Baylor Launches Psychedelics Research Bioethics Program

Research into the medical use of psychedelics to treat mental health is on the rise, but the impact of this research remains unclear. To address questions around this issue, the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine is launching a new program to explore Ethical and Legal Implications of PSychedelics In Society (ELIPSIS).

“Psychedelics have the ability to transform healthcare, but the therapeutic potential of substances like psilocybin (found in certain mushrooms), LSD and MDMA raises ethical and policy challenges and questions that must be researched and addressed now,” said Dr. Amy McGuire, Leon Jaworski Professor of Biomedical Ethics and Director of the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine. “We hope to be a catalyst for research in this space and to become leaders in helping create ethical guidelines and policies for psychedelics that are evidence-based, scientifically rigorous and equity-enhancing.”

As part of the new program, experts will outline policies and ethical guidelines for psychedelic research, examine legal implications of psychedelic use for medical care, measure psychosocial impacts of psychedelic research and help to train the next generation of scholars interested in ethical and policy issues related to psychedelics.

A multidisciplinary team of experts in bioethics, social science, medicine, health policy and law will study the ethical legal and social implications of this research. Experts also will collaborate with investigators around the Texas Medical Center and across the country. The program is funded through a planning grant from an anonymous donor.

Find more information about the program here.

Our Unique Role

The Center for Medical Ethics and Health at Baylor College of Medicine is building a research program focused on ethics, policy, and the implementation of psychedelic research. We have long been a leader in understanding and advancing research in critical issues in biomedicine, with over 5.9M in active research grants. Our multi-disciplinary teams of experts in bioethics, social science, biomedicine, health policy, and the law have successful track records of studying the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of emerging biomedical science, including advanced genetic sequencing and neurotechnologies, and translating our findings into real-world solutions.

We collaborate with large networks of investigators and clinicians within the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world, and beyond, and are well-equipped to identify opportunities and address challenges in real-time as they arise.

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