People of color have been critical in advancing psychedelic healing in science, policy, and the community yet they are often relegated to behind the scenes invisible positions. Chacruna recognizes that people of color make difference in these vital areas. We have composed a list that represents only a fraction of many dedicated people of color whose voices are often unheard due to stigma and exclusion. These accomplished individuals are available for media interviews, speaking engagements, conferences, lectures and so forth. Do check back in as we will be updating this list regularly and on a rotating basis.

Ismail Lourido Ali is Policy & Advocacy Counsel for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), where he supports the development and implementation of strategies to create legal access to psychedelic substances in medical, sacramental, and personal contexts. Ismail is licensed to practice law in the state of California, and presently sits on the Advisory Committee of the Ayahuasca Defense Fund. Ismail has previously served as Chair of the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) Board of Directors, and has worked for the ACLU of Northern California’s Criminal Justice & Drug Policy Project, as well as for the International Human Rights Law Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where he received his J.D. 

Area: Advocacy, Community

Selected Publications:

Selected Presentations: 

Popular Press:

Links:
www.maps.org
www.ssdp.org
http://ayahuascadefense.com/

Contact: askmaps@maps.org, ismail@maps.org

NiCole T. Buchanan, Ph.D., is 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).

Area: Psychology

Selected Publications:

Selected Presentations:

  • Buchanan, N. T., Settles, I. H., & Dotson, K. (2018, July). Epistemic exclusion: Academic hazing of faculty of color. Paper presented at the biannual meeting of APA’s Society for the Psychological Study of Culture Ethnicity and Race (Div. 45), Austin, TX. https://youtu.be/jY0owXj2WEw
  • Buchanan, N. T. (2017, April). Excising a virus of the mind: Individual and institutional responsibility for reducing implicit bias. Invited presentation for TEDxMSU at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. https://youtu.be/b5UUBPA1-FU
  • Buchanan, N. T. (2016, January). Bias and its role in social inequity. Invited presentation for the symposium, Sharper Focus, Wider Lenson The Nature of Inequality, Michigan State University Honor’s College. www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6zxPCGI64A

Links:
https://drnicoletbuchanan.com/
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/nicole-t-buchanan-alliance-psychological-associates-pllc-east-lansing-mi/179963
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Nicole_Buchanan

Contact: nicole.t.buchanan@gmail.com

Terence Ching is a US-based Chinese Singaporean currently completing his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Connecticut (UConn). As a function of his clinical and research training, as well as his personal lived experiences, Terence has academic and clinical interests in the intersections between obsessive-compulsive and related disorders; anxiety disorders; stress, trauma, and posttraumatic stress disorder; cultural diversity based in race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, etc.; and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. Terence has also assumed a co-therapist role in a prior MAPS-sponsored trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, in which he infused the research process with culturally-informed recruitment and assessment procedures. Terence is currently working on his doctoral dissertation, with an emphasis on examining possible differences in efficacy of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD between White participants and participants of color across MAPS-sponsored study sites. Terence will also supplement his dissertation scope with a mixed-methods case study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in a participant of color, with the goal of uncovering novel mechanisms of therapeutic change via qualitative analysis.

Area: Psychology

Selected Publications:

  • Ching, T. H. W., Lee, S. Y., Chen, J., So, R. P., & Williams, M. T. (2018). A model of intersectional stress and trauma in Asian American sexual and gender minorities. Psychology of Violence, 8(6), 657– 668. doi:10.1037/vio0000204 
  • Ching, T. H. W. (in press). Intersectional insights from an MDMA-assisted psychotherapy training trial: An open letter to racial/ethnic and sexual/gender minorities. Journal of Psychedelic Studies.

Selected Presentations:

  • Ching, T. H. W., Williams, M. T., Kisicki, M. D., Reed, S. J., & George, J. R. (2017, November). MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment-resistant PTSD: MAPS-sponsored Phase 2 findings & cultural considerations for Phase 3 trials.Poster presented at the 2017 Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Convention, San Diego, CA. 
  • Williams, M. T., Reed, S. J., Ching, T. H. W., George, J. R., & Wetterneck, C. T. [discussant] (2018, November). Psychedelic therapy for people of color. Panel presented at the 34th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Washington, DC
  • Ching, T. H. W. (2019, August). MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for participants of color with PTSD: Does it work?  Presentation at the MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Training for Therapists of Color, Louisville, KY.

Links:
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Terence_Ching
https://today.uconn.edu/2018/05/mdma-opens-door-ptsd-patients-work-trauma/

Contact: thwching@gmail.com

Dawn D. Davis 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. 

