Dr. Joseph Barsuglia, Clinical Research Director
Dr. Joseph Barsuglia leads the research programs at Crossroads, which includes overseeing study design, evaluation, and patient follow-up. He has a PhD in clinical neuropsychology from the Fuller Graduate School of Psychology and a Master’s degree in Spiritual Theology from the Fuller Theological Seminary.
He received his clinical training in academic centers including the University of Southern California, the Semel Institute of Neuroscience at UCLA, and the West Los Angeles Veterans Hospital, where he completed a federally-funded postdoctoral fellowship in aging research. Over the past 10 years, Dr. Barsuglia’s work has focused primarily on individuals with addictions, eating disorders, chronic mental illness, veterans’ issues, and trauma. His research has been published in several peer-reviewed journals.
Dr. Martin Polanco, CEO
Dr. Martin Polanco first witnessed the healing power of Ibogaine within his own family. After years of debilitating substance abuse and unsuccessful stints in rehab, it wasn’t until his relative underwent Ibogaine detox–then a very novel, underground treatment–that the addiction ended for good.
The transformation was so immediate and profound that Dr. Martin Polanco, a graduate of Universidad La Salle Medical School who was at the time was doing his residency in ophthalmology, decided to change course and focus entirely on Ibogaine. In 2001, he opened a clinic called the Ibogaine Association, where as medical director he personally supervised hundreds of Ibogaine treatments. A pioneer in the field, he also served as a consultant to Ibogaine clinics in Canada, Colombia, and Russia. In 2011, he founded Crossroads Treatment Center, and set out to provide the safest, most medically-sound Ibogaine detox available anywhere in the world. Dr. Polanco’s mission now is to have Crossroads’ model of best practices in clinical efficacy act as a guiding beacon in the efforts to legalize Ibogaine therapy in the United States.
Maria Teresa Chavez, Therapeutic Coordinator
Maria Teresa Chavez is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, nutrition consultant, and life and spiritual coach. As the therapeutic coordinator for Crossroads, she manages onsite pre-care activities such as 1:1 counseling sessions and group integration; she also acts as the medicine facilitator/guide for both our Iboga and 5-MeO-DMT ceremonies. Maria has spent much of her life in the native lands of her parents, who hail from Venezuela and Peru. Well-versed in shamanic plant medicine work, she brings a reverence for the land and aspects of ceremony into all of her offerings.
Ashley Booth, MS, Counselor
Ashley Booth is a certified Kundalini yoga teacher currently training in the somatic-based technique known as the Hakomi Method and is a pre-care counselor at Crossroads dedicated to supporting people on their path of healing. For the past several years, she has been a community educator and leader in Los Angeles focused on mindful psychedelic use. She is also the founder of the Aware Project: Rethinking Psychedelics, an event series and integration program. Her approach blends her background in the sciences with a deep spiritual core ignited through the use of entheogens.
Erica Heartsong, RN, Medical Intake Specialist
Nick Palmisano, Intake Coordinator
Nick spent a better part of his life addicted to a variety of drugs, mainly opiates. He experienced Ibogaine 3 years ago, and it was a major catalyst towards his recovery. He has since worked diligently to create a new life for himself, having completely broken free from his addictions. Over the last 6 months, he has transitioned from the conventional workplace to now helping people struggling with addiction.
Erik McGarrie, Intake Specialist
Erik has years of experience working with addicted individuals and their families. He owned and managed a sober living home, and he is also a N.A.S.M certified personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist, and nutrition consultant. Erik recovered from an opioid addiction and feels that he owes his life to natural medicines like Ibogaine.
Chris Bellesia, Project Manager
Chris Bellesia coordinates the psychospiritual program and manages the execution of special projects at Crossroads to ensure patients are given the most comprehensive healing experience possible. He has long been fascinated with a variety of healing modalities—including neurofeedback, nutrition, and microbiome restoration—and works to integrate these and other cutting-edge therapeutic modalities into Crossroads’ program. Chris is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in supply chain management and a Bachelor of Arts in sustainability.
Carlos Machado, Driver
As the driver for Crossroads Ibogaine Treatment Center, Carlos Machado is often the first person patients and their loved ones meet. A graduate of the Universidad Iberoamericana Law School, owner of a sushi restaurant, and manager of a chain of six gas stations in Tijuana, Carlos is beloved at Crossroads for his warm, welcoming personality.