BrainFutures Launches Multi-Part Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Initiative

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

BrainFutures, a citizen advocacy nonprofit dedicated to improving human outcomes by assessing and advancing the practical applications of new scientific understanding of the brain, announces the launch of an issue brief series and coalition building effort focused on psychedelic-assisted therapy. 

Psychedelic-assisted therapies hold promise for treating some of the most intractable mental health issues, including post traumatic stress disorder and treatment-resistant depression. With studies at top research institutions like Johns Hopkins, New York University, and Imperial College London showing compelling results, psychedelic medicine is rapidly gaining broad public attention. At the same time, the complexity of issues surrounding the equitable adoption of these treatments—in particular around how to ensure successful adoption within the behavioral health field—is significant. By generating policy-oriented issue briefs and building multi-stakeholder collaborations, BrainFutures acts as a respected, neutral aggregator of knowledge capable of laying an unbiased foundation for the regulatory and reimbursement work ahead. 

Taking place over the next eighteen months, BrainFutures aims to serve as a force multiplier through its work which will: 1) educate policymakers, healthcare providers, and payers about the clinical applications and benefits of these substances, 2) better ensure safe and responsible engagement with these compounds toward a reimbursement pathway, and 3) foster strategic consensus building across field-leading collaborators in preparation for anticipated rapid market growth. BrainFutures will release a series of three issue briefs, including an evidence review, reimbursement and standards of care recommendations, and practice-based evidence guidelines reflecting gold-standard psychotherapeutic considerations. The dissemination of these briefs through influential stakeholder groups will help educate key healthcare and regulatory leaders and support science-driven decision making.    

Supporters of this multi-part effort include the 1440 Foundation, Austin and Gabriela Hearst Foundation, Cammack Family Charitable Gift Fund, Darla Moore Foundation, Evolve Foundation, Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, Walker Family Foundation, Randall Mays, Dick and Alex Simon, and an anonymous donor.  

Linda Raines, CEO of BrainFutures said, “We are grateful to our donors who have invested in this important work and feel confident that the contributions that BrainFutures makes will serve the field well. As we join the effort to advance psychedelic medicine use, the potential for broader societal impact is significant; we are confident that our work will help to advance our shared goal of safe, equitable access to these transformative treatments.” 

Holly McCormack, chief strategy officer of BrainFutures added, “With our extraordinary team of healthcare reform veterans and expert advisors, we are well positioned to anticipate the structural obstacles this fast-moving field will face as it merges with the incumbent behavioral health system. We aim to bring our expertise and networks together to help minimize the pitfalls brought about by this confluence, particularly as it relates to regulatory and reimbursement considerations.”

BrainFutures advisory board members who have been instrumental to the launch of this effort include behavioral health leader and former Magellan Health CEO Dr. Henry Harbin, John Cammack, and Charlie Hartwell. BrainFutures also welcomes Johns Hopkins psychologist and psychedelics pioneer William A. Richards, PhD, to its advisory board.  

About BrainFutures:

BrainFutures is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to assessing and advancing the practical application of neuroscience research to maximize human potential. Breakthroughs in our understanding of the brain have the potential to improve learning outcomes for children, maintain sharp thinking as we age, optimize functioning at work, and enhance treatment for a mental health or substance use problem. Since 2015, BrainFutures has provided rigorous analyses of new brain health research to share how advances can positively affect all areas of life. To learn more about BrainFutures, please visit