Who We Are
Our Board of Advisors meets biweekly to steer the Plant Medicine Healing Alliance in all its efforts.
Board of Advisors
Alissa Bazinet, Ph.D.
Dr. Alissa Bazinet is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Portland, OR. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology from the University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University, and has a background working in the Veterans Affairs hospital system, where she provided therapeutic services for Veterans with co-occurring PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and substance use disorders. She is a trained therapist in MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD, a longtime volunteer for the Zendo Project, an organization that provides peer support to individuals undergoing challenging psychedelic experiences at festivals and events, and a member of Oregon’s Governor appointed Oregon Psilocybin Advisory board which is the result of Oregon Ballot Measure 109 passed by voters in 2020.
She is currently in private practice at Somatic Center Portland, LLC, a collective of independent therapists, body workers, and other practitioners who’ve come together around the principle that the mind and body are not separate. There, she specializes in somatic, mindfulness-based, emotion-focused, and holistic methods of working with trauma, substance use, depression, anxiety, and chronic pain/illness. In addition, as part of her practice, she assists individuals in integrating experiences brought about by non-ordinary states of consciousness from outside community or spiritual settings.
She is passionate about bringing safe and accessible healing from plant medicines and psychedelic compounds to as many people in need as possible, by supporting their ethical use across a wide spectrum of settings – including traditional ceremonial and spiritual healing spaces, community circles, and medical clinics.
Dr. Angela Carter
Dr. Angela Carter is a licensed Naturopathic physician practicing in the Portland Area and a member of Oregon’s Governor appointed Oregon Psilocybin Advisory board. They are the founder and clinical director of the Marie Equi Institute, a non-profit health care organization focused on promoting the health and well being of the LGBTQI community of the Pacific Northwest. They also chair the Meaningful Care Conference, a biannual integrative LGBTQI medical conference in Portland, Oregon.
Dr. Carter works as a LGBTQI health advocate with several organizations including Basic Rights Oregon and Oregon Health and Sciences University to improve the culture of care for LGBTQI people in Oregon hospitals and medical facilities.
Dr. Carter teaches in a variety of settings; they have taught minor surgery, LGBTQI health and gynecology in medical schools, and have been a presenter on transgender health issues at national medical conferences.
Marca Cassity, BSN, LMFT
Marca is a therapist in private practice in Portland, Oregon. They are a researcher in psychedelic assisted psychotherapy at OHSU, and the Portland VA Hospital, and sit on the advisory board on diversity for the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).
Marca has over twenty years of experience in the healing arts, working with renowned therapists, spiritual teachers, artists, academics, and medicine people from around the world. After completing a BSN at the University of Oklahoma they worked as an ER and ICU nurse for many years, including being a first responder at the Oklahoma City bombing. Marca’s journey as a therapist began by working to overcome their own lived experience of trauma, and cultivating resilience as a two spirit, queer, mixed-race Native American who grew up on the Osage reservation of Oklahoma.
In addition to a depth of personal work, and study of trauma-focused therapies, Marca has found healing in Peyote ceremony of the Native American Church, and for the last eighteen years has been deeply involved with ayahuasca healing and integration work. Marca’s clinical training was at the Native American Health Center of San Francisco, with additional training at the Indian Country Child Trauma Center at the University of Oklahoma studying under Dr. Dolores Bigfoot. A critically acclaimed songwriter Marca delivers inspired folk rock spirit songs with Native nuances, that speak to overcoming hardship through resilience, in connection to nature, humor, love, compassion, spirituality, and heritage.
Michelle Christensen, MA
Claudia Cuentas, MA, SEP
Claudia Cuentas is a Peruvian marriage and family therapist I, a researcher and an educator, specializing in the treatment of healing trauma, trauma recovery, cultural identity and decolonization of healing. She is trained in Drama Therapy, Expressive Arts Therapy, Somatic Experiencing, and Trauma Inform Care. She also has extensive studies in Indigenous healing, from her native Aymara and Quechua lineages of South America.
Claudia started her journey as an educator and advocate of art, as a tool for healing and liberation. In becoming a therapist at the California Institute of Integral Studies, Claudia focused on serving immigrant communities, families and children. She has worked with undocumented families, refugees, homeless population and women survivors of violence, especially dealing with PTSD. Upon arriving to Portland, Oregon, Claudia joined the team at Conexiones, a Multicultural Center for Trauma Recovery. Claudia has completed parts A and B of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) MDMA Therapy Training Program. She continues to participate in ongoing training and education on the intersectionality of generational trauma, plant medicine science, eco-informed therapy, nervous system healing and indigenous knowledge.
