ayahuasca and oo-koo-hé, two orally-active tryptamine-based hallucinogens used by indigenous peoples in the Northwest Amazon. Dr. McKenna received post-doctoral research fellowships in the Laboratory of Clinical Pharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health, and in the Department of Neurology, Stanford University School of Medicine. He joined Shaman Pharmaceuticals as Director of Ethnopharmacology in 1990, and relocated to Minnesota in 1993 to join the Aveda Corporation as Senior Research Pharmacognosist. He joined the faculty of the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota in 2001. He is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute and serves on the advisory board of non-profit organizations in the fields of ethnobotany and botanical medicines. He was a key organizer and participant in the Hoasca Project, an international biomedical study of ayahuasca used by indigenous people and syncretic religious groups in Brasil.  He recently completed a project funded by the Stanley Medical Research Institute, to investigate Amazonian ethnomedicines for the treatment of schizophrenia and cognitive deficits.  At the Heffter Research Institute, he continues his focus on the therapeutic uses of psychoactive medicines derived from nature and used in indigenous ethnomedical practices. 

Julie D. Megler, MSN, NP-BC is a licensed family medicine and psychiatric nurse practitioner. Julie is co-founder of Sage Integrative Health, a multidisciplinary health and wellness clinic in Berkeley, California. Sage Integrative Health will be an Expanded Access site as part of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) MDMA for treatment resistant PTSD program. Julie has been trained by MAPS and will be a therapist as part of Expanded Access. Julie was also trained by the KRIYA Institute, and her clinical practice includes psychiatric medication management and ketamine assisted therapy. Her dedication to entheogens has been inspired by her clinical training and own first-hand experience of healing while studying with traditional entheogenic communities in Mexico and Peru. Julie has discovered that plant medicine is best practiced when appropriately supported, and it has become part of her path to give back to the community by sharing and expanding on the guidance she has been lucky enough to receive along the way.

Natalie Metz HeadshotNatalie Metz, is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor, Herbalist, and Core Faculty Member of the Integrative Health Studies department at CIIS, where she completed a Master's degree in Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness, and is among the first graduating class of the Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research. She received her Bachelor’s degree in chemistry and has a background as a medicinal chemist, designing novel pharmaceutical agents. Dr. Natalie has a private practice in Oakland with a focus on Women’s Health, Botanical Medicine, and Digestive Wellness. She is featured in the documentary The Future of Medicine and is a contributing author for the Foundations of Naturopathic Medicine textbook. Dr. Natalie teaches about the holistic aspects of supporting psychedelic-assisted therapy in the CPTR program and has a passion for educating people about the healing potential of psychedelic medicines. She is a lover of dance, travel, and all things purple. Please visit

Annie Mithoefer HeadshotAnnie Mithoefer, BSN,  is a registered nurse living in Asheville, NC. She has many years of experience treating people with PTSD in a private practice with her husband Michael and leading Holotropic Breathwork group workshops. She has worked as co-therapist in MAPS Clinical Trials. She and her husband, Michael Mithoefer, completed the first MAPS-sponsored Phase II clinical trial testing MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for crime-related PTSD, a subsequent study with military veterans, firefighters and police officers, and a pilot study treating couples with MDMA combined with Cognitive Behavioral Conjoint Therapy for PTSD. She is now focusing on offering MDMA therapist trainings, and on supervising therapists in ongoing Phase 3 Clinical trials. She is a Grof certified Holotropic Breathwork Practitioner and is trained in Hakomi Therapy.

Michael Mithoefer, MD, is a psychiatrist living in Asheville, NC, who, for 25 years, has specialized in experiential therapies for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and is now Senior Medical Director for Medical Affairs, Training and Supervision at MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, where he is a member of the Executive Team. He and his wife, Annie, completed the first MAPS-sponsored Phase II clinical trial testing MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for crime-related PTSD, a subsequent study with military veterans, firefighters and police officers, and a pilot study treating couples with MDMA combined with Cognitive Behavioral Conjoint Therapy for PTSD. He has been Medical Monitor for a series of six Phase 2 trials in the US, Canada, Switzerland and Israel, which produced data that led to breakthrough therapy designation by the FDA. Since 2012, he and Annie have conducted training for research therapists and are now supervising therapists in ongoing. MAPS Phase 3 clinical trials. He received his MD degree from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and completed residency trainings in Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia and Psychiatry at MUSC. He is a certified Grof Holotropic Breathwork facilitator and is trained in Internal Family Systems Therapy and EMDR. He has been board certified in Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine. He is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and Affiliate Assistant Professor at MUSC.

