Women in the psychedelic medicines industry and all around the world: Happy Women’s Day!

The exciting arena of psychedelic medicine has an enormous amount of promise and hope to offer humanity, especially in the treatment of mental illness. However, the discourse around this important and rapidly emerging field has often neglected to include the contributions of the bold and courageous women that make up this space. From determined scholars, artists, and therapists, to the boldest of researchers, clinicians, and entrepreneurs, women are helping this nascent sector evolve on a daily basis.

As a consequence of this historic gender imbalance, there are a number of women whose significant role in the exploration and employment of psychedelics for spiritual development, personal discovery, and therapeutic impact have not been well recorded. Women play a vital role in the Psychedelic Renaissance and have a rich, unique, and fascinating collective voice to share. This post hopes to celebrate some of the women in psychedelic science we have had the chance to come across and work with. Thank you and Happy International Women’s Day!

women's day women psychedelic industry international around world

Dr. Jillian Hagel

women's day women psychedelic industry international around worldJillian is now a co-founder and COO of MagicMed Industries Inc and brings her extensive experience in novel pharmaceutical synthesis methods to build the Psybrary. At MagicMed, Jillian leads and implements development programs for the building of the Psybrary. Jillian’s synthetic biology and biochemistry skills are a critical part of the invention and production of novel psychedelic derivatives.

Dr. Deborah Mash

Deborah Mash is one of the world’s foremost experts on the hallucinogenic drug ibogaine. She is the CEO and Founder of DemeRx Inc., a clinical-stage drug development company advancing ibogaine and its active metabolite noribogaine for the treatment of opioid use disorder. DemeRx has partnered with ATAI Life Sciences — a global biotech platform with a special focus on psychedelic medicine — to develop ibogaine for those suffering from opioid use disorder. Building on the extensive human data available around ibogaine, DemeRx and ATAI will submit Clinical Trial Applications for a Phase II study in opioid-dependent patients. This joint venture will also develop screening procedures, dosing guidelines, and best practices for opioid withdrawal management to ensure patient safety.

Dr. Erica Zelfand

Erica is a licensed family physician specializing in integrative and functional medicine. She is also a facilitator of therapeutic psychedelic experiences and teaches professional training on the medicinal use of these powerful substances.

Laurie Higbed

Laurie has worked in the field of addictions for the last 10 years and was a co-therapist on the recent Imperial sponsored study for MDMA-assisted therapy for Alcohol Use Disorder. Laurie is currently a lead therapist on a trial of psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression and is the lead psychologist for Awakn Life Sciences.

Amanda Feilding, Countess of Wemyss and March

Amanda is an English drug policy reformer, lobbyist, and research coordinator. In 1998 she founded the Foundation to Further Consciousness, later renamed the Beckley Foundation, a charitable trust which initiates, directs, and supports neuroscientific and clinical research into the effects of psychoactive substances on the brain and cognition. She has also co-authored over 50 papers published in peer-reviewed journals, according to the Foundation. The central aim of her research is to investigate new avenues of treatment for such mental illnesses as depression, anxiety, and addiction, as well as to explore methods of enhancing well-being and creativity.

Feilding has been a proponent of exploiting the cognitive effects of cannabis since the 1960s. She has experimented with trepanning, drilling a hole into the skull to expose the dura mater, a technique used in some cultures to treat mental illness, and considered by some to provide a calming effect or a higher state of consciousness. Feilding is also a proponent of the use of LSD to trigger long-term improvements in creativity.

Annie Mithoefer

Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N., is a Registered Nurse living in Asheville, NC. She was co-investigator on two of the MAPS-sponsored Phase 2 clinical trials for individuals with PTSD and a pilot study treating couples combining MDMA-assisted psychotherapy with Cognitive Behavioral Conjoint Therapy for PTSD. She conducts MAPS Therapist Training with her husband, Michael, and is a supervisor for Phase 3 therapists.

Dr. Ros Watts

Ros was the clinical lead for the Psilocybin for depression study at Imperial College London in the Centre for Psychedelic Research. She is now the clinical director of Synthesis Institute developing an ecotherapy-assisted year-long group process, including psilocybin truffle retreats, for people with depression. Her research focuses on how psychedelics can increase connectedness to self, others, and the world/universe.

Nicole T. Buchanan, Ph.D.

