Psychedelic Medicine @ Harvard

See IMPACT section below for Testimonials and key effects of our event.

October 10, 2018


Its theory & practice, history & future: featuring best-selling author Michael Pollan, MAPS Founder & Executive Director Rick Doblin, psychedelic and brain science researchers Robin Carhart-Harris (Imperial College, London) and Matthew Johnson (Johns Hopkins School of Medicine), psychedelic therapist Anja Loizaga-Velder (Instituto Nierika and UNAM), and psychiatrist Franklin King (Massachusetts General Hospital), as moderated by psychiatrist and author Julie Holland.

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This event was presented by The Psykia Institute (formerly The Gift Psychedelic Society), in partnership with Harvard Medical School Program in NeuroscienceHarvard Medical School Program in Education, the Harvard Brain Science Initiative, The Broad Institute, and The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).


Encouraged by the panel and academic validation, Massachusetts General Hospital has begun an initiative to run its first ever psychedelic study. Additionally, the panel led to the formation of two distinct undergraduate and graduate student-organized groups at Harvard with over 70 student & faculty members:

  • Harvard GSAS Association for Meditation and Psychedelic Studies (Graduate)

  • Harvard Undergraduate Science of Psychedelics Club

Dr. Franklin King, an attending psychiatrist and Clinical Research Fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, wrote:

“As the local panelist, I can say that the event helped catalyze two important relationships that have been instrumental in establishing a research group for the first human study examining psychedelics at Harvard in decades, and would be the first ever to take place at Mass General Hospital. The panel was able to bring together attendees from the Harvard and MIT communities from a wide array of disciplines, and helped me to establish additional connections with others who are interested in future research and clinical work in this arena, as well as assisted in the development of a new academic interest group at Harvard which, at the time of this writing, has already had its first two meetings and I expect will continue to develop into an important academic community in its own right.” 

Daniel Low and Wisam Reid, Harvard PhD students and Co-Founders of the Harvard GSAS Association for Meditation and Psychedelic Studies (Graduate) wrote:

“The panel was a historic event that broadcasted the evidence surrounding the use of psychedelics for the treatment of mental health disorders, especially because the topic had been silenced for many years. It was a demonstration of how much the scientific study of psychedelics has advanced. The auditorium was packed with more people viewing online, which showed how much interest there is among the Harvard and MIT academic communities. The event allowed many to start speaking about the research, which helped reduce the stigma associated to it. It was also extremely helpful for us because it allowed us to connect with new members for our soon-to-be-founded student group. We then were able to apply for the group's official creation proving that there is a lot of interest in the community and a lot of promise around psychedelic therapies. This event showed it was worth dedicating time and funding to help further understand psychedelic medicine.”

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