Daniel Muller, MD, PhD, currently resides in Fort Collins, Colorado, working as a clinical rheumatologist at University of Colorado Health. He was a lead guide, supervising physician, and consultant for the UW-Madison study of the pharmacokinetics of psilocybin from 2013-2016. Dan retired in 2016 from his appointment as a tenured Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, where he was on faculty for 25 years, and served as Director of the Complementary and Alternative Medicine course as well for over 10 years as faculty in the Healer’s Art Program. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Rheumatology, and Holistic Medicine. He previously did research on the effects of meditation on the immune response and served as a study proposal reviewer for the National Center for Integrative and Complementary Health (NIH). Dan has published over 40 articles in basic science immunology, is the author of several chapters on the role of integrative medicine in treating rheumatologic diseases and fibromyalgia, and was co-editor for the published book Integrative Rheumatology. See his well-cited publications here: He has a personal practice of meditation since the 1970’s and earned his first-degree black belt in Shorin-Ryu karate in 1980. His self-care practices include meditation, road and mountain bicycling, spending time with his beautiful wife and co-teacher Karen Cooper.

David E. Nichols, PhD is currently an Adjunct Professor of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Previously he held the Robert C. and Charlotte P. Anderson Distinguished Chair in Pharmacology and in addition was a Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at the Purdue University College of Pharmacy, where he taught both professional undergraduate as well as graduate classes. He also was an Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Indiana University School of Medicine and taught in the medical curriculum. He received his B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Cincinnati in 1969, and the PhD in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Iowa in 1973, following which he did postdoctoral work in pharmacology at the University of Iowa, College of Medicine. He joined Purdue University in 1974 where he remained until his retirement from Purdue in June 2012. He has published more than 300 scientific articles, book chapters, and monographs. In 1993 he founded the Heffter Research Institute, which has supported and funded clinical research with psilocybin and led the so-called “renaissance in psychedelic research.”

Kile Ortigo, PhD, is a clinical psychologist (Emory University, 2012) and California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) certified psychedelic psychotherapist at the Center for Existential Exploration in Palo Alto, where he offers depth-oriented psychotherapy and integration services. Dr. Ortigo has served on advisory boards of Psychedelic Support and Project New Day and has authored several articles and chapters on personality, trauma, diversity, and technology. More recently, he has published two books: (1) Treating Survivors of Childhood Abuse and Interpersonal Trauma: STAIR Narrative Therapy (2nd Edition; as a coauthor), and (2) Beyond the Narrow Life: A Guide for Psychedelic Integration and Existential Exploration, with a foreword by psychedelic luminary and Johns Hopkins psychologist, Dr. Bill Richards. Beyond the Narrow Life offers a guided journey to explore intersecting themes involving mythology, existential concerns, and psychospiritual development. The book’s activities and meditations support independent exploration as well as psychedelic psychotherapy. Dr. Ortigo continues to support public education and professional training by being a regular staff, moderator, consultant, and trainer for the CIIS Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies & Research (CPTR) certificate training program.

Marcela Ot’alora G., MA, LPC, was born and raised in Colombia where her mother, aunt, and grandmother were instrumental in cultivating compassion and kindness as the highest values for engaging with others and the world. Their teaching led her to view success from this lens. Currently she lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband, dogs, and daughters nearby. She has an MA in Transpersonal Psychology from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and an MFA in Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. For over 20 years Marcela has been in private practice working primarily with PTSD. In addition to private practice, she has dedicated her professional life to training and research. Beginning in 1999, she has worked on various studies sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) as a Principal Investigator and therapist using MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of PTSD. Additionally, she is a lead trainer and supervisor for MAPS’ training program.

