Advisory board brings together leaders from military, veteran, science fields to amplify VETS’ work to end veteran suicide
Today, the non-profit Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions (VETS) announced the formation of its newly formed committee of expert advisors. The VETS Advisory Board includes leaders from the military and psychedelic science communities who will provide strategic guidance to the VETS leadership team in order to further VETS’ mission to end the veteran suicide epidemic.
“VETS is among the most prominent and credible voices integrating advanced research, application, and advocacy to support the most promising treatments in brain and mental health,” says RADM Brian Losey, US Navy (Ret.), Chair of the VETS Advisory Board. “Their compassion and impact is felt everyday among veterans with occupational exposures. It is exciting to serve with an organization that is truly making a difference in the present, while working with many others to realize yet untapped potentials in optimizing well-being.”
“With veteran suicides increasing over 150% since 2005, the need for better treatments for veterans with PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and other conditions is more urgent than ever,” says Rick Doblin, Ph.D., VETS Advisory Board member, and founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). “VETS is leading the charge for the integration of psychedelic therapies into modern medical care by elevating the voices of veterans and building bipartisan alliances focused on veteran healing. It’s an honor to work with VETS to transform the lives of military families and bring healing to those in the greatest need.”
Current VETS Advisory Board members include:
- Dr. Joseph Barsuglia is a clinical and research psychologist, and an advisor in psychedelic medicine and alternative healthcare, with expertise in working with iboga/ibogaine and 5-MeO-DMT. He served as the Director of Research and CEO at Crossroads Treatment Center in Mexico, worked as a co-investigator in Phase 2 trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), and facilitates international transformational retreats. Dr. Barsuglia earned his Master’s and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Fuller Graduate School of Psychology, and is a trained initiate in the indigenous Bwiti iboga tradition. His research has been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals.
- Dr. Mark Bates is a psychologist now participating in the Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research certificate program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). A retired Air Force pilot and psychologist, he has served as training director for an APA-accredited clinical psychology internship program, as chief of a multidisciplinary outpatient mental health clinic, and as Branch Chief for Psychological Health Promotion in the military’s Psychological Health Center of Excellence. Dr. Bates has a long-standing passion for understanding and supporting human potential in body, mind, spirit, and relationships.
- David Bronner is Cosmic Engagement Officer (CEO) of Dr. Bronner’s, the family-owned top-selling natural brand of soap in North America. Bronner graduated with a degree in Biology from Harvard in 1995, and is dedicated to the 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.
- Dr. Rick Doblin is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He received his doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Dr. Doblin studied with pioneering psychedelic researcher Dr. Stanislav Grof, and was among the first to be certified as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner. His professional goal is to develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana, primarily as prescription medicines but also for personal growth for otherwise healthy people, and eventually to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist. He founded MAPS in 1986.
- Amanda Feilding is the founder and executive director of the Beckley Foundation, and is widely recognized as a leading force behind the current psychedelic renaissance. By establishing key research programs at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions, she has propelled the field forward over the last 20+ years, conducting landmark studies including the world’s first psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression study; the world’s first LSD, MDMA and DMT brain imaging studies; and a collaboration with Johns Hopkins on the first study of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for nicotine addiction. She has co-authored over 80 research papers.
- Dr. Robert Koffman, MD, MPH, is a retired Navy Captain, currently serving as Senior Medical Advisor for Warrior Canine Connection. He concluded his 32-year career as a psychiatrist and preventive medicine physician at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) as the Chief of Clinical Operations. Dr. Koffman is currently enrolled in the Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research at CIIS. Eager to enroll veterans into a MAPS-supported study, he is on track to begin providing MDMA-assisted therapy under Expanded Access at the Bill Richards Center for Healing at the Aquilino Cancer Center in Rockville, Maryland.
- Frank Larkin is Vice President for Corporate Development at a software development company, and a national advocate for veteran suicide prevention and traumatic brain research. Larkin served as the 40th Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate, assuming the office after a distinguished career in both the public and private sector, including work in law enforcement, national security, information technology and cyber security. He previously served in several posts at the United States Department of Defense and in law enforcement. Prior to assuming office, he served in the United States Navy, including as a special warfare operator in the Navy SEALs. Larkin holds a BA in Criminal Justice and a Masters of Public Administration from Villanova University. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the USSS Valor award, the Army’s Exceptional Civilian Service award, and the Superior Civilian Service award.