Area: Conservation and community

Selected Publications:

Selected Presentations:

  • Davis, D. D. (2017, April). Conservation strategies for sustainability of the peyote gardens: What is the indigenous approach? Oral Presentation at Psychedelic Science 2017 Conference, Oakland, CA.   

Popular Press:

Links:
https://www.bigtreellc.org/
https://www.nativesciences.com/about.html
https://www.facebook.com/indigenousresearcher

Contact: davisdawnd@gmail.com

Belinda Eriacho is a from the Diné (Navajo) and Ashwii (Zuni Pueblo) lineages.  He maternal clan is Honágháahnii (One-Walks-Around) and was born for the Naasht’ézhí (Zuni Pueblo) people.  Her maternal grandparents clan are Dibe lizhiní (Black Sheep) and her paternal grandparents are Naasht’ézhí (Zuni Pueblo). She is the child of the Mula:kwe (Macaw Parrot) on parental side. Belinda was born and raised on the Navajo reservation.  She holds degrees in Health Sciences, Public Health, and in Technology. As an adult Belinda journeyed through her own inner and physical healing. She then recognized her gifts as a healer and her true calling.

Area: Native American education and healing; Community

Selected Presentations:

  • Eriacho, B. (2019, August). Native American Legacy: Intergenerational Trauma. Presentation at the MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Training for Therapists of Color, Louisville, KY.
  • Eriacho, B. (2019, February).  Native American herbalism: Diné perspective. Presentation at the 2019 Psychedelic Conference in Tempe, AZ.
  • Eriacho, B., & Slim, D. (2018) Diné philosophy, The cycles of life and the role in healing. Presentation at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ.
  • Eriacho, B. (in press). Considerations for psychedelic therapists when working with Native American people and communities. Journal of Psychedelic Studies.  

Popular Press:

Links:  
www.kaalogii.com

Contact: beriacho@cox.net

Jamilah R. George, M.Div., 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.

Area: Psychology

Selected Publications:

  • George, J. R., Michaels, T. I., Sevelius, J., & Williams, M. T.  (2019). The psychedelic renaissance and the limitations of a White-dominant medical framework: A call for indigenous and minority inclusion. Journal of Psychedelic Studies. doi: 10.1556/2054.2019.015
  • Williams, M. T., George, J., & Printz, D. (in press). Behavioral health service delivery with African Americans. In L. Benuto, F. R. Gonzalez, & J. Singer (Eds.), Handbook for cultural factors in behavioral health: A guide for the helping professional. New York City, NY: Springer

Selected Presentations:

  • George, J. R. (2019, August). Let justice roll down: Relinquishing psychedelic healing for people of color. Presented at the Psychedelic Medicine & Cultural Trauma Community Workshop. Louisville, KY.
  • George, J. R. (2019, February). Healing racial trauma with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy: A call to expand the psychedelic narrative. Presented at the Arizona Psychedelic Conference, Tempe, AZ.
  • Williams, M. T., Wetterneck, C. T., Reed, S., Siu, W., Ching, T. & George, J. R. (2018, November). Psychedelic therapy for PTSD in people of color. Panel presented at the 34th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. Washington, DC.

Popular Press:

Contact: jamilah.george@uconn.edu

Mellody Hayes 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.

Area: Medicine and Community

Selected Presentations:

  • Hayes, M. (2019). Poetics of healing. Listening to Listening Colloquium Panelist. San Francisco, CA, 2009.
  • Hayes, M. (2019). The nocturnist [Live storytelling]. Brava Theater. San Francisco, CA. Retrieved from https://drive.google.com/file/d/14cFTX-lZmJeF_kLAM_8xh2LbNwZ-FTkx/view?usp=drivesdk
  • Hayes, M. (2019, March). Oakland Decriminalize Nature Rally [Keynote speaker]. San Francisco, CA.

