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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. He can be found at

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.

Dr Stephanie Hope, RN, DNP is a Registered Nurse, certified nurse coach, and Doctor of Nursing Practice. She graduated with a DNP in the speciality of Integrative Health and Healing from the University of Minnesota in 2019. Stephanie has worked for the last 10 years in the nursing fields of oncology, hospice, and health coaching. In 2011 she served as study guide for NYU's Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety project, guiding cancer patients through psychedelic journeys with psilocybin mushrooms. She is a Reiki practitioner and a student of yoga, meditation, shamanic healing, astrology, plant medicine, music and dance, and the sacred teachings of many faiths. She currently resides with her fiance in an intentional community in the Catskills region of New York. She can be found at

Naku Kiwa, RN was born in Uganda and lived in several countries in her early childhood. She migrated to Canada with her father and four siblings to escape political persecution. Growing up she always had interests in nature, learning about different cultures and often daydreamed of the galaxies and mythology. She studied nursing in Canada and moved to the US to reunite with her birth mother. Her nursing career has been very colorful - she has worked in gerontology, dialysis, psychiatry, trauma/med surg, home care, and hospice. Hospice care deepened her spiritual connection to the universe. While living in NYC, she started practicing yoga and meditation and began research in nutrition, sustainability and shamanism. She also obtained her permaculture certification. She travelled to Costa Rica to further her studies and worked on an eco-farm, also spending time studying fungi in an intentional community. Presently she is working on a farm in upstate NY in a spiritual community. Her interests include mushroom cultivation, shamanism/indigenous studies, caring for the land, children and universal family. 

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

Tuesday, November 23,
in conversation with Angela Ward, RN, BSN, CPTR

Angela Ward, BSN, RN, CPTR, and Soul Midwife, is the Lead Coach at Guardian at the Gateway, which supports people on their healing journey, using nurse coaching and psychedelic-informed therapy approaches. Originally a Labor and Delivery nurse, she has dedicated her career to bringing safe and legal psychedelic medicine as a tool to help people heal in a deep way. She has many hours logged supporting people through expanded states of consciousness, as well as extensive training in psychedelic-assisted therapy, and is a member of the Leadership Circle for the Organization of Psychedelic & Entheogenic Nurses. 

She is currently working one-on-one or in groups with remarkable clients who are courageously awakening through transformational experiences and taking their healing into their own hands, as well as teaching the next wave of Psychedelic Nurse Coaches and Psychedelic Doulas. Learn more at and

Dec 16, 2021 in conversation with Wendy Marussich, PhD, RN, PMHNP (c)

Elizabeth Willis RN, MS, PMHNP(c) is a co-founder of OPENurses and has practiced as an emergency department registered nurse (ED RN) in critical care settings for a decade. Her nursing path began at Sonoma State University in Sonoma County, California and has since taken her to many amazing places locally, as well as nationally and internationally. Psychedelics, peer-support, harm reduction, and nursing are areas where she has received advanced training and has cultivated deep experiences. Prior to and during nursing school, she volunteered and worked for organizations as diverse as the Humane Society of Sonoma County, Planned Parenthood, the Red Cross, and Sutter VNA Hospice. After completing her residency at Harrison Medical Center in Washington State, she returned to the Bay Area by way of Highland Hospital in Oakland, then next, in 2015, to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where she currently works as a front-line provider and is a member of the ED Disaster Committee and Green Team. Liz is also proud to be working as a teaching assistant in the innovative Integrative Psychiatry Institute’s Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Training Program.

Passionate about humanitarian work and disaster response, Liz has volunteered as a nurse for the Red Cross in Tennessee for tornado relief, TIMMY in Ecuador, and has served with other like-minded souls in Bolivia, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, and Laos. Since 2013, as a volunteer with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) for ZENDO Project, Liz has participated in all roles including medical lead and supervisor, training others in psychedelic harm reduction and holding space safely at numerous events and festivals in the United States, Costa Rica, and South Africa. She is a 2017 graduate of the second cohort of the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) Certificate in Psychedelic Therapies and Research (CPTR) Program and she earned a Master of Science (MS) degree in 2020 from UCSF’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Program. Her capstone residency was in community mental health at Santa Rosa Community Health Centers in Sonoma County following clinical immersions focusing on Psychiatric Emergency Services, Urgent Care, and primary care in urban health centers for underserved populations in San Francisco. Liz facilitated a women’s health group at MSC South Shelter throughout her program. In 2021, she was honored to serve as a supervisor for the launch of the pioneering psychedelic peer-support line — Fireside Project. Her personal healing journey began in Peru working within Shipibo traditions and ultimately led her to Teotihuacán, where her path as a Moondancer and as a Pipe Carrier walking in the Nahuatl lineage was initiated. Liz is looking forward to her future role as a PMHNP where she will continue to fulfill her mission:

To honorably bring psychedelic medicines and plant entheogens to the western medical model by elevating the art, science, and spirituality of nursing in the fields of psychedelic-assisted therapies and research.

