An important acknowledgement and update announcement from the Board of Psychedelic Medicine and Therapies to our valued community
Dear Psychedelic Community,
I am NiCole T. Buchanan and I am writing to you as the interim CEO for The Board of Psychedelic Medicine and Therapies (BPMT) to update you on several significant changes that have occurred at BPMT.
First, I want to acknowledge that early on BPMT made some foundational mistakes that caused harm to members of our beloved community. Our desire to fast track the credentialing exam left us vulnerable to prioritizing the ultimate outcome (the exam) over ensuring the process meets the needs of the larger psychedelic community. Several of you took the time and bravely shared your concerns about our process and encouraged us to slow down, recenter on our values and our mission. As a representative of BPMT, I want to thank you for helping us see our faults and challenging us to better embody our values moving forward. You cared enough to hold BPMT accountable for our missteps and the harm we caused. This is a gift that I take seriously, and I am grateful for the opportunity to grow BPMT and to earn your trust. In the coming months, I hope that you will see the ways BPMT has re-centered on our mission and vision, making BPMT stronger as an organization in service to our broad psychedelic community.
In November 2022, the Inaugural Board of Directors and Interim Executive Director resigned from BPMT to allow for new leadership during this transition. I am grateful for their leadership and thank them for their contributions to BPMT. Although they are not formally working within BPMT, many of them have graciously offered their expertise, consultation, support and unwavering commitment to BPMT’s success as we continue moving forward to fulfill its mission. While I understand that transitions are challenging, I am also excited about our new directions to restructure the organization and renew our approach, systems, and processes to embody diversity, equity, and inclusion in our efforts to promote an accessible and inclusive credentialing test and processes.
I want to reiterate that BPMT is committed to ensuring that our certification exam and process are equitable, ethical, and meet the highest standards for quality. To achieve this, I have been gathering an excellent team to guide BPMT’s reboot. Since joining BPMT in January 2022, Gina Magaña, BPMT’s Program Manager, has been a valuable addition to the team, bringing a wealth of experience in project management and organizational processes. Gina not only acts as the project manager, but she also plays a key role in mentoring and guiding the consultants of the team. Her leadership skills and extensive knowledge have been essential and are critical to our continued success as an organization. Gina’s impact on BPMT has been significant, and her experience and leadership skills will continue to be valuable assets as BPMT moves forward.
Governance & Board Elections
Our governance review, board nominations and seating process is being led by Vernetta Walker, JD,expert in board governance, leadership, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in non-profit organizations. She has been reviewing the current state of governance and making recommendations for how to embed inclusive excellence within our governance policies and processes moving forward. Toward this goal, she has conducted interviews with former Board of Directors and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) for insights regarding BPMT as we move forward with a complement of the leadership, equity and inclusion skills needed to advance the work of the organization.
Although we are still finalizing details, we are pleased to announce that we will have an open call for applications to reseat the BPMT Board of Directors. We intend to recruit a Board that will bring a wealth of experience in non-profit governance and best practices, DEI, Indigenous practices and ancestral wisdom, and psychedelic science and training to guide the organization through this transition. This broad range of expertise will effectively guide BPMT towards fulfilling its mission and embodying BPMT values.
Certification Exam & Credentialing
We believe input from our Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) is essential in creating an equitable and effective process moving forward. Historically, the SMEs were divided into the licensed and the unlicensed SMEs. As we assessed the composition of these two groups and consulted with SMEs about the language used to describe the two groups, we have renamed them as the Clinical and Research (C&R) SMEs and the Lineage and Legacy (L&L) SMEs. We believe these names better highlight the unique contributions that each group provides and reduces some of the negative attributions that are sometimes applied to the term ‘non-licensed’ SMEs.
We also understand that the certification exam and credentialing process needs to be inclusive of a diverse array of medical and mental health disciplines as well as indigenous and ancestral wisdom and practices within the larger psychedelic ecosystem. Therefore, we are adding testing and DEI consultants and SMEs to ensure that the certification exam includes the essential content needed to achieve these goals.
