Who we are

Founder and Executive Director

Bia Labate – Founder and Executive Director

Beatriz Caiuby Labate has a Ph.D. in social anthropology from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. Her main areas of interest are the study of plant medicines, drug policy, shamanism, ritual, and religion. She is Executive Director of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines. She is Adjunct Faculty at the East-West Psychology Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco, and Visiting Professor at the Center for Research and Post Graduate Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) in Guadalajara. She is also Public Education and Culture Specialist at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). She is co-founder of the Drugs, Politics, and Culture Collective, in Mexico (http://drogaspoliticacultura.net), and co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Group for Psychoactive Studies (NEIP) in Brazil, as well as editor of NEIP’s website (http://www.neip.info). She is author, co-author, and co-editor of twenty books, one special-edition journal, and several peer-reviewed articles (http://bialabate.net).

Board of Directors

Clancy Cavnar – Co-Founder and Associate Director

Clancy Cavnar has a doctorate in clinical psychology (Psy.D.) from John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, CA. She currently works in private practice in San Francisco, and is Associate Director of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines. She is also a research associate of the Interdisciplinary Group for Psychoactive Studies (NEIP). She combines an eclectic array of interests and activities as clinical psychologist, artist, and researcher. She has a master of fine arts in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute, a master’s in counseling from San Francisco State University, and she completed the Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). She is author and co-author of articles in several peer-reviewed journals and co-editor, with Beatriz Caiuby Labate, of eight books. For more information see: http://neip.info/pesquisadore/clancy-cavnar

Brian T. Anderson – Associate Director

Brian T. Anderson is a psychiatrist and postdoctoral fellow at the San Francisco VA and the University of California San Francisco where he is the study lead for the university’s first clinical trial of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy. Brian has also been a member of the Núcleo de Estudos Interdisciplinares sobre Psicoativos (NEIP) since 2006 and currently is Associate Director of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines. Over the past decade he has conducted ethnographic research with ayahuasca religions, 12-Step recovery groups, and other communities of substance users in North America, South America and Europe.
Emily Sinclair is a social anthropology PhD. candidate with Durham University, UK. Her research focuses on the globalization of ayahuasca in the context of the Iquitos region in Peru, where she was based between 2014 and 2018. Before beginning anthropological fieldwork, Emily lived and worked with a local healer and his family with whom she ran an ayahuasca healing center for over two years. She has also worked as a facilitator in other centers in the Iquitos region. Her interests include the contemporary revival of shamanic practice, the use of plant medicines for spiritual exploration and healing, and the study of human potentials and evolution. Emily is a member of Chacruna’s Ayahuasca Community Committee and is involved in Chacruna’s initiative on preventing sexual abuse.

Staff

Program Manager

Horacio Guevara studied anthropology at Guadalajara University and has coordinated research teams for various projects focused on gangs and violence reduction within the College of Jalisco (COLJAL) in Guadalajara and Zapopan. He has implemented social intervention projects for government crime prevention programs and currently works at the Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) as a research assistant. Horacio is Chacruna’s program manager. He has worked on the conferences Drogas, Política y Cultura: Perspectivas Brasil-México, Plantas Sagradas en las AméricasCultural and Political Perspectives on Psychedelic Science, Women and Psychedelics Forum and Foro Plantas Sagradas, was responsible for the organization, logistics, and promotion of the conference.

Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants 

Beatriz Caiuby Labate has a Ph.D. in social anthropology from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. Her main areas of interest are the study of plant medicines, drug policy, shamanism, ritual, and religion. She is Executive Director of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines. She is Adjunct Faculty at the East-West Psychology Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco, and Visiting Professor at the Center for Research and Post Graduate Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) in Guadalajara. She is also Public Education and Culture Specialist at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). She is co-founder of the Drugs, Politics, and Culture Collective, in Mexico (http://drogaspoliticacultura.net), and co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Group for Psychoactive Studies (NEIP) in Brazil, as well as editor of NEIP’s website (http://www.neip.info). She is author, co-author, and co-editor of twenty books, one special-edition journal, and several peer-reviewed articles (http://bialabate.net).
J. Hamilton Hudson is an attorney in the U.S. practicing in blockchain and psychedelics. He was born and raised in Hong Kong and lives in Chicago. He earned his JD with an MS in international development from Tulane University in New Orleans and his BA magna cum laude in anthropology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is a Research Associate at the Interdisciplinary Group for Psychoactive Studies (NEIP), Brazil/USA and a member of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants.