January 26, 2022 in conversation with Wendy Marussich, PhD, RN, PMHNP (c)

Caroline Dorsen, PhD, FNP-BC, FAAN (she/her) is a nurse scholar, educator, and clinician whose passion is the intersection of physical health, mental health, substance use and social justice. She was a faculty member at NYU for 15 years before joining Rutgers School of Nursing as an Associate Dean in 2020.

Caroline has worked as a nurse practitioner for over 20 years. She currently serves as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for Community Health Network (CHN) and is a Senior Associate Editor of the journal Annals of LGBTQ Public and Population Health. She has been a member of numerous diversity, equity and inclusion taskforces, including for the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, and is a member of the Psychiatric Mental Health Expert Panel for the American Academy of Nursing. Along with her research related to the impact of bias on health inequities, Caroline’s research has focused on the underground use of psychedelic medicines for health and healing. Her current study is examining the impact of psychedelic use and parenting self-efficacy. She has authored or coauthored numerous papers on the use of psychedelics, including the first article on psychedelics in the American Journal of Nursing since 1964 (with co-authors Andrew Penn, Stephanie Van Hope and Billy Rosa). She spoke at the 14th annual Horizons Psychedelic Conference on the role of community in psychedelic science.

Caroline received a BA in Anthropology from UC Berkeley, a BS in Nursing at NYU, a Master’s degree at Yale, and a PhD in Nursing Research and Theory at NYU. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in translational science at NYU Langone Health. In recognition of her expertise as an educator, Caroline was the 2020 recipient of the Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Award at NYU Meyers College of Nursing. In 2020, she was also the recipient of NYU’s MLK, Jr Faculty Award sponsored by the President and Provost for “exemplifying the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through teaching excellence, leadership, social justice activism, and community building.” She was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing in 2021.

Feb 16, 2022, in conversation with Andrew Penn, MS, PMHNP

Joshua White, JD (he/him/his) is Founder and Executive Director of Fireside Project, which operates the first national peer support line specifically aimed at helping people in the midst of psychedelic experiences and processing past psychedelic experiences. Joshua believes deeply in the power of peer support and in the role of support lines as key components of an equitable community mental health ecosystem. Prior to launching Fireside Project, Joshua spent seven years as a volunteer counselor on Safe & Sound's TALK Line, which provides support to parents with young children. He also provided in-person psychedelic peer support with the Zendo Project. Joshua has spent 17 years as a lawyer, mostly as a Deputy City Attorney at the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, where he focused on suing businesses exploiting vulnerable communities and co-teaching a nationally renowned clinic at Yale Law School.

March 22, 2022, in conversation with Liz Willis, RN, MS

Emma Knighton, MA (she/they) is a white, queer, able-bodied femme. She is a somatic trauma therapist, psychedelic integration therapist, and embodied organizer. Emma is the Co-Executive Director of the American Psychedelic Practitioners Association. Emma specializes in working with folks with complex PTSD from childhood abandonment, neglect, and sexual abuse in their clinical work. Her approach is grounded in queer, consent, and feminist theories and she works from an anti-oppression/pro-liberation lens. They offer organizational training in trauma-informed care (TIC), promoting the integration of TIC principles into clinical care, employee relations, and corporate structure. Emma teaches classes on integrating kink-based consent practices into psychedelic-assisted therapy. Emma is passionate about embodied community and believes that psychedelic healthcare and policy/regulation must come from those who practice and those who benefit. She believes that integration is a life-long practice, and strives to live life with integrated spirit and body. Emma holds a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Bastyr University, a Certificate in Psychedelic Assisted Therapy and Research from the California Institute of Integral Studies, and a Master’s level certificate in Holistic Health from St. Catherine University. She has completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training and has training in trauma-informed yoga practices. Emma engages in on going training in somatic abolitionism, consent, and conscious leadership.

April 28, 2022, in conversation with Angela Ward, BSN, RN, CPTR

Heather Honstein, MSN, RN is a Research Nurse with Sunstone Therapies, a psychedelic research organization that provides access to cancer patients and other individuals through a variety of research protocols. She has worked on administering protocols focusing on both Psilocybin and MDMA-assisted therapy, with other protocols in the pipeline. She has worked on analyzing and codifying data for publication and to optimize patient outcomes by looking for trends and patterns in Sunstone's first Investigator Initiated Trial. She has also assisted in writing manuscripts for publication and has collaborated with the Chief Medical Officer and Therapy Team in creating additional protocols and follow-up studies for our target population. In a fusion of her love for music and psychedelic-assisted therapy, she has also worked with Bill Richards and Brian Richards on updating the "Hopkins Psilocybin Playlist" to incorporate a more global and inclusive soundscape for Psilocybin sessions at Sunstone. A Registered Nurse by training, formerly working in Critical Care, she will be pursuing a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner certificate in the Fall. She comes to the psychedelic research space from the professional wellness world, with a background in yoga and sound meditation.

May 25, 2022, in conversation with Wendy Marussich, RN, PhD

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