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Grant Supports Development of Training for Psychiatrists in Psychedelic Medicine

March 10, 2022

Physician-scientists at three major U.S. medical schools will collaborate to develop a curriculum to train psychiatrists in the practice of psychedelic medicine.

The project, a collaboration between Yale School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and NYU Grossman School of Medicine, will be funded by a $1 million grant provided by a group of generous donors.

The researchers say there will soon be a need for psychiatrists to prescribe psychedelic-assisted treatment in the United States and internationally. As psychedelic-assisted therapies advance toward approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the need to train psychiatrists in these new treatment modalities has become increasingly urgent.

"Ensuring that patients receive high-quality care, delivered safely and equitably, is fundamental to the future success of psychedelic medicine," said Carey Turnbull, president of Heffter Research Institute, which collected donations for the grant. "The development of this curriculum will lay the foundation for the training of medical professionals equipped to offer such care."

Research into the use of psilocybin, MDMA, and other psychedelic-assisted therapies has shown remarkable promise for the treatment of a range of mental health conditions, including major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, treatment resistant depression, alcohol use, and other substance abuse disorders.

Positive results from clinical trials suggest that the landscape for mental health treatment is set to shift dramatically over the coming years as psychedelic-assisted therapies gain FDA approval for use in the treatment of patients.

Psychiatrists are poised to play a leading role in this emerging field of treatment. However, psychiatry residency programs currently offer no systematic training in psychedelic medicine or psychedelic therapy.

To address this need, this grant will provide funding to the researchers from Yale, Johns Hopkins, and NYU to develop and pilot a cutting-edge curriculum for training in psychedelic psychiatry, as well as educational materials for medical professionals at all levels of training.

The proposed curriculum will be developed in consultation with Dr. Janis Phelps, founder of the Center for Psychedelic Therapy & Research at the California Institute for Integral Studies.

"This is an exciting initiative at an exciting time," said Yale's Benjamin Kelmendi, MD, and Christopher Pittenger, MD, PhD, in a joint statement. "With this generous support, we and our colleagues at Hopkins and NYU will be able to produce a training program for future leaders in psychedelic medicine, firmly grounded within the medical community."

Kelmendi and Pittenger are co-directors of the Yale Program for Psychedelic Science, which supports the researchers who are investigating the effects of psychedelic agents on the mind and brain, their therapeutic potential, and their place in society.

"In addition to receiving formal training, including supervised clinical practice in psychedelic-assisted treatment, graduates will be well equipped to generate and integrate new knowledge in this growing field, and to be an essential community resource for expertise in psychedelic medicine," said Stephen Ross, MD, associate director for the NYU Langone Center for Psychedelic Medicine and director of its Research and Training Program.

By adhering to ADGME Common Program Requirements for one-year medical specialty fellowships, this curriculum will pave the way for ACGME accreditation in the future. Completion of this advanced curriculum would equip trainees with the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to be leaders in the emergent field of psychedelic-assisted treatment.

The work is made possible by generous contributions from Carey and Claudia Turnbull, Tim Ferriss's Saisei Foundation, Bill Linton, Michael and Lisa Cotton, the Evolve Foundation, Alan Fournier, and Kevin Ryan.

About Heffter Research Institute

The Heffter Research Institute promotes research of the highest scientific quality with the classic psychedelics to contribute to a greater understanding of the mind leading to the improvement of the human condition, and to alleviate suffering. Since the founding of Heffter in 1993, Heffter affiliated researchers account for 63% of top-cited articles on classic psychedelics.

Yale Program for Psychedelic Science

The Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research

NYU Center for Psychedelic Medicine

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on March 07, 2022