Nicole is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University and Clinical Director and Founder of Alliance Psychological Associates, PLLC in East Lansing, MI. She is a trainee in the MAPS MDMA-assisted psychotherapy training for communities of color and anticipates offering MDMA-assisted psychotherapy when clinical trials are completed. Dr. Buchanan is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, four separate divisions of the American Psychological Association, and has received numerous national and international awards for her research, teaching, clinical work, and professional service. She is an accomplished speaker, writer, and scholar with more than 70 journal articles, book chapters, and research reports, and her work has been highlighted in hundreds of media outlets, including CBS News, the Huffington Post, and Essence Magazine, and she has been a featured speaker for several programs, including TEDx and National Public Radio (NPR).

Dr. Sue Nielsen

Dr. Sue Nielsen is a Board-Certified Family Physician with over 20 years of clinical experience. Born and raised in Minnesota, she worked in a small community near Twin Cities. She left full-time practice at the age of 45 to pursue a spiritual path and recover from years of workaholic behaviors. She is a strict vegetarian, animal lover, and environmentalist. She is currently semi-retired, taking time to teach yoga and meditation, and treating patients with similar addictions. Her hobbies include travel, photography, scuba diving, golf, birding, and animal advocacy. She is living in Florida with her beloved dog, Rico.

Jamilah R. George

Jamilah, a Detroit native, singer, dancer, and actress obtained her bachelor’s from the University of Michigan, completed her master’s training at Yale University, and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Connecticut. Her research interests include obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, PTSD and the psychological effects of discrimination and racial trauma on people of color, the neurological underpinnings of these disorders, and the potential promise of psychedelic medicine as a means to healing. Recently, Jamilah was a MAPS-sponsored phase 2 MDMA-assisted psychotherapy co-therapist whose site focused on treatment-resistant PTSD among people of color and was the only site with this focus. Jamilah’s passion for social justice and equality issues fuels her work as she advocates for the mental and holistic wellbeing of socially disenfranchised groups, including women, people of color, impoverished domestic and international communities, and the intersections thereof.

Dawn D. Davis

Dawn calls herself a Newe, an enrolled member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. She is an Indigenous researcher who has spent over a decade focusing on the declining populations of peyote (Lophophora williamsii) in southwestern Texas. She brings unique insight to the field by sharing her Indigenous perspective and her knowledge as a member of the Native American Church (NAC). Her research includes inquiry into sustainable practices of peyote and examining peyote populations in North America using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to determine the existing and potential habitat. Dawn’s work offers recommendations for policy and environmental practices by peyotists and members of the NAC. Her research has been shared among Indigenous, academic, ethnobotanical, and psychedelic audiences nationally and internationally. Dawn is also knowledgeable on water policy within the state of Idaho, particularly as it applies to Federal Indian Water Rights. Additionally, she is Co-Editor of the Journal of Native Sciences, an online publication focused on Indigenous research, where individuals can share, access information, and humbly offer strategies for issues facing Indigenous, Aborigine, American Indian, and First Nations peoples. She is also the CEO of BigTree Environmental LLC, which provides a wide variety of environmental, anthropological, and social science services.

Mellody Hayes

Mellody is a physician-writer who trained in Sociology at Harvard College before training as a physician and anesthesiologist at UCSF. Known for her heart-centered, powerful public speaking, her writing, speaking, coaching, and work in palliative care serves to encourage us to develop a better relationship to human suffering, be it anxiety, depression, pain, or end-of-life crisis. She believes that each person has a story of possibility, even in the presence of great pain, to be uncovered that is part of their personal medicine.

Svea Nielsen

Svea as a psychologist has worked for many years in Psychedelic Emergency Services in festivals (www.psysitter.com). She has been helping people to prepare for the initiation with orthomolecular medicines and providing them with ceremonies where we blend the traditions of Bwiti and the sacred rituals we reinvent in the western world. She also works with the person for a long integration phase, which sometimes includes several months as a volunteer on a farm. Her interest goes also to microdosing the wood for different purposes (to taper down, for depression, for neurological issues). Website: www.ibogaine-counselling.com

Clare S. Wilkins

Clare is the founder of Pangea Biomedics. She has facilitated treatments with a diverse team for 15 years, collaborated with MAPS to study the long-term effects of opiate patients undergoing detoxification therapy with ibogaine. (Brown, Alper M.D., 2017), and is currently collaborating with ICEERS for a double-blind, Phase 2 safety & efficacy clinical trial using Ibogaine for methadone patients.

