Karen Cooper, RN, BSN, MA, has been a Sub-investigator in Therapy Dyad and Project Manager at the Fort Collins MAPS study site since 2016. She was Lead Guide and Clinical Research Nurse for the University of Wisconsin’s Psilocybin Pharmacokinetic Study and served as the study trainer for Usona Institute in Madison, WI from 2013-2016. She has served in various capacities for the Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research at CIIS, including mentor, guest faculty, admissions and advisor, and helped to launch their inaugural program.


Karen’s Master’s degree in Holistic Health Education at John F. Kennedy University included a focus on transpersonal and somatic psychology; she’s a Licensed Bodyworker and Massage Therapist is certified as a yoga teacher, Reiki and Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner, and public health nurse. Some say she is “Wise Woman,” “Medicine Woman,” or a “Healer,” but she self-describes as a Guide helping others to navigate their inner terrain towards cultivating acceptance and tenderness towards self and others. She offers consultation, mentoring, and coaching in private practice to those curious investigating guiding in the research setting, or finding meaning from psychedelic and alternate reality experiences. 


Karen’s nursing career spans more than 30 years in acute, community, clinic, research, business, and academic environments serving patients and clients from prenatal to end-of-life, and has supported her love for teaching, science, consciousness, psychology, psychedelics, and spirituality. Her outside interests include gardening, fiber arts, painting, cooking, and exploring the natural beauty and outdoor activities near her home in Northern Colorado with husband Dan Muller and their pup, Zev.

January 27, 2021, in conversation with Elizabeth Willis, PMHNP

Annie Mithoefer, RN, BSN  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 is currently co-investigator in MT1, a protocol allowing MAPS-trained therapists to receive their own MDMA-assisted session, she conducts MAPS Therapist Trainings with her husband, Michael, and is a supervisor for Phase 3 therapists. She is a Grof-certified Holotropic Breathwork Practitioner and is trained in Hakomi Therapy.

February 17, 2021, in conversation with Andrew Penn, PMHNP

Dr Robert Krause graduated from the Yale School of Nursing with his MSN in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing in 1998. In 2017 he received his DNP from Quinnipiac University. He lectured in psychiatry at Yale University in the Nursing and Medical School for twenty years before leaving in 2019. Dr. Krause was an instructor and adjunct assistant professor of philosophy at Western Connecticut State University and Quinnipiac University. Currently he precepts for Stony Brook University and is Visiting Faculty at the Graduate institute where he teaches in the Holistic Health and in the Consciousness Studies department.


Currently he is lead therapist and co-author of the treatment manual for the Psilocybin - Induced Neuroplasticity in the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder at the Yale School of Medicine. He is also a facilitator and co-researcher in a study of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy using Psilocybin for personal development at Regent’s University in London and taking place in Weert, The Netherlands. He maintains an integrative private psychiatry and therapy practice in New Haven. Dr. Krause has certifications in Trauma Therapy from Harvard University, Psychedelic Assisted Research and Integration ‘2016 and in Sex Therapy ‘2017 from the California Institute of Integral Studies. He studied to be a yoga instructor with Aum Pradesh Guar in Goa, India.


March 24, 2021, in conversation with Wendy Marussich, RN, PhD, PMHNP(c)

Julie D. Megler is a board certified nurse practitioner in psychiatry and family medicine. She received her Master’s of Science in Nursing from the University of Miami, Florida.  After graduating she worked at an emergency room (ER) in Detroit, Michigan.  Her ER experience illustrated the gap between medical and psychiatric care, and how the mind/body connection is often ignored. These gaps in care encouraged Julie to pursue a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner certificate at the University of California, San Francisco so she could develop a practice that integrates medicine and mental health. 