Claudia currently has a private practice in Portland, Oregon. She is committed to continue providing ethical, educational and integrated work to support indigenous, black, brown and immigrant communities recovering from trauma. Claudia is also a recording musician, a singer songwriter and the founder of the Canta Colibrí Project.
Pilar Hernandez Wolfe, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT
Pilar Hernandez-Wolfe has a Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Professional Counselor, and approved clinical supervisor. She has been involved in academia for the past 21 years. She has taught, written and conducted research in national and international contexts including her native Colombia and Mexico. She pioneered the concept of vicarious resilience in the context of torture survivor treatment and mental health services addressing politically based violence. She has authored numerous peer reviewed articles and chapters in mental health, and in the training of clinicians, including the book “A Borderland’s view of Latinos, Latin Americans and Decolonization, Rethinking Mental Health. Her latest co-authored book on vicarious resilience was recently published in Spanish by the Javeriana University in Colombia. Her current interests involve traumatic stress, resilience in the context of decolonization, ecoinformed therapies and systems thinking and the animal human bond. She has a private practice in Portland.
Nathan is serving as the Facilitator for the Plant Medicine Healing Alliance. Previously he was an advisor to Oregon’s ballot Measure 109 (Psilocybin Therapy Initiative), helped with ballot Measure 110, and was a founding member of the Craft Cannabis Alliance and the campaign to create interstate adult-use cannabis commerce by the end of 2021.
Along with his brother Aaron, Nathan founded East Fork Cultivars in 2015. He also serves on the Oregon Cannabis Association’s Board of Directors as its Vice Chair and the Co-Chair of its Political Action Committee. He is a leader in Oregon’s political community and served as a Senior Policy Advisor to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.
He was Mayor Wheeler’s Deputy Campaign manager for Mayor and prior to that he worked as the Interim Executive Director at Next Up (formerly the Bus Project), a youth empowerment and civic engagement nonprofit. He also served as the Oregon Senate Finance Director and was Chief of Staff to Senator Mark Hass. He’s born and raised in East Portland, and attended the University of Oregon where he received his BA in City Planning, Public Policy, and Management.
Leon is committed to cultivating community coherence by building the strength and resilience of local networks. He takes his passion for social change into all his work, whether production managing events, nourishing group dynamics, designing experiences, and navigating change. He loves working with group process methods that access the collective intelligence such as the World Café, Open Space, the healing power of creating healthy boundaries in work and life, as well as the transformational power of dance and festival culture.
Dr. Rachel Knox, MD, MBA
Dr. Knox is a cannabinoid medicine specialist and clinical endocannabinologist with a background in family, integrative, and functional medicine. Along with her family she founded Doctors Knox, Inc., the American Cannabinoid Clinics, and Pivital Edu. Dr. Knox is a policy and regulatory consultant on cannabis and psychedelic health equity, and her commitment to reform extends into educating communities of color about the role entheogens can play in addressing the Minority Health Disparity Gap, and the broader way cannabis can impact the total wellbeing of these communities through creating health equity.
Dr. Knox is chair of the Association for Cannabis Health Equity and Medicine (ACHEM), immediate past chair of the Oregon Cannabis Commission, member of Portland’s Cannabis Policy Oversight Team, member of Oregon’s Psilocybin Advisory Board, board member for Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, and Minority Cannabis Business Association, advisory board member of the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine, co-founder and president of the Cannabis Health Equity Movement, and board member for Nuleaf PDX.
Chad, who lives in Lake Oswego, is a decorated Navy SEAL (Ret.) with proven leadership skills and diverse operational experience in military special operations. He spent almost 20 years touring the world as a SEAL, from Africa and South America to Iraq and Afghanistan. When he retired in 2017 and returned to Portland, where he grew up, the stress and adrenaline that elevated him to an elite level in the armed forces had made readjusting to civilian life a struggle. He struggled with post traumatic stress. In 2020 Chad became a key spokesperson for Ballot Measure 109 as he explained that psilocybin therapy had saved him. He now helps run retreats to help other veterans who have returned home and struggle with PTSD.
