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The Wisconsin Psychedelic Research and Education Working Group is an established cohort of scientists, teachers, and clinicians on the UW Madison campus that has completed several clinical trials of psilocybin and MDMA and is moving forward with new studies and educational endeavors. At present, these efforts are building on the successful track record of psychedelic research at UW-Madison, leveraging abundant cross-campus collaborative efforts and the unique internal partnerships available (Center for Healthy Minds, Center for Sleep and Consciousness, American Institute of the History of Pharmacy). These studies have benefited from gracious early buy-in from not-for-profit partners. Moving forward, the Working Group is seeking additional donor support to maximize impact and launch the full scope of this ambitious program.
Motivated by evidence of therapeutic success, the UW Working Group is engaged in clinical trials seeking to support applications to the FDA for approval of MDMA for treating PTSD, and psilocybin for treating depression and substance use disorders (opioids or methamphetamine). These ongoing efforts are integrated with pre-clinical and clinical studies into the molecular and psychological mechanisms by which the observed benefits occur, but additional support is needed to move these novel efforts beyond the pilot phase and put them in a favorable position to secure some of the earliest Federal grant dollars expected to be allocated to psychedelic research.
The Working Group is also actively developing a robust slate of transdisciplinary educational and outreach programs that address the scientific, historical, ecological, and sociocultural impacts of psychedelics. Such efforts include the recent approval of the first psychedelic-focused Master’s degree at the UW Madison, as well as organizing local educational symposia. Additional fiscal resources would not only allow the Working Group to enhance the reach of these programs, but also to move toward support for training of additional treatment facilitators that prepare and attend subjects receiving psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy treatments.
A key effort of the Working Group across all of these activities is to engage underserved populations regarding barriers to acceptance and access to psychedelic clinical research studies and training, and donations to support these desperately needed health equity programs are needed and welcomed as well.
Wisconsin Psychedelic Research and Education Fund Goals
The Psychedelic Research and Education Fund helps to support the activities of the Working Group. The Fund seeks to support clinical studies, particularly for disorders and populations that are not currently being included in existing clinical trials, and for mechanistic studies of psychedelic effects. Funds are also used to support the expansion of treatment sites on and off-campus, avoiding the bottleneck of having only one treatment room. Additionally, the Fund will support psychedelic research training programs and educational symposia on scientific findings of treatments with psychedelics, including the impact of psychedelics on indigenous and modern cultures.