Links:
mellodyhayes.com

Contact: mellodyhayes@gmail.com

Kufikiri Hiari Imara was born and raised in Oakland, California. He grew up in an Oakland very different than the one we see today; it was an Oakland with a broader and more embodied sense of community. He grew up the youngest in a household with parents who are both Bay Area natives, both of them born in San Francisco. In addition, both his parents, growing up, were active in the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements of San Francisco of the 1960s & 70s. So, he grew up in a home and a community environment that strongly emphasized social awareness and social responsibility. Play that forward to an older, wiser individual who unfolded his path through a love of the arts, and his own personal healing spiritual journey. That path led him to volunteer to work with Green Earth Poets Society, bringing poetry to incarcerated African-American youth. He is one of the early members of the Entheogen Integration Circle, a support group in NYC with a focus on marginalized communities within the psychedelic community. He is currently involved with the Sacred Garden Community’s facilitators workshop to deepen his work as a ceremonial facilitator working with ethnically diverse communities. One of the reasons he got involved with the Decriminalize Nature Oakland (DNO) initiative is access. And, as head of the DNO committee focused on Outreach, Education, & Access, he wants to see broad access when it comes to the opportunity to profoundly change one’s life for the better through working with entheogens. Paying special attention to Oakland’s ethnically diverse and marginalized communities, he is actively working with individuals and organizations doing the work in these communities for a better tomorrow. He stays actively engaged with the offices of Oakland City Council members to see a better Oakland for all. Access has always been his message, and was the focus of his talk when he spoke at the CIIS/Chacruna Symposium, Cultural and Political Perspectives on Psychedelic Science, in August of 2018 in San Francisco. He also gave a talk hosted by the San Francisco Psychedelic Society, in March of 2019. He continues to work towards accessible choices for ethnically diverse and marginalized communities in their quest to heal themselves. 

Area: Arts, Advocacy and Community

Selected Publications:

  • Imara, K. (2018). The psychedelic renaissance will be decided by access. Chacruna.net Retrieved from https://chacruna.net/the-psychedelic-renaissance-will-be-decided-by-access/

Selected Presentations:

Popular Press:

Contact: kufikiriimara@gmail.com 

Nicholas Powers is a literature professor, poet and journalist. He has written about politics, psychedelics and the counter-culture. His book “The Ground Below Zero; 9/11 to Burning Man, New Orleans to Darfur, Haiti to Occupy Wall Street” was published by Upset Press in 2014. 

Area: Literature & Poetry

Selected Publications:

Select Presentations:

Selected Publications:

Popular Press:

Links:
https://indypendent.org/authors/nicholas-powers/

Contact: powersn@oldwestbury.edu

Sara Reed, MS, MFT, 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.

Area: Psychotherapy 

Selected Publications: 

Selected Presentations:

  • Siu, W., & Reed, S. (2018, April). MDMA-assisted psychotherapy: “Our experiences as subjects in an FDA-approved clinical trial.” Sponsored by UConn Students for Sensible Drug Policy, University of Connecticut.
  • Reed, S. (2018, November). Ego dissolution, racial wounds, and the female body: A journey home. Women and Psychedelics Conference, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA.
  • Williams, M. T., Wetterneck, C. T., Reed, S., Siu, W., Ching, T. & George, J. (2018, November). Psychedelic therapy for PTSD in people of color. Panel presentation for 34th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Washington, DC.

Popular Press:

Links:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXkFnnj_F3w&t=157s

Contact: sarajreed1@gmail.com

Licia Sky, BFA, LMT, is a Boston based somatic educator, writer, artist, singer-songwriter, and bodyworker who works with traumatized individuals and trains mental health professionals to use mindful meditation in movement, theater exercises, writing and voice as tools for attunement, healing and connection. She is a regular instructor in trauma healing workshops at Kripalu, and Esalen. In the course of over 25 years of bodywork practice, she developed her methods of vocalizing for embodiment in physical and emotional healing when she began using her voice with her bodywork clients by vocalizing and toning – to help them release the constriction from repressed vocal expression. She found that breathing, toning and vocalizing led to profound beneficial changes of physical and emotional state. She has been teaching workshops on these subjects around the US, UK, Italy, Netherlands, Egypt, Israel, and New Zealand. 

Links:
liciasky.com 

Contactlicia@liciasky.com or her Angela Lin: assistant@besselvanderkolk.com

Cristie Strongman, M.A., is Director of Chacruna’s Racial Equity and Access Committee. She is a graduate student at Teachers College, Columbia University, in the program of counseling psychology with a concentration on diversity, and multicultural, bilingual competencies. She holds two master’s degrees from Columbia University, with a third on the way. The first one is from Columbia’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in regional studies of Latin America and the Caribbean (2018), where her research focused on the mimesis of indigenous rituals in urban landscapes by contemporary shamans. Her second master’s is from Columbia’s Teachers College in mental health counseling (2019), and her third is in counseling psychology, expected in 2020. Her bachelor of arts degree is in sociology from Hunter College, City University of New York (2016), where she studied the sociology of drugs in the USA. She is a trainee of the MAPS MDMA-assisted psychotherapy training for communities of color and a night attendant for the MAPS phase 3, FDA approved, clinical trials on MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in New York City. Cristie is a classically trained opera singer who enjoys performing compositions that employ unique tunings and instrumentation, including homemade instruments, as she did in several performances in Carnegie Hall. Cristie is originally from Colón, Panamá in Central America. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her orange cat Gustav.