Rob Heffernan is an independent researcher and activist who has been involved in the vegetalismo, Santo Daime and other syncretic traditions since 2000. He has been involved with legal issues and organizing efforts in the Santo Daime and ayahuasca community for the last 12 years and has recently begun to speak and write about these matters publicly. He is part of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants. He is involved with integration work as a certified Shamanic Breathwork facilitator and a certified Integrative Sound and Music Practitioner (sound healing). This is complimented by a long term involvement with Buddhist Dharma. He has recently begun to write and speak about the integration of Buddhist Dharma and medicine work.
Joseph Rhea is an attorney in Palm Springs, California.  Joseph grew up in eastern North Carolina and received his Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard. He taught in the areas of inequality and social movement organization at Harvard and Arizona State University.  He is author of Race Pride and the American Identity (2001). As a lawyer, Joseph first represented indigent defendants and then became very involved in cannabis legalization in California. Joseph is a member of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants. Joseph is always eager to help with legal issues regarding safe access and he is particularly interested in those projects that address inequalities of access. 
Sean McAllister is one of nation’s leading drug policy reform lawyers. In 2004, after working for the Colorado Attorney General’s Office for several years, Sean opened a solo law practice focused on criminal defense and represented hundreds of people charged with state and federal drug crimes. That same year, he founded the drug policy reform non-profit Sensible Colorado. Sean served as the chair of the Board of Directors of Sensible Colorado while the organization co-chaired the Colorado recreational marijuana legalization campaign that voters passed in 2012. Sean has also worked on broader drug policy reform issues as a member of the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice. Today, Sean’s law firm, McAllister Garfield, P.C., has 20 lawyers in four states working primarily on cannabis business law and licensing matters. As part of his work, Sean’s firm has sued regulators numerous times under the administrative procedures act, petitioned the DEA to reconsider a harmful CBD rule, and represented Native America Tribes attempting to participate in the cannabis and hemp industries. In addition to cannabis, Sean has consulted with the Decriminalize Denver campaign, which is the first ballot initiative in the U.S. designed to remove criminal penalties for the possession of psilocybin. Sean is a member of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants.
Brad Bartlett is an attorney in Denver, Colorado where serves as senior counsel and director of the Tribal Cannabis Law Group at one of the largest cannabis law firms in the nation. Brad works with tribal nations across the U.S. and Canada on development of tribally owned enterprises related to Cannabis sativa L. Brad previously served as an assistant professor at the University of Denver Sturm School of Law in the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program. Over his extensive career, Brad has worked with impacted tribal communities, including Native American Church members, on a wide variety of complex tribal and environmental justice matters. Brad is also a seasoned litigator and has brought numerous cases in the public interest addressing government accountability and overreach. Brad graduated the University of Colorado School of Law’s environmental and American Indian Law program in 1998 and is an enrolled tribal member of the Sault Ste. Marie Band of Chippewa Indians of Michigan. Brad is a member of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants, where he hopes to advance the dialogue around Controlled Substances Act prohibitions on psychoactive plants and its intersection with state’s rights and religious and medical freedoms.  
Ben Meeus holds a Master Degree in International and European Law (Cum Laude) from the Free University of Brussels, and a second Master Degree in Latin American Studies at the Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation (CEDLA) in Amsterdam. He has been involved in Santo Daime for 10 years, and wrote a thesis on the legal issues related to the transnationalization of this religious practice. During that same time, he became board member of the Dutch “Centre for the Legal Assessment of the Religious and Ethical Integration of the use of Ayahuasca” (CLAREIA), and volunteered for various human rights causes. After his internship at the “Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section” of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), he became passionate about advancing the rights of indigenous peoples, with a specific interest related to traditional medicinal practices. To that regard, Ben has done extensive voluntary work with and for indigenous representatives in the Brazilian Amazon and abroad. Ben is a member of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants.
Noah Potter holds an undergraduate political science degree from Columbia University and a law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. He is a New York City-based drug policy consultant and Of Counsel to the Hoban Law Group. In 2010, Noah coined the term “psychedelic law” when he founded his blog, the New Amsterdam Psychedelic Law Blog. He is former chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Drugs and the Law, a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Cannabis Law, a member of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants, and government relations and political speaker outreach director for the New York City Cannabis Parade. In 2018, Noah helped the Decriminalize Denver campaign draft the text of the voter initiative to decriminalize psychoactive mushrooms. 
Jack Silver is an attorney with the majority of his practice environmental. In addition to his environmental work he also helps guides and facilitators limit their potential personal and criminal liability. Jack was co-counsel in the successful Santo Daime case against DEA (Church of the Holy Light of the Queen v. Mukasey). Jack co-founded California River Watch and is still counsel to its board. Jack also sits on the boards of the Green Earth Foundation and Institute for Holotropics. Jack is a certified Holotropic Breathworker, Omotesenke licenced Tea instructor and holds the rank of sandan in Aikido. Jack is a member of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants.