Andrew Penn, NP, is a board-certified adult nurse practitioner and psychiatric clinical nurse specialist who trained at the University of California, San Francisco. He is also a CIIS-CPTR graduate. He recently published a book chapter on a patient he treated who was a subject in the phase 2 MDMA/PTSD study. He is a study therapist on the MAPS-sponsored Phase 3 study of MDMA assisted psychotherapy for PTSD and has published on the risks and benefits of cannabinoids in psychiatric treatment. Currently, he serves as an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California-San Francisco School of Nursing where he teaches psychopharmacology and is an Attending Nurse Practitioner at the San Francisco Veterans Administration with the joint UCSF/SFVA NP residency program. He has expertise in psychopharmacological treatment for adult patients and specializes in the treatment of affective disorders and PTSD. Andrew and several colleagues from the 2017 cohort recently founded the Organization of Psychedelic and Entheogenic Nurses ( He is interested in understanding the psychedelic therapy process through a nursing-informed model of care.

Bruce D Poulter, RN, MPH, has been interested and worked much of his career with people in altered states. He initially worked in tertiary care and public health settings for 15 years, then worked the next 25 years with people in chronic pain. He was introduced to the healing potential of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as an intimate observer of the first government approved MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) study in Spain in 1999. Bruce has provided harm reduction services thru Zendo and other organizations and beginning in 2012, worked as a therapist on many MAPS studies (have conducted over 200+ research sessions) specifically: MAPS MDMA for PTSD Boulder Study; MAPS Healthy Volunteers Study; and now with the MAPS Phase 3 Clinical trials. In addition, he is a lead clinical supervision with our Phase 3 therapists as well as a lead trainer for therapists moved by this powerful healing work.

David Presti HeadshotDavid Presti,  PhD, is a professor of neurobiology at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught for 30 years. He also worked for more than a decade in the clinical treatment of addiction and post-traumatic stress at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in San Francisco, and since 2004 has been teaching and dialoguing about neuroscience with Tibetan Buddhist monastics in India, Bhutan, and Nepal. He has been involved in shifting policy related to research and psychotherapy with psychedelics for 30 years. He has doctorates in biology from Caltech and in clinical psychology from the University of Oregon.

Charles Raison, MD, is the Mary Sue and Mike Shannon Chair for Healthy Minds, Children & Families and Professor, School of Human Ecology, and Professor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, WI. Dr. Raison also serves as Director of Clinical and Translational Research for Usona Institute and as Director of Research on Spiritual Health for Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, GA. In addition, Dr. Raison has served as mental health expert for for many years. Dr. Raison is internationally recognized for his studies examining novel mechanisms involved in the development and treatment of major depression and other stress-related emotional and physical conditions, as well as for his work examining the physical and behavioral effects of compassion training. More recently, Dr. Raison has taken a leadership role in the development of psychedelic medicines as potential treatments for major depression. The recipient of several teaching awards, Dr. Raison has received research funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Raison received the Raymond Pearl Memorial Award from the Human Biology Association “in recognition of his contributions to our understanding of evolutionary biocultural origins of mental health and illness.” With Vladimir Maletic he is author of “The New Mind-Body Science of Depression” published by W.W. Norton in 2017. Dr. Raison serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Bhavya Rajanna, MD, is an Internal Medicine physician, practicing as a teaching hospitalist at Baystate Health in Massachusetts. She is a 2020 CPTR graduate, part of the first cohort to receive instruction online. She is the founder of Sapience, a psychedelic assisted psychotherapy organization. She successfully created and organized "Diamond Mind Trust", a beloved intentional community formed by several members of the cohort. She is working on several projects in the community with focus on normalizing the conversation with psychedelics.

William Richards HeadshotWilliam Richards,  MDiv, PhD, is a psychologist in the Psychiatry Department of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a clinician in private practice. Dr. Richards is currently pursuing research with entheogens. From 1967 to 1977, he pursued psychotherapy research with LSD, DPT, MDA, and psilocybin at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, including protocols designed to investigate the promise of entheogens in the treatment of alcoholism, severe neuroses, narcotic addiction, and the psychological distress associated with terminal cancer, as well as their use in the training of religious and mental health professionals.