This path ultimately inspired Julie to co-found Sage Integrative Health, an integrative mental health and wellness center in Berkeley, CA.  Sage Integrative Health strives to weave together allopathic and holistic approaches to health incorporating psychedelic assisted therapy as is legal.  She is an approved therapist by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) for their upcoming expanded access program using MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment resistant PTSD. In addition to her clinical work, Julie has completed the Somatic Experiencing trauma training, is a mentor in the California Institute of Integral Studies Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research program, board member of ERIE (Entheogenic Research, Integration, & Education), has trained in ketamine assisted therapy with KRIYA Institute, and was program director for the Femtheogen Collaborative sponsored by the Riverstyx Foundation. Her current work focuses on ketamine assisted therapy, medication management, somatic therapy, and teaching about psychedelic assisted therapy. She also has spoken at several conferences, facilitated workshops, and co-authored book chapters on the therapeutic uses of psychedelic medicines and integration.

April 14, 2021, in conversation with Angela Ward, BSN, RN, CPTR

Sara Gael, MA received her Master’s degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology at Naropa University, and soon after Sara began working with MAPS in 2012, coordinating psychedelic harm reduction services at festivals and events worldwide with the Zendo Project. Sara was an Intern Therapist for the recently completed MAPS Phase 2 clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in Boulder, CO.

She maintains a private practice as a psychotherapist specializing in trauma and non-ordinary states of consciousness. Sara believes that developing a comprehensive understanding of psychedelic medicines through research and education is essential for the health and well being of individuals, communities, and the planet.

In conversation on May 14, 2021 with Elizabeth Willis, MS, PMHNP

Mariavittoria Mangini, PhD, FNP 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. In 2007, she co-founded the Women’s Visionary Council, a nonprofit organization that supports investigations into non-ordinary forms of consciousness and organizes gatherings of researchers, healers, artists, and activists whose work explores these states. She is Professor Emerita of Nursing at Holy Names University in Oakland, where she was the Director of the Family Nurse Practitioner program for 20 years, and is a faculty mentor in the Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research at California Institute of Integral Studies. Her current project is the development of a Thanatology program for the study of death and dying.


Bruce D Poulter, RN, MPH MAPS/MDMA Phase 3 therapist and trainer. Bruce, in his own words: I have been interested and worked much of my career with people in altered states of one form or another.  I began my health career as an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurse at University of California (UC) San Francisco Moffitt Hospital when the AIDS pandemic first emerged and began devastating our communities.  In response to the failure of ICU’s to improve the morbidity and mortality rates of their clients I received a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley in Health Planning and Policy.  Moving to Boulder,Colorado I then developed public health programs including one of the first certified nurse-midwife based perinatal programs serving low income women, and a program that identified and provided care for families at risk for abuse and neglect of their children. 


Frustrated with the public sector, I received training as a Rolf Structural Integration Practitioner and worked the next 25 years with people in chronic pain and later 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.  Returning from Spain, I was moved to run for the US senate as a progressive voice in stark contrast to the more common hopeless and stale political rhetoric.  I have provided harm reduction services thru Zendo and other organizations, and have now worked in many MAPS studies as a sub-investigator/therapist, beginning with MAPS MDMA for PTSD Boulder Study, to MAPS Healthy Volunteers Study and now with the MAPS Phase 3 Clinical trial.  In addition to my direct care work, I provide clinical supervision to our Phase 3 therapists as well as providing MAPS training for therapists moved by this powerful healing work.