- Brian Losey and Ivy Losey are both military veterans with 43 years of combined active duty service, and considerable exposure to the experiences and challenges incurred by veterans and their families while in service. They consider the opportunity to serve on the Board of Advisors to VETS an incredible duty and privilege, and are committed to assisting the VETS team in making a meaningful difference in the veteran and first responder communities. Ivy and Brian Losey are motivated by the incredible potential of novel treatments and therapies that can open the door to relief and resolution of service-related impacts, and illuminate the development of innate potential.
- Dr. Kirk Parsley served as Undersea Medical Officer at Naval Special Warfare Group One from 2009 to 2013, where he led the development of the group’s first Sports Medicine Rehabilitation Center. He is a former Navy SEAL, and received his Medical Degree from Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in 2004. He interned in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Balboa Naval, Hospital San Diego, and completed a Navy residency in Hyperbarics and Diving Medicine. Dr. Parsley has been a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine since 2006, and served as Naval Special Warfare’s expert on Sleep Medicine. He lectures worldwide on sleep, wellness, and hormonal optimization and is currently completing a book on sleep.
- Dr. Lynn Marie Morski is the president of the Psychedelic Medicine Association, host of the Plant Medicine Podcast, the founder of PlantMedicine.org, and Medical Director for WayofLeaf.com. She is a Mayo Clinic-trained physician in family medicine and sports medicine, as well as an attorney and former adjunct law professor.
- Dick Simon is an entrepreneur, social enterprise philanthropist, and catalyst for change. He works with organizations pursuing FDA and European Medical Association clinical trials for mental health treatments using psychedelic medicines. Simon serves as Chairman of the Advisory Council for the Center for the Neuroscience of Psychedelics at Massachusetts General Hospital; is a founder of the Boston Psychedelic Research Group and the YPO Psychedelic Medicines for Mental Health Group; and works closely with organizations including MAPS, CIIS, and the Psychedelic Science Funders Collaborative. He also co-founded the Peace Action Network (PAN) of YPO, a network of over 29,000 international CEOs that addresses conflict resolution on local and global levels, and launched the kNOw THEM Initiative.
- Lt. Gen. Martin R. Steele, USMC (Ret.) enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1965 and rose from private to three-star general, culminating his military career as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Policies, and Operations for the US Marine Corps. A decorated combat veteran, he is a recognized expert in the integration of all elements of national power (diplomatic, economic, informational, and military) with strategic military war plans and has served as an executive strategic planner/policy director in multiple theaters across Asia. His extraordinary career was chronicled in the award-winning military biography Boys of ’67 by Charles Jones. Upon retiring from active duty in 1999, General Steele was the Chairman and CEO of Steele Partners, Inc., a strategic advisory and leadership consulting company and holds leadership positions in a number of non-profit organizations aimed at assisting transitioning veterans.
- Kevin J. Weiss is the Chief of Staff for Reforge, an education and professional development technology company. Previously, Kevin was a Principal at Dorado Capital Partners, and a founding team member of M13 Ventures, and held operating roles within venture-backed companies in South Africa and Latin America. In addition to VETS, Kevin is an advisory board member of The Change Reaction, a philanthropic organization connecting high net worth individuals with direct giving opportunities, and Study Smart Tutors, an education company that increases access for underserved individuals. He is a trained yoga and mindfulness meditation teacher and is passionate about improving access to mental health services. Kevin studied Business, Economics, and Public Policy at George Washington University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude, and also studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at St Catherine’s College, Oxford.
To date, VETS has provided Foundational Healing Grants to over 300 Special Operations veterans and their spouses. The grants include direct financial support as well as coaching for veterans to receive treatment for PTSD, TBI, and other conditions with psychedelic therapies such as ibogaine, ayahuasca, psilocybin, ketamine, and 5-MeO-DMT. This year, VETS also expanded its advocacy efforts in support of research and access to psychedelic therapies. VETS was a leading proponent of Texas HB 1802, which allocated state funding for a study of psilocybin therapy for veterans with PTSD. VETS also supports SB 519 in California, which would increase access to psychedelic therapies for veterans in the state.
“We are humbled and honored to be receiving critical guidance from this incredible group of individuals as we work together to end veteran suicide,” says VETS co-founder Marcus Capone. “We are grateful that they’ve chosen to join VETS in this important mission.”
Founded in 2019, Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions (VETS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to end the veteran suicide epidemic by providing resources, research, and advocacy for U.S. military veterans seeking psychedelic-assisted therapies for traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addiction, and other health conditions. VETS envisions a world where our veterans have access to the most advanced healthcare options to heal from the mental and physical wounds of war.