Clare has been a board member of The Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance (GITA) since its inception; is a co-author of the Clinical Guidelines for Ibogaine-Assisted Detoxification, as well as co-author of a successful case study (Wilkins, Bouso, Ph.D., 2017) published in the Journal of Psychedelic Studies.
Mentored by Howard & Norma Lotsof, she is committed to advancing scientific research of iboga and contributing to community building & education in this field. As a member of INPUD, an international drug user rights organization, she is devoted to reducing stigma & harm, and promoting compassion for people who use drugs & every human’s basic right to medicine & cognitive & corporeal liberty.

Sara Reed, MS, MFT

Sara is a Marriage and Family Therapist at Behavioral Wellness Clinic in Tolland, Connecticut, and a Study Therapist for the Psilocybin-assisted Psychotherapy for Major Depression study at Yale University. She is also a member of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Advisory Board. Sara also served as a Sub-Investigator and Study Coordinator for MAPS’ Phase 2 MDMA Clinical Study of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She is a member of Chacruna’s Racial Equity and Access Committee.

Hirpal Hundial

Hirpal is a registered nurse of 30 years with a specialty in nursing education, research, and patient safety. Her years in acute care providing care to individuals suffering from substance abuse disorders fuel her passion to bring novel solutions to this devastating illness.

Gita Vaid, MD

Gita is a board-certified psychiatrist and psychoanalyst practicing ketamine-assisted psychotherapy in New York City. She is a co-founder of the Center for Natural Intelligence, a multidisciplinary laboratory dedicated to the exploration and research of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapies. Dr. Vaid completed her residency training at NYU Medical Center, psychoanalytic training at the Psychoanalytic Association of New York. She trained as a fellow in clinical psychopharmacology and neurophysiology at New York Medical College and completed a research fellowship at NYU Medical Center. Dr. Vaid is a MAPS-trained psychedelic psychotherapist and is on faculty at The Ketamine Training Center.

Dr. Megan McElheran

Megan is a Clinical Psychologist and CEO of Wayfound Mental Health Group, based in Calgary, AB. She has worked extensively in the field of military and first responder mental health for the past 20 years and has developed expertise in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and other trauma-related mental health conditions. Megan recognizes the groundbreaking potential of psychedelic medications and is deeply committed to changing the paradigm of future mental health care.

Susan Chapelle, EMBA

Susan is an inventive leader with a highly successful career building businesses, leading as a two-term elected politician, and influencing changes that improve organizations and emergent industries. Chapelle has scaled businesses in healthcare, technology, and collaborative workspaces. She has advised global technology companies on the development of online platforms and scheduling solutions. She is a keynote speaker on digital innovation and smart cities technology and is a published researcher in the fields of neuroscience and wound healing mechanisms. She has presented her studies and consulted across the globe.

Julia Mirer, M.D.

After growing disheartened with the medical system, I resigned from my Pediatric Residency to pursue alternative healing paths. This exploration led me to discover the unbelievable healing potential of psilocybin and began my 2-year journey of learning how to speak about these medicines to begin to break the stigma, increase awareness, and advocate for the responsible reintegration of psychedelics into society as well as clinical practice. My passion is to empower through education, teaching people to take their health (especially mental health) back into their own hands. My goal is to facilitate reform so that we can all begin to heal and work together for a better future.

Julia Perederiy, Ph.D.

Julia specializing in early-stage technologies and data-driven corporate strategy, Dr. Julia Perederiy holds scientific and commercialization expertise along the full spectrum of biological innovation, from single-cell analytics to systems-level therapeutics. An established academic scientist, Dr. Perederiy is an author of multiple peer-reviewed publications, including highly regarded research on the neurogenetics of autism. In the private sector, Julia is an experienced entrepreneur and management consultant, helping biotechnology companies with business planning, market entry strategy, and fundraising.
Dr. Perederiy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Neurobiology and Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master’s in Technology Entrepreneurship from the University of Portland, and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Oregon Health & Science University.

See a name we missed? Help us out by letting us know who else we should be recognizing and celebrating.

At Microdose, we are always looking to include the notable women who are dynamically shaping psychedelic science in order to stimulate a rich dialogue about medicine, culture, and healing. If you would like to be a speaker at one of our up and coming events, please write to us at [email protected]. We always prioritize female and BIPOC speaker applications. Thank you so much!

women's day women psychedelic industry international around world

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Microdose Psychedelic Insights

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