in conversation on, June 16, 2021 with Andrew Penn, MS, PMHNP

in conversation on Monday, July 26, 2021 with Liz Willis, RN, MS 

Catherine Williams qualified as a Registered Nurse (General, Psychiatry and Community Health) and Registered Midwife, in 1996. She worked in Critical Care in ICUs, Trauma Units and in EMS and as a flight nurse on fixed and rotor wing ambulances. She has a PG Dip in Addiction Care and currently is an MNur candidate at Stellenbosch University, focusing on trauma informed care. Catherine is a certified Studio 3 de-escalation trainer and trauma therapy professional. Catherine is in private practice as a psychiatric/addiction nurse specialist and apart from seeing her own clients, works in multidisciplinary teams at The Lighthouse Clinic offering therapeutic ketamine and integration work, and at Recovery Outcomes providing continuing care for dual diagnosis, harm reduction and addiction recovery. Catherine has worked in really diverse and interesting practice areas intersecting with alcohol and substance use since 2012- she has worked in holistic primary addiction care, where she also taught meditation and trauma psychoeducation, was the RN lead for the first harm reduction research and demonstration project offering an outreach-based minimum package of services for HIV prevention with street-based people who use drugs, was the Health and Harm Reduction Services Coordinator for Afrikaburn from 2015 until 2020 running Sanctuary, a 24 hour safe support space, and at other festivals. She was fortunate to have been trained and supported by Zendo during the set-up phase, and with an amazing crew was able to expand the Afrikaburn Sanctuary services to include sexual assault and trauma support, drug checking (thanks to Dancesafe and Bunk Police), and de-escalation training and assistance in psychiatric emergencies. She is the founding President of IntNSA South Africa and co--founder of a new health tech nursing startup, NOOSi, aimed at economic nurse empowerment launching later this year. She has been providing one-on-one therapeutic ketamine since 2020, which is one of only 2 legal psychedelics available in South Africa. Her work includes themes of the therapeutic use of the self through presencing and embodiment, creating safe spaces (personally and politically), trauma healing, and emancipatory nursing praxis. She is fascinated by the intersections of unique nursing theories and psychedelic therapy, rather than only the transposition of other bodies of knowledge with which we overlap. We are honored to feature Catherine in our Nurse Luminary series and as our first international guest.

Catherine Willliams' Psychedelic Nursing Resources List

Tuesday August 17th 2021 in conversation with Wendy Marussich RN, PhD, PMHNP(c).

Andrew Penn, MS PMHNP  was trained as an adult nurse practitioner and psychiatric clinical nurse specialist at the University of California, San Francisco. He is board certified as an adult nurse practitioner and psychiatric nurse practitioner by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and completed extensive training in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy and Research  (CPTR) from the California Institute for Integral Studies (CIIS) in addition to being trained in psychedelic assisted therapy by MAPS and Usona Institute.


Currently, he serves as an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California-San Francisco School of Nursing where he teaches psychopharmacology, clinical interviewing, and psychopathology. Mr. Penn is also an attending psychiatric nurse practitioner with the San Francisco Veterans Administration Psychiatric NP Residency program where he provides medication and psychotherapeutic treatment for adult veterans and specializes in the treatment of affective disorders and trauma.  He serves as a student mentor for the


He was recently a study therapist in the phase III study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. He currently a Co-Investigator and study therapist in a phase II study of a psilocybin facilitated therapy treatment for depression and is assisting to design a study of a psilocybin-assisted therapy protocol for bipolar depression in the TRpR lab at UCSF.


A leading voice in nursing, he is a co-founder of the Organization of Psychedelic and Entheogenic Nurses (OPENurses) and co-authored the first article on psychedelic assisted therapies since 1964 in the flagship American Journal of Nursing. He is a former board member of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, California Chapter, and for the last decade has been a national leader in psychiatry, serving as co-chair for Sana Symposium, and on the steering committee for Psych Congress/Elevate where he has presented nationally on improving medication adherence, the science of cannabinoids in clinical practice, emerging psychedelic assisted psychotherapy modalities, treatment-resistant depression, diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder, and the art and science of psychopharmacologic practice. 

Sept 30, 2021, in conversation with Angela Ward, BSN, RN, CPTR

Dr. Kwasi Adusei, DNP, PMHNP is a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and co-founder of the Psychedelic Society of Western New York, out of which he developed a grassroots psychedelic harm reduction organization called The Sanctuary Project. Kwasi is a trainee of the MAPS sponsored MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD and was part of the first ever therapists of color cohort.


Kwasi sits on boards of the Psychedelic Medical Association, the Source Research Foundation and Reconsider. Currently he works at Horizon Health Services, a Western New York based nonprofit mental health organization where he works as a psychiatric nurse practitioner in their substance use disorder detox, long term rehabilitation and outpatient centers. Kwasi hosts discussions and presentations on psychedelic medicine to reduce stigma among clinicians and providers, working towards integration of psychedelic medicine in community mental health.

Oct 14, 2021, in conversation with Andrew Penn, MS, PMHNP