In January, Keeno Ahmed-Jones joined BPMT to support our efforts in test assessment and measurement. Keeno is a curriculum and assessment development expert with a Masters in Sociology and Education Policy from Teachers College at Columbia University. She has led policy, advocacy, communications and government relations strategies to help close the opportunity gap for historically underserved and marginalized populations. She oversaw the strategic planning for the High School Equivalency (HSE) exam for the Regents Research Fund (RRF) in New York. Her work as a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant combines a lifelong commitment to social justice with expertise in organizational development, program evaluation and community engagement on how to meaningfully implement culturally competent practices and advance DEI values with integrity and care in testing. Keeno is also a founding member of BPMT’s DEI Committee and will ensure DEI is implemented throughout the test development process.
Once again, the entire BPMT team wants to thank you for your support during this period of transition. We recognize that this process has been tumultuous, and we appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to improve the organization and its processes. We are committed to ensuring that BPMT is an inclusive and equitable organization that reflects the diversity of the communities it serves, and that our certification exam and policies are of the highest quality and integrity. We value your experience and knowledge, and we look forward to continuing to work together towards a better future for psychedelic medicine and therapies.
Thank you again for your ongoing support.
NiCole T. Buchanan, Ph.D. and the entire BPMT Team
Certification Board for Psychedelic Medicine Launches and Receives $900,000 Grant
June 16, 2022 – The Board of Psychedelic Medicine and Therapies (BPMT), a non-profit public benefit corporation dedicated to education and certification for psychedelic medicine, today announced that the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation has initiated a $900,000 matching grant to support BPMT’s mission of ensuring the competent, safe, and ethical delivery of psychedelic medicine in an equitable and accessible manner.
“BPMT is a critical infrastructure project focused on improving the safety, accessibility, and quality of psychedelic medicine within the U.S. healthcare system,” said Alexandra Cohen, President of the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation. “We are pleased to support this important initiative.”
BPMT was recently established to certify healthcare professionals in psychedelic-assisted therapy in the United States, which will help standardize the clinical quality of psychedelic-assisted therapy treatments, enhance patient safety, increase provider accountability, and facilitate reimbursement by insurance providers.
The CEO of BPMT, Scott Shannon, said: “For this field to reach its potential, it needs clarity, safety, credibility, and financial reimbursement. Certification is the most direct path to accomplish these goals. Certification will help guide psychedelic medicine towards its incredible promise to become a widely available treatment option in the US healthcare system for all those in such dire need of transformative treatments.”
BPMT is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors elected by peers from the psychedelic profession with a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. BPMT has previously been supported by funding from a wide range of visionary philanthropists including Mike Cotton, The Evolve Foundation members of the Psychedelic Science Funders Collaborative, and others who see certification of psychedelic providers as critical for the successful roll out of psychedelic services in the US.
Currently, clinical standards for psychedelic medicine lack consensus definition and no current metrics exist to assess skill and competency for practitioners. Training options vary in depth and without agreed-upon requirements. Insurance reimbursement, provider liability, and equitable access for patients remain important unsolved issues for psychedelic medicine, which creates an uncertain frontier of practice for any professional to enter.
BPMT plans to offer certification beginning in 2023 for licensed healthcare professionals. In addition, BPMT is also exploring how to offer a certification for non-licensed practitioners, who are typically the second provider in the treatment setting, from a variety of backgrounds including chaplains as well as individuals from indigenous and traditional lineages. Certifying non-licensed practitioners will expand the supply of certified practitioners as well as potentially reduce overall cost and increase equitable access to psychedelic medicine.
To create a coordinated effort, BPMT will continue to work closely with a wide range of stakeholders and leaders in the psychedelic field, including the American Psychedelic Practitioners Association. As an organization, BPMT is dedicated to an innovative, equitable, and paradigm-shifting vision of mental health care. For more information, visit www.psychedelicsboard.org.