Area: Psychology and Community

Selected Presentations:

  • Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Multicultural Considerations. 2019 American Psychological Association. Psilocybin FDA Breakthrough Status-Psychedelic Health Literacy, Ethical, and Multicultural Topics, Chicago, IL. August 10, 2019.
  • Decolonizing Psychedelics for Latinx and Afro Caribbeans. Symposium Cultural and Political Perspectives in Psychedelic Science. CIIS/ Chacruna Institute. San Francisco, August 18-19, 2018. Available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMSJHhfoeQM/ (Video: 17:48)

Popular Press:

Links:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/cristiestrongman/

Contact: Cristie.Strongman@Columbia.edu and Cristie.Chacruna@gmail.com

Joe Tafur, M.D., is a Colombian-American family physician originally from Phoenix, Arizona. After completing his family medicine training at UCLA, Dr. Tafur spent two years in academic research at the UCSD Department of Psychiatry in a lab focused on mind-body medicine. After his research fellowship, over a period of six years, he lived and worked in the Peruvian Amazon at the traditional healing center Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual. There he worked closely with master Shipibo shaman Ricardo Amaringo and trained in ayahuasca shamanism. In his new book “The Fellowship of the River: A Medical Doctor’s Exploration into Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine,” through a series of stories, Dr. Tafur shares his unique experience and integrative medical theories. The book strives to illuminate the intersection between biology, emotion and spirituality. He is Co-founder of Modern Spirit, a nonprofit dedicated to demonstrating the value of spiritual healing in modern healthcare.

Area: Medicine & Ayahuasca Shamanism

Selected Publications

  • Tafur, J. (2017). The fellowship of the river: A medical doctor’s exploration into traditional Amazonian plant medicine. Phoenix, AZ: Espiritu Books. 

Selected Presentations

Popular Press

Links:
modernspirit.org
drjoetafur.com

Contact: joe.tafur@gmail.com

Dr. Monnica Williams is a board-certified clinical psychologist and Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut. She completed her undergraduate studies at MIT and UCLA. She received her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Virginia. Her clinical work and research focus on African American mental health, culture, trauma, and OCD. She was the PI for a MAPS-sponsored Phase 2 study of MDMA for PTSD, with a focus on culturally-informed treatment for people of color. She has also received grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American Psychological Foundation (APF) for her research. Dr. Williams has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, with a focus on psychopathology and cultural differences. She has leadership roles in several international professional organizations, serves on the editorial board of two scientific journals, is an associate editor of two journals, and is currently a guest editor of a special issue of the Journal of Psychedelic Studies, on the topic of Diversity, Equity, and Access. Her work has been featured in several major media outlets, including NPR, The Washington Post, and the New York Times.

Dr. Williams is available for media interviews, symposia, keynote lectures, and plenary talks.

Area: Psychology

Selected Publications:

  • Michaels, T. I., Purdon, J., Collins, A. & Williams, M. T. (2018). Inclusion of people of color in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy: A review of the literature. BMC Psychiatry, 18(245), 1-9. doi: 10.1186/s12888-018-1824-6.
  • Williams, M. T., & Leins, C. (2016). Race-based trauma: The challenge and promise of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Bulletin26(1), 32-37.
  • Williams, D. D. (2017). Preservation and sustainability of the peyote sacrament in reverence of the Native American Church (Unpublished master’s thesis). University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. Retrieved from http://neip.info/novo/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Williams_Peyote_Sustainability_NAC_MA-Thesis_American_Indian_Studies_2012.pdf.

Selected Presentations:

  • Williams, M. T. (2018, October 6). Race-Based trauma: The challenge and promise of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.Paper presented at Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics, New York City, NY.

Popular press:

  • Sullivan, K. (2018, October 1). Black Americans Are Being Left Out of Psychedelics Research. Vice Tonic.
  • Bain, K. (2018, June 26). Psychedelics are going mainstream, because the mainstream needs them. Vice.

Links:
http://monnicawilliams.com
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/culturally-speaking
http://www.mentalhealthdisparities.org/psychedelic-medicine.php

Contact: http://monnicawilliams.com/contact.php


Disclaimer:

This page will be constantly updated, with entries removed if they become out of date. If you are a author, speaker, or researcher of color and want to be listed, please contact us. Your application will be reviewed by Chacruna’s Racial Equity and Access Committee. We are including those with expertise and excellence in Chacruna’s areas of interest. Some indications of  qualification may include the completion of graduate work; papers published in journals, books, or popular websites; public presentations in academic conferences or psychedelic events. Other evidence of accomplishment that does not fit into traditional structures will be reviewed and considered on a case by case basis. Please send your application with the materials above, and one paragraph with your biography, papers, and links to public presentations to: Cristie Strongman at: cristie.chacruna@gmail.com


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