Brian D. Richards, Psy.D., completed a Master’s degree in Existential-Phenomenological Psychology at Duquesne University, a Psy.D. at the University of Denver School for Professional Psychology, and a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit, where he contributed to some of the original research administering psilocybin with cancer patients and healthy normal adults. Dr. Richards was formerly a Clinical Director with MedOptions, the largest behavioral health provider in the United States. He now cares for patients with a cancer diagnosis at Maryland Oncology Hematology, The Aquilino Cancer Center. Dr. Richards both teaches and mentors students at the California Institute for Integral Studies in the Psychedelic Research Center's certificate program. He is a Subject Matter Expert on Psilocybin with the Board of Psychedelic Medicine and Therapies, and is working with BrainFutures on Coding and Reimbursement for Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy. Dr. Richards was a Lead Psychologist on an innovative, simultaneous group administration high-dose psilocybin trial with cancer patients at the Bill Richards Center for Healing in Rockville, Maryland. This cutting-edge, purpose-built psychedelic medicine clinic—located in a busy outpatient oncology center, is the first of its kind in the world, and may serve as a prototype for future Sunstone Therapies clinics nationwide. Dr. Richards’ clinical and research interests include meaning-centered psychotherapy, mystical experience, brain science-based approaches to vibrant health and wellness, and working with treatment refractory patients. 

Mary K. Sanders, MS, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with whose focus is on addressing trauma in communities of color and marginalized populations. She has worked with Black, Indigenous, (BIPOC), Veterans, immigrants and refugees from Iraq and Syria, foster youth and LGBTQIA+ community members. Mary currently provides community mental health services for formerly unhoused Veterans for Veteran Affairs in San Francisco, CA. In addition to her role working with Veterans, she has a private practice called EMPATH Center in Oakland, CA serving Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC). Her vision is to implement psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and incorporate community integration. Mary is certified in Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and currently enrolled at the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute. She graduated from the 2019 CIIS Certificate cohort and since has focused her efforts around building BIPOC psychedelic community locally and nationally. She will be a founding member of the national organization, People of Color Psychedelic Collective, whose goal is to increase content, awareness, and access to psychedelic medicine practice that represent BIPOC voices. Mary would like to acknowledge Black Bird Tribe medicine teachers and community members who have had a profound impact on her ancestral healing and continue to guide her in this work.

Karina Sergi, MFT, is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has worked extensively with individuals, couples and families in university, non-profit, research and private practice settings. Karina is a 2019 graduate of the CPTR program and currently works as a Ketamine-Assisted psychotherapist. Karina has a background in clinical research investigating social cognition in vulnerable populations and currently serves as a study therapist for clinical trials involving psilocybin to aid in the treatment of alcohol use disorder. Karina has spent time studying Afro-Syncretic and Latin American indigenous healing practices involving Ayahuasca as spiritual sacrament and maintains a small private practice in Los Angeles focused on psychedelic integration and treating codependency, intergenerational and religious trauma in BIPOC individuals.

Ben Sessa, MD, is a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist who has worked with young people and adults in the field of addictions and trauma-related psychiatry for over 20 years. For the last 15 years Ben has been at the forefront of psychedelic research in the UK through his affiliations with Bristol University and Imperial College London, under the auspices of Professor David Nutt. He has taken part as a study doctor and as a healthy subject both receiving and / or administering MDMA, psilocybin, LSD, DMT and ketamine in multiple UK research studies. He runs one of the first UK-based medical cannabis prescribing clinics. Ben is the Chief Medical Officer at AWAKN Life Sciences, a new start-up company opening Europe's first psychedelic medical clinic, which will be providing psychedelic therapies, therapist training courses, and conducting independent research. Ben is the co-founder and former president of Europe's largest psychedelic conference, Breaking Convention.

Dick Simon is an entrepreneur, social enterprise philanthropist, and catalyst for change. After 9/11, he cofounded the Peace Action Network (PAN) of YPO, a network of over 29,000 CEOs in more than 135 countries, to convene top business leaders to address conflict resolution on local and global levels. Simon also created the kNOw THEM Initiative to raise awareness about THEM, the most dangerous four-letter word in the English language. He is Chair of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Psychedelic Research Center, founded and chairs the YPO Psychedelic Medicines for Mental Health Group and works with organizations pursuing FDA and EMA clinical trials of psychedelic medicines to treat mental health. In addition, he is creating communities of young researchers and therapists working with these medicines, and projects to shift public perspective and reduce stigmatization related to this work.

