Episode #280
Dr. Reid Robison

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Founder Of Cedar Psychiatry & Medical Director Focusing On Ketamine Treatment & MDMA Therapy For Eating Disorders

Guest Bio:

Reid Robison is the co-founder and medical director of Cedar Psychiatry. He is also a founding board member at the Utah-based non-profit Psychedelic Institute. Dr. Robison serves as Coordinating Investigator of the MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy study of Eating Disorders, supervising the training and clinical research of all of the MDMA therapy sites. Additionally, he works in a medical and therapeutic capacity at psychedelic medicine retreats abroad, and often consults on medical safety issues and plant medicine use.

Reid was born in Chicago, but grew up in Toronto, Canada. He completed undergraduate studies in Neuroscience at Brigham Young University, and went on to medical school at the University of Utah where he earned both his MD and MBA degrees. After residency training in Psychiatry at the University of Utah, Dr. Robison completed fellowship training in Neurodevelopmental Genetics, followed by a postdoc in Bioinformatics. He currently serves as adjunct faculty at both the University of Utah and Brigham Young University.

Dr. Robison has extensive experience with ketamine in both research and clinic settings. In 2011 he conducted his first research study with ketamine, then went on to create a ketamine program for treatment-resistant depression at Intermountain’s IV Therapy Center at IMC. Dr. Robison was selected as Principal Investigator for Utah by J&J/Janssen to run a site for a pivotal IV-ketamine treatment-depression study, leading to the company’s FDA approval of Spravato (esketamine) via breakthrough therapy designation earlier this year. In 2013, the Intermountain Research & Medical Foundation awarded an investigator-initiated grant to Dr. Robison to continue studying ketamine for depressive disorders. Dr. Robison also conducted an IRB-approved study of ketamine for depression and severe eating disorders at Center for Change. He continues to supervise the ketamine therapy practice at Cedar Psychiatry, and believes in careful but prudent use of ketamine as a tool for transformation in severe depression, PTSD, OCD and other mental health conditions.

Dr. Robison joined the tenure-track faculty at the University of Utah, conducting industry sponsored and investigator initiated trials of new neuropsychiatric medicines and co-directed a genetics lab. He went on to co-found three healthcare startups that were all acquired. First came Clinical Methods, a phase I-IV CNS clinical trials site, where Dr. Robison led over $15 million in industry-sponsored studies as Principal Investigator, which was acquired by CRI-Lifetree (and later PRA Healthsciences, NASDAQ: PRAH). Next Dr. Robison co-founded Anolix, a healthcare data analytics firm dedicated to answering questions for big pharma using machine learning and big data. He then co-founded Tute Genomics, a personalized medicine software company that raised over $10 million in venture capital from various investment partners including Tencent, Intermountain Healthcare, Peak Ventures and more. As CEO of Tute, Dr. Robison was selected to participate in numerous startup incubators and accelerators such as BoomStartup, Healthbox and StartupHealth.


Reid shares his vision for personalized medicine whenever he gets the chance, like in his TEDx talk on the Genome Revolution.

Dr. Robison is active in humanitarian pursuits, and was part of the University of Utah’s Global Health Initiative, where he made medical trips to post-quake Haiti, refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border and rural Ghana. He also founded the Polizzi Clinic, a free mental health clinic based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and served as Psychiatrist for Utah Health & Human Rights, helping refugees and human trafficking subjects.

 

Dr. Robison set up the Consult-Liaison Service at Intermountain Medical Center, Intermountain’s flagship hospital, providing psych consults to the ER and medical floors. He currently serves as Medical Director at Center for Change, one of the top Eating Disorder treatment centers worldwide.

Dr. Robison is a firm believer that inside every person, no matter where they are in their journey, is an inextinguishable light with the capability for a full human life. Dr. Robison says, “Not all wounds are visible, and everyone has their unique struggle. Pain is real…but so is hope.”

Show Notes

  • Introduction (2:10)

  • Backend story getting involved (4:56)

  • Relationship with Psychedelics (8:09)

  • Ketamine (13:21)

  • Benefits of MDMA (18:17)

  • Why are these illegal (23:46)

  • Anti Drug Movement (31:15)

  • Feeling and understanding emotion (43:53)

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