Consultants:
Ismail Ali, Jag Davies, Zara Snapp

Inclusion and Diversity

Cristie Strongman, M.A., is Chacruna’s Director of Inclusion and Diversity and is a graduate student in psychological counseling at Teachers College, Columbia University with a bilingual (English/Spanish) concentration. She holds a Master’s Degree from Columbia University, in Regional Studies: Latin America and the Caribbean, where she studied the mimesis of indigenous rituals in urban landscapes that are performed by contemporary shamans, and the impact that globalization has on indigenous traditions as they intersect with the interests of urban, non-indigenous people. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Hunter College, City University of New York, where she studied the intersectionality between the sociology of entheogens in urban spaces, and drug policy in the United States. Her academic interests focus on Indigenous traditions of medicine and on the wellness model of mental health counseling. She is a classically trained opera singer who enjoys performing new compositions with experimental-sound-techniques of instrumentation. Cristie is originally from Colón, Panamá.

Women, Gender Diversity, and Sexual Minorities Working Group

Clancy Cavnar has a doctorate in clinical psychology (Psy.D.) from John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, CA. She currently works in private practice in San Francisco, and is an Associate Director at Chacruna (https://chacruna.net). She is also a research associate of the Interdisciplinary Group for Psychoactive Studies (NEIP). She combines an eclectic array of interests and activities as clinical psychologist, artist, and researcher. She has a master of fine arts in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute, a master’s in counseling from San Francisco State University, and she completed the Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She is author and co-author of articles in several peer-reviewed journals and co-editor, with Beatriz Caiuby Labate, of eight books. For more information see: http://neip.info/pesquisadore/clancy-cavnar
Jae Sevelius, PhD is Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and is a licensed clinical psychologist. At the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health, Dr. Sevelius’ community-led research is focused on leveraging data to develop and evaluate transgender–specific, trauma-informed interventions to promote holistic health and wellness among transgender people, with an emphasis on serving transgender women of color and those affected by HIV in California and São Paulo, Brazil. Dr. Sevelius holds a Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Dr. Sevelius’ research and clinical interests lie at the intersections of social justice, sexuality, health, and identity.
Adam Knowles PgDip is a member of Chacruna’s Women, Gender Diversity, and Sexual Minorities Working Group and contributes articles to the website. He is a London-based existential psychotherapist trained at Regent’s University London (UK) and maintains a small private psychotherapy practice after a 20+ year career leading teams in technology. He is a member of professional bodies the BACP and the SEA. Adam has published articles in the Reflections Journal about psychotherapy training and the Hermeneutic Circular on developments in Clinical Psychology. Past interests include campaigns to promote LGBT humanism. Current interests are crypto/blockchain and psychedelics, particularly ayahuasca, and the intersection of these developing technologies with psychotherapy.

Gregory Wells, PhD is a a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and currently works as a psychologist in private practice in San Francisco. He is is also a clinical researcher as part of the MAPS-sponsored research trial of MDMA assisted psychotherapy for PTSD where he is in the roles of co-principal investigator and co-therapist. He is also a co-founder of Polaris Insight Center (www.polarisinsight.com) where he provides ketamine assisted psychotherapy and conducts research on the efficacy of ketamine to treat depression and other issues. Other interests include travel, traditional shamanic healing practices, and plant medicines.
Alex Theberge, MFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based out of San Francisco specializing in psychedelic integration and support. He has been exploring psychedelics for 25 years, has spent several years living in the Peruvian Amazon studying ayahuasca shamanism and facilitating plant medicine ceremonies, and continues to lead plant medicine retreats to Peru. Previously, Alex worked at the University of California San Francisco’s Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute where he was a staff therapist and Program Manager in the Partial Hospitalization Program.  Alex has a 15 year history of working in diverse clinical and healing settings including community mental health, residential treatment, and hospice care.