Jan Edl Stein, MFT is a licensed psychotherapist. Jan is also the director of Holos Institute, ( an educational and counseling center grounded in principles of ecopsychology where she has developed a certificate program in ecopsychology and curates an annual ecopsychology conference. Jan leads workshops and retreats that interweave meditation, active imagining, and earth-based contemplations. She has taught/presented at Sonoma State University, The Bioneers Conference, Esalen Institute, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, and numerous private venues. For over 33 years she has maintained a private practice which includes consultation, individual and couples psychotherapy. Her depth psychology approach utilizes active imagination, liminal state explorations, ecotherapy, EMDR, Brainspotting, and somatic focusing as appropriate. All of her work draws upon a lifelong study of spiritual traditions and healing practices of earth-based cultures and a deep love of the natural world. More information at

Robert C. Strayhan, MD, graduated from Meharry Medical College in 1983. He completed residency training at Wilford Hall Medical Center USAF in 1987. Robert is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Robert is a graduate of the 2020 CIIS center for Psychedelic Assisted Therapies and Research certificate program. He has had career long interests in cross-cultural psychiatry, end of life care and transpersonal psychiatry.

Shirley Strong, MEd, MA, is a social justice educator and advocate committed to increasing equity and inclusion in higher education and healthcare for underserved and vulnerable populations. She has worked in higher education, philanthropy and social justice for over thirty-five years, including eight years as Dean of Students and Director of Diversity at CIIS and five years as Chief Diversity Officer at Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, California. Currently, Shirley serves as senior advisor to the Structural Competency Working Group (SCWG), a cross section of health professionals who train health organizations to recognize and address structural racism in health care and to develop policies and procedures to improve health equity. Over time she reimagined her work to integrate spirituality with activism and became reacquainted with Beloved Community as her focus. She recently completed a second Master of Arts in Social Change (MASC). From here on out, Shirley intends to keep Beloved Community at the heart of everything she says and does for the rest of her life. She considers herself fortunate that her work matches her personal vision, and both continue to develop in response to her commitment to a Beloved Community as envisioned by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other prophetic leaders. Her working definition of a Beloved Community is “an inclusive, interrelated consciousness based on love, justice, responsibility, shared power and respect for the dignity of all persons, places and things that radically transform individuals and restructures institutions.”

Malynn Utzinger, MD, Co-Founder and Director of Integrative Medicine at Usona Institute, is a family medicine physician and with post-doctoral fellowships in integrative medicine, preventive oncology research, and ayurvedic medicine. Prior to co-founding Usona with Bill Linton in 2013, Dr. Utzinger was the Director of Women’s Health at the Chopra Center in California and an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has been an integrative medicine consultant for Eileen Fisher and Group Health Cooperative and a physician in private practice in Madison, WI, Connecticut and NYC. She gained her early experience in integrative medicine as a student of Andrew Weil, MD and as a research associate for Dean Ornish, MD at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in San Francisco and at the global healthcare non-profit, Planetree. As an early advocate for holistic medicine within the medical establishment, Dr. Utzinger founded the first course in Complementary and Alternative Medicine for medical students and faculty at the University of Wisconsin in1997 and was a founding member of the cohort of physicians who introduced to the UW Medical School RachelRemen’s groundbreaking course, The Healer’s Art, a forum for students and faculty to explore the psycho-spiritual elements of being a physician. Guided by teachers including Jon Kabat-Zinn, James Gordon, Marty Rossman, Angeles Arrien, Jack Kornfield, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Ken Wilber, Genpo Roshi, Diane Hamilton and others from the fields of mind-body medicine and reflective practice, Malynn uses an Integral lens to approach both healing and research and the social, political, and cultural contexts in which they arise. Compassion and relationship-building are the common threads of her work.Along with her role at Usona, Dr. Utzinger is the Director of Integrative Practices for the international life sciences company Promega. She completed her medical training, residency and fellowship (family medicine, integrative medicine and preventive oncology respectively) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she has been an assistant professor of Family Medicine and is a fellow in the School of Human Ecology. Malynn and her husband have one son and a tremendous extended family. Walking, wandering, running, gardening, dancing, nordic skiing and being with special people are her great medicines.