Adam Linder, MA
For over a decade Adam worked in the tech and sales industry in the San Francisco Bay Area. Concurrently, he embarked on a journey studying and experiencing sacred plant medicines, primarily mentored by Indigenous medicine carriers from the Andean Cosmovision lineage. These profound teachings, both from plants and wisdom keepers, fueled his decision to change his life path. In 2020 he graduated from Naropa University with a MA in Resilient Leadership where he focused on issues of social and environmental justice. He is currently training to become a certified addiction recovery and psychedelic/entheogenic integration coach while also co-facilitating immersive nature therapy retreats in rural Oregon.
Mike Maki is an environmental activist and entrepreneur in agriculture and forestry with forty plus years of experience in Earth repair. He is a co-founder at Agroforestry Associates, a founding member of the Tilth Association, and the CEO of Viviendo Soil Solutions. Tilth is the Pacific Northwest’s regional organic agriculture association, alive and well after 40 years. Ecological forest management and product development. Climate controlled growing environments utilizing local resources to grow edible and other mushrooms. Appropriate biotech meets farming and forestry!
Mason Marks, MD, JD
Dr. Mason Marks is a law professor at Gonzaga University, a fellow in the ethics of technological and biomedical innovation at Harvard Law School and Harvard Ethics, and an affiliated fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. In 2021, Governor Kate Brown appointed him to the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board, which is working with the Oregon Health Authority to establish the nation’s first regulated system for psilocybin therapy.
Mason’s academic scholarship focuses on technology, health policy, and drug regulation. His work has been published or is forthcoming in the U.C. Irvine Law Review, the U.C. Davis Law Review, the Yale Journal of Law and Technology, the Administrative Law Review, the NYU Journal of Legislation & Public Policy, and books published by Cambridge University Press. He has written about law and technology for the Washington Post, the Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, the Seattle Times, the Oregonian, Wired, Slate, Gizmodo, Vice News, the Hill, Stat News, and the Houston Chronicle. His research has been featured by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, ABC News, the Telegraph, and NPR’s All Things Considered.
Rebecca Martinez is a queer, Xicana writer, educator, and community organizer based in Portland. She served as Volunteer Coordinator on the Measure 109 campaign and is co-founder of Fruiting Bodies Collective, a mission-based podcast, resource hub and online platform serving the growing psychedelic healing community. Fruiting Bodies exists to bridge the gap between industry insiders and the eager-to-learn general public, with a focus on uplifting marginalized communities toward liberation for all.
Psilocybin mushrooms helped Rebecca heal from family trauma involving spiritual abuse and police violence. Her path of psychedelic healing is detailed in her book, Edge Play: Tales From a Quarter Life Crisis. After witnessing firsthand the profound harms done by the prison system and the healing potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness, she became a fierce advocate for drug policy reform and societal transformation. She is dedicated to seeing a complete end to the war on drugs during her lifetime, beginning locally in her home state of Oregon.
Rebeca Rocha, PhD, LCSW
Rebeca is a mixed race Brazilian-born cisgender woman with her LCSW and PhD in Clinical Psychology and Culture from Universidade de Brasília, Brazil. Considering the impact of oppression and trauma, she offers social justice-oriented, trauma-focused, and culturally sensitive psychotherapy services at her private practice in Portland, OR (asecounselingservices.com). Her PhD dissertation dedicated to the long-term ritualistic use of ayahuasca and its relationship with substance use patterns. Rebeca is also a trainee of MAPS’s MDMA assisted psychotherapy.
Les Szabo is Director of Constructive Capital at Dr. Bronner’s, the top-selling natural brand of soap in North America. He joined Dr. Bronner’s in 2013.
Les oversees business development activities for the company, which includes impact investing, philanthropy, and commercial support of Dr. Bronner’s global supply chain projects. He currently sits on the boards of Serendi Coco Samoa Ltd., Regenerative Organic Feed Co., and LifeDose. Les has twenty years of experience working in the natural products and apparel industries. He was a co-founder of Living Harvest, Dunderdon, and Infinity Sport.
Les currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and kids.
David Bronner is the CEO (Cosmic Engagement Officer) of Dr. Bronner’s, the family-owned top-selling natural brand of soap in North America. David along with other family execs cap their compensation at 5 times the lowest paid warehouse position, and donate all profits not needed for business development to the causes and charities they believe in. David graduated with a degree in Biology from Harvard in’95, and by end of that year graduated with a real degree from the school of psychedelic medicine in Amsterdam, heart and mind blown wide open, and dedicated his life to responsible integration of cannabis and entheogens into American and global culture. He joined the board of MAPS in 2015. He also serves on the board of the Regenerative Organic Alliance, which promotes regenerative organic agriculture and ethical dietary choice, to support a more humane, sustainable and fair farming system worldwide (www.regenorganic.org).