Ayahuasca Community Committee

Emily Sinclair is a social anthropology PhD. candidate with Durham University, UK. Her research focuses on the globalization of ayahuasca in the context of the Iquitos region in Peru, where she was based between 2014 and 2018. Before beginning anthropological fieldwork, Emily lived and worked with a local healer and his family with whom she ran an ayahuasca healing center for over two years. She has also worked as a facilitator in other centers in the Iquitos region. Her interests include the contemporary revival of shamanic practice, the use of plant medicines for spiritual exploration and healing, and the study of human potentials and evolution. Emily is a member of Chacruna’s Ayahuasca Community Committee and is involved in Chacruna’s initiative on preventing sexual abuse.
Luís Fernando Tófoli, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychiatry at the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. He heads the Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Studies on Psychoactive Substances and is a member of the State Council on Drug Policies of São Paulo. He is responsible for the Interdisciplinary Cooperation for Ayahuasca Research and Outreach (ICARO) at UNICAMP and has recently published on the field of drug policies and the therapeutic use of psychedelics, especially ayahuasca. He is a member of Chacruna’s Ayahuasca Community Committee.
Sophia Rokhlin holds a BA in anthropology and a MSc in Ecological Economics from the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (ICTA-UAB). She is the co-author of a forthcoming book When Plants Dream: Ayahuasca Shamanism in our Postmodern Times (Watkins, 2019). She has worked with the Environmental Justice Atlas, contributing to open-source mapping programs documenting environmental injustice related to agro-industry expansion on indigenous territories. Sophia serves as development and coordinator at Alianza Arkana, a nonprofit in the Peruvian Amazon and leads the regenerative ayahuasca initiative with the Chaikuni Institute/Temple of the Way of Light. She is a member of the Ayahuasca Community Committee at the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines. 

Adam Aronovich is a PhD candidate who lives and works in the Peruvian Amazon. Besides conducting fieldwork for his doctoral dissertation, Adam coordinates research projects and facilitates workshops at the Temple of the Way of Light, an ayahuasca healing center near the city of Iquitos. He is a member of the MARC (Medical Anthropology Research Center) – URV, as well as part of the Ayahuasca Community Committee of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines. Adam holds a master’s degree in Medical Anthropology and Global Health, as well as two bachelor degrees,  in Psychology and Cognitive Science. Adam also has a diploma in Traditional Mexican Medicine from the University of Morelos, Mexico. He is interested in the epistemic, social and environmental dimensions of mental health, and the potential role that ayahuasca and other psychedelic medicines play in the remembrance of interdependent and reciprocal cosmologies and mythologies. 

Psychedelic Therapy Music Forum

Matt “River” Baldwin, MFT, is a musician and psychotherapist living in San Francisco. He is a 2017 alumnus of the California Institute of Integral Studies’ Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapies and Research Program. He has produced 9 albums of music under his own name, collaborated with a variety of artists, and has toured widely as a performer. He specializes in the use of music in psychedelic psychotherapy, having designed playlists for a MAPS Phase 3 MDMA trial and a variety of other applications. River holds a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric from The University of California at Berkeley and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from John F. Kennedy University. He is the Director of the Psychedelic Music Therapy Forum for the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines.

Social Events Coordinator

Amy Jones, Ed.M, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in New York City and has specialized in working with women, artists, and the LGBTQ community for 15 years. Amy holds graduate degrees from both the Smith College School for Social Work and Harvard University, where she studied human development, gender and trauma. She will enter the MA/Ph.D program in Jungian and Archetypal Studies at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in the Fall of 2019. Amy assists with psychedelic integration work in her private practice, as well as treating depression, anxiety, addiction, relationship issues, and trauma. Amy is Chacruna’s Social Events Coordinator.

