Dr Margaret Ross is the Chief Principal Investigator for Australia’s first psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy study. A true clinical researcher, Dr Ross combines oversight of this ground-breaking trial with palliative care clinical work in her role as Senior Clinical Psychologist at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne.
Prior to her work in the field of cancer care, Dr Ross’ focus was youth mental health, working as a research psychologist and clinical trial coordinator for The University of Melbourne and Orygen Youth Health.
However, Dr Ross missed direct clinical work and felt drawn to cancer and palliative care. She thought her research days were behind her until she sought alternatives for her patients who were terrified of dying and experiencing existential distress in the face of their diagnosis.
After seeing the compelling results of US-based research into the use of psilocybin assisted therapy for patients with existential distress in the face of terminal cancer, she assumed that a similar treatment would soon become an option within Australia. Yet no-one had been able to get the research approved.
Dr Ross harnessed her expertise in clinical research to develop a research protocol and the research is now underway.