Courtney Watson, MS, MEd, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Sex therapist. She is the owner of Doorway Therapeutic Services, a group therapy practice in Oakland, CA focused on addressing the mental health needs of Black Indigenous People of Color, Queer folks, Trans, Gender Non-conforming, Non binary and Two Spirit individuals. Courtney has followed the direction of her ancestors to incorporate psychedelic assisted therapy into her offerings for folks with multiple marginalized identities and acknowledges the importance of Black and Queer providers offering these services. Courtney spent most of 2019 training with the California Institute of Integral Studies' Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research to provide psychedelic-assisted therapy. She is deeply interested in the impact of psychedelic medicines on folks with marginalized identities as well as how they can assist with the decolonization process for BIPOC. She believes this field is not yet ready to address the unique needs of Communities of Color and is prepared and enthusiastic about bridging the gap. She is currently preparing to be one of the few QTPOC providers offering Ketamine Assisted Therapy in 2021 in the Bay Area by completing additional Ketamine training at the end of 2020. She is also hoping to offer other medicines as they become FDA approved.

Chanda Williams, MA, C-IAYT, RYT E-500, has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and master's degrees in integrative health and depth somatic psychology. Since 2015, she has facilitated yoga classes inside San Quentin State Prison. Chanda is a UCSF predoctoral fellow and doctoral candidate in somatic depth psychology researching the long-term impact of trauma-informed, mindfulness-based yoga therapy for incarcerated populations. Chanda is collaborating with UCSF faculty to examine the current uptake and acceptability of integrative oncology practices among Black individuals with cancer. She is also a research specialist for a clinical research study sponsored by UCSF and the VA, evaluating the effects of mindfulness-based movement for veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). A yoga practitioner since 1996 and a certified teacher since 2005, she is dedicated to the application of Mind-Body approaches to improve the well-being of marginalized, underserved, and under-resourced populations.

Monnica WilliamsMonnica Williams, PhD, is a board-certified, licensed clinical psychologist, specializing in cognitive-behavioral therapies. She is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa, Canada Research Chair in Mental Health Disparities, and Director of the Laboratory for Culture and Mental Health Disparities. She is also the Clinical Director of the Behavioral Wellness Clinic, LLC in Tolland, Connecticut, and she has founded clinics in Kentucky, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Dr. Williams has published over 100 scientific articles on mental health and culture. Her current work includes unacceptable thoughts in OCD, the impact of OCD on intimate relationships, improving cultural competence in the delivery of mental health care services, assessment of race-based trauma, and interventions to reduce racial bias. She previously served as principal investigator on a Phase 3 multisite trial for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, at the University of Connecticut Health Center. She also gives trainings nationally for clinical psychology programs, scientific conferences, and community organizations.

Berra Yazar-Klosinski HeadshotBerra Yazar-Klosinski, PhD, earned her doctorate in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She utilizes her scientific training and experience in for-profit pharmaceutical research to support the work of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) to develop, design, and implement clinical psychedelic research in the U.S and beyond. She earned her BS in Biological Science from Stanford University, with an emphasis on the neurobiology of drugs. Prior to entering graduate school, Ms. Yazar-Klosinski worked as a research associate with Geron Corporation screening for drugs that activate telomerase, and with Millennium Pharmaceuticals on Phase 1 clinical trials in patients with acute myeloid leukemia. She joined MAPS in 2009 to work with an organization where profit would not dictate the agenda of scientific research. Since then, she has been actively involved in the ongoing Phase 2 clinical development of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy with an eye towards Phase 3 clinical trials.

Rachel Yehuda, PhD, is a Professor and Vice Chair of Psychiatry, and Professor of Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She is also the Mental Health Patient Care Center Director at the Bronx Veterans Affairs, which includes the PTSD clinical research program and the Neurochemistry and Neuroendocrinology laboratory at Mount Sinai and the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Yehuda is a recognized leader in the field of traumatic stress studies. She has authored more than 450 published papers, chapters, and books in the field of traumatic stress and the neurobiology of PTSD. Her current interests include PTSD treatment innovation, PTSD prevention, the study of risk and resilience factors, psychological and biological predictors of treatment response in PTSD, genetic and epigenetic studies of PTSD and the intergenerational transmission of trauma and PTSD. She has an active federally-funded clinical and research program that welcomes local and international students and clinicians.

Contact Us

CIIS Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 575-6243

We are an academic program, and we are not able to provide therapist referrals at this time.

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