Social Media Team

Mattia Rüfenacht has a background in the Swiss financial industry. After working in the field for several years, he decided to deepen his knowledge of economics and finance with a bachelor of science in business administration at the Bern University of Applied Science. In his thesis, he investigated the dynamics between the depth of outreach and operational efficiency of microfinance institutions (MFIs) and the potential of blockchain technology to increase MFIs’ overall efficiency. Currently, he is a student at Bern University in the master of science in business administration program, with a focus on entrepreneurship. He is engaged in various projects such as the Global Shapers Community, the Psychedelic Society Switzerland, and the Ayahuasca Community (https://www.instagram.com/ayahuasca_community/), which he initiated in 2016. Mattia is Chacruna’s Social Media Team Director. 

Advisory Board

Daniela Peluso is a cultural anthropologist who has worked over the last two decades in Lowland South America, mostly with communities in Peru and Bolivia. She has been actively involved in various local efforts on issues relating to health, gender, indigenous urbanization and land-rights and works in close collaboration with indigenous and local organizations. Her publications focus mostly on indigenous ontologies, urbanization, violence and relatedness. She received her PhD in 2003 from Columbia University and is a senior lecturer in social anthropology at the University of Kent.
Draulio Barros de Araujo, Ph.D., is a professor of neuroimaging at the Brain Institute (UFRN), Natal, Brazil. In recent years, his research has focused on using functional neuroimaging methods (EEG and fMRI) to investigate the acute and lasting effects of ayahuasca. His research group has also been studying the antidepressant potential of ayahuasca.
Leopardo Yawa Bane is the son of a traditional chief of the Huni Kuin (an indigenous group also known as the Cashinahua). Leopard Yawa Bane is an international and national advocate of the preserving the ecological heritage of the native lands of his people. Born in the Cashinahua Reserve of the Jordan River in the State of Acre, Brazil, Bane and his brother Fabiano were sent from the villages to Brazilian cities at a young age by their father and chief, in order to learn new knowledge of the world outside the forest and to represent their people in tradition, heritage, and politics. Since then, Bane has completed his university studies, learning to speak Portuguese fluently, and has begun to represent his people nationally and internationally as an ambassador and healer. Bane and his people see the mystical and natural duality of the plants and how the spiritual world can be accessed through the plants found in their native areas. As is common with indigenous tribes around the world, and particularly in the Amazon, the Huni Kuin have a unique worldview, from creation to the beyond, derived from the wisdom of plants and their shared history. Bane grew up using and being trained in the use of medicinal plants by his grandfather. Fifteen years ago, he started using different medicinal plants with non-indigenous people. Bane brings the knowledge of his ancestors, of his people, and of the forest.
Monnica T. Williams is a board-certified licensed clinical psychologist and Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut in the Department of Psychological Sciences and Department of Psychiatry. She is also Clinical Director of the Behavioral Wellness Clinic, where she provides supervision and training to clinicians for empirically-supported treatments. Prior to her move to Connecticut in 2016, Dr. Williams served as the Director of the Center for Mental Health Disparities at the University of Louisville in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Dr. Williams’ research focuses on African American mental health, culture, and psychopathology, and she has published over 100 scientific articles on these topics. Current projects include the assessment of race-based trauma, unacceptable thoughts in OCD, improving cultural competence in the delivery of mental health care services, and interventions to reduce racism. This includes her work as a PI in a multisite study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. She also gives diversity trainings nationally for clinical psychology programs, scientific conferences, and community organizations. Dr. Williams sit on the Advisory Board of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines.

Chacruna Chronicles Consultants

Culture Section: Diana Negrín

Science Section: Sidarta Ribeiro

Integration Section: Ingmar Gorman, Sharon Rafferty, Geoff Bathje

Donate

 

Help support Chacruna's team by being a sponsor

Chacruna is a voluntary organization run by a team of experts and enthusiasts who give their time freely to bring education and cultural understanding about psychedelic plant medicines to a wider audience. We promote a bridge between the ceremonial use of sacred plants and psychedelic science and envisage a world where plant medicines and other psychedelics are preserved, protected, and valued as part of our cultural identity and integrated into our social, legal and health care systems. Help us to achieve our mission! Please consider becoming a monthly donor so that your impact spans the entire year. Support of any frequency or amount helps the cause.

To make a donation click the button below:

 

To register for monthly recurrent donations fill the form below:

Select a Donation Option (USD)

Enter Donation Amount (USD)

 

To make tax-deductable donations, through our fiscal sponsor, MAPS, click here.

Donate using Bitcoin

Donation Key: 3Qdb5T6CF2sh8jPegq6xfUsTYATqNaHBMo