Jesse Gould is Founder and President of the Heroic Hearts Project, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit pioneering psychedelic therapies for military veterans. After being deployed as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan three times, he founded the Heroic Hearts Project in 2017 to spearhead the acceptance and use of ayahuasca therapy as a means of addressing the current mental health crisis among veterans. The Heroic Hearts Project has raised over $350,000 in scholarships from donors including Dr. Bronner’s and partnered with the world’s leading ayahuasca treatment centers, as well as sponsoring psychiatric applications with the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Georgia.
Jesse helps shape treatment programs and spreads awareness of plant medicine as a therapeutic method. He has spoken globally about psychedelics and mental health, and received accolades including being recognized as one of the Social Entrepreneurs To Watch For In 2020 by Cause Artist. Driven by a mission to help military veterans struggling with mental trauma, he is best known for his own inspiring battle with PTSD and his recovery through ayahuasca therapy.
Jesse’s work can be seen and heard at NY Times, Breaking Convention, San Francisco Psychedelic Liberty Summit, People of Purchase, The Freq, Psychedelics Today Podcast, Kyle Kingsbury Podcast, Cause Artist, and The GrowthOp.
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 a Chair of the Board of Directors of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines and 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.
Bia Labate, Ph.D
Dr. Beatriz Caiuby Labate (Bia Labate) is a queer Brazilian anthropologist based in San Francisco. She 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, religion and social justice. She is Executive Director of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines (chacruna.net, chacruna-la.org).
She is Public Education and Culture Specialist at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), and Adjunct Faculty at the East-West Psychology Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). She is also co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Group for Psychoactive Studies (NEIP) in Brazil. She is author, co-author, and co-editor of twenty-two books, two special-edition journals, and several peer-reviewed articles.
Life-changing early experiences led Bob Otis to engage a lifetime of education and practice with sacred plants. Bob has been passionately driven for over 35 years to openly explore traditional healing and entheogenic work with his father and family, independently, and with mentoring teachers and colleagues. Journeys in Guatemala, Brazil, Mexico, India, Indonesia, Jamaica and other areas were dedicated to healing practice and learning. Personal and group work with sacred plants and traditions guide his passion for careful, respectful and appreciative relationship with what he believes to be soul healing Sacraments.
Among other relevant affiliations, Bob Otis is Chief Garden Steward for Sacred Garden Community Church, was the founding Chairperson of Decriminalize Nature Oakland and is a Steering Committee member of the Sacred Plant Alliance, an organization incubated by the Chacruna Institute. Following Psychology and Religious studies degrees from University of California Santa Cruz, Bob earned a Master’s degree in Divinity from University of Chicago; and engaged post-graduate work in sociology and cognitive science at New York University. Bob’s professional career in healthcare and life science research has generated over 50 publications including peer-reviewed articles, acknowledgment in the journal “Nature” for published work, contributions to academic texts, and multiple conference presentations.
Ayize Jama-Everett, M.Div, MA, MFA
Ayize is an African-American science fiction and speculative fiction writer, as well as a practicing therapist. He is the author of the novels The Liminal People, The Liminal War, and The Entropy of Bones, and of the graphic novel Box of Bones. Originally from New York, he now calls the Bay Area his home.
Miriam Volat, MS
Miriam Volat, M.S. is a researcher, educator, organizer, facilitator and ecologist with a passion for soils and nutrient cycles. She has served the IPCI Board of Directors as the organization’s Executive Director since November of 2017 to ensure the conservation of sacred Peyote medicine and the Indigenous way of life.
Miriam Volat works personally and professionally to promote health in all systems. She works as a facilitator, researcher, educator, and community organizer to increase broad-based community and ecological resiliency, especially in native communities. Her work focuses on the intersection of biological and socio-cultural diversity. Miriam has never stopped exploring nutrient cycles and soil ecology, the emphasis of her M.S. work in the UC Davis Vegetable Crops Dept. She also has degrees in political science and environmental studies.
Her life’s work at Riverstyx now includes supporting psilocybin and MDMA research including those involving religious clergy, deep eco-ministry for direct-experience religious transformation, composting toilets and human bodies, and indigenous medicine, land, and cultural conservation, supporting balanced relationships between humans and our ecosystem. As a mom, she is fortunate her daughter, Cora, also supports her work and participates passionately on her many adventures. Riverstyx and Miriam are unequivocal in their commitment to the mission of MAPS and MAPSBC.