After exhausting traditional treatments for depression and suicidal ideation, Derek reluctantly tried ketamine therapy in 2019. Derek experienced a rapid transformation during his first session, which inspired him to collaborate with clinicians from Stanford’s Psychedelic Science Center and Depression Research Clinic to explore ways to increase accessibility to psychedelic medicine. After discovering how psychedelics may treat a multitude of mental health challenges, making psychedelic medicine more accessible became his mission. In 2021, Derek partnered with Dr. Sam Zand, a pioneer in psychiatric and psychedelic medicine from Johns Hopkins University, to create Better U. “It was the single most profound experience in my life. For months it felt like everyone around me was breathing and I was drowning. After the first session, I felt like I could breathe again. My entire ethos was plant-based medicine and prior to this, I thought ketamine was a horse tranquilizer. At that time in my life, I was suicidal. I decided what else do I have to lose and gave it a go. Grateful that I did, not sure if I’d still be here if I didn’t make the appointment. Psychedelic therapy saved my life. The treatment was expensive ($1,500 per treatment) and there was zero mental preparation prior and no support after the session. I grew up in Wisconsin and thought of my family and friends that are struggling with depression and how this may help them but it wasn’t accessible. After 2 years of development, Dr. Zand and I created Better U to make breakthrough mental health treatments more accessible, provide a support system for people who are struggling, and to help improve the standard of care for mental wellness. The Better U team is a vibrant collective of individuals hailing from various backgrounds, such as doctors, holistic healers, creative artists, devoted parents, athletes, researchers, therapists, and everyday people who have discovered personal healing. We recognize that happiness is a multifaceted recipe, and our mission is to help individuals rediscover self-love and unleash their innate potential. By working together and sharing our unique experiences, we strive to foster healing and transformation on a global scale."
Dr. Zaid Fadul, the Medical Director at Better U, is an esteemed leader with a Medical Doctorate from Ross University School of Medicine and further education from Harvard University and Georgetown University. He brings a wealth of experience and expertise to Better U. He is Board Certified in both Family Practice and Addiction Medicine, a testament to his deep commitment to comprehensive patient care. Dr. Fadul's remarkable journey includes serving as a Flight Surgeon in the US Air Force, where his skills in aeronautic and wilderness medicine are invaluable. This role, coupled with his extensive clinical experience across various medical settings, underscores his multifaceted proficiency and dedication to excellence in healthcare. His clinical acumen extends to managing inpatient care and ICU operations at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and he has played a key role in developing outpatient addiction medicine clinics. Board Certified in Family Practice and Addiction Medicine, Dr. Fadul is also an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Fluent in Spanish and conversational in Arabic, he has contributed to international medical missions, reflecting his commitment to global health. At Better U, Dr. Fadul is revered for his visionary leadership and relentless pursuit of excellence in patient care. His diverse experience and passion for medicine make him a cornerstone of the Better U team, ensuring the highest quality of care for every patient.
Dr. Abe Malkin, M.D. M.B.A is a Southern California native. He received his undergraduate degree in Economics and Biology at Yeshiva University in NYC. He then went on to earn a combined MD/MBA degree from a joint program at Tufts University School of Medicine and Brandies University Heller School of Business. He then completed his Family Medicine Residency training at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles. Dr. Malkin is board certified in Family Medicine and an active member of the American Board of Family Medicine
Johnathan Edwards is a medical doctor, entrepreneur, and humanitarian. He is the author of The Revolutionary Ketamine, a book about stopping suicide. He also wrote Beating Pain – Percutaneous Hydrotomy: A Revolutionary Approach to Stopping Chronic Pain, COVID-19, Ketamine & Suicide, The Art & Science of the Marathon, and Chasing Dakar. Johnathan is a world traveler and writes for Road Bike Action magazine and a small army of remarkable people at JohnathanEdwardsMD.com. He’s called upon to consult with some of the world’s finest athletes and Fortune 500 CEOs. He divides his time between Provence, France, and Florida with his family and their Boston Terrier, Lulu.
Lindsay has been a Physician Assistant since 2015 after graduating from South University in Savannah, Georgia. She has experience in Primary Care, Urgent Care, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Psychiatry. She spent her undergraduate years playing soccer at the University of Florida. While there, she made the academic honor roll all 4 years. She also won 3 Southeastern Conference Championships. Lindsay is passionate about traveling, music, friends, flag football, her partner, and her pets. She has found great fulfillment treating patients in Psychiatry.
I am a registered nurse originally from Dallas Texas, but I live on an island of Panama currently. You can usually find me at the beach with my dog, hiking, paddle boarding, or on the sand volleyball court. I believe that mental wellness is important and takes work, and I am happy to help others along their psychedelic journey.
Zishan Majeed is a Board-Certified Psychiatric Mental health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC) in the state of Florida. Zishan has experience working with adults who are experiencing chronic anxiety, depression, behavioral issues, eating disorders, OCD, parenting difficulties, low self-esteem, and more. Zishan offers medication management services in English, Hindi, and Urdu. Zishan earned his Master’s degree in Nursing from Walden University. While continuing his education, Zishan began working as a clinician for Jackson Health Systems (JHS) and the University of Miami’s Neuroscience Department. Being part of JHS and Miami's Neurology and Neuro-Science department gave Zishan the foundation and building blocks of what would later guide him into the field of psychiatry. Zishan aims to help break down the barriers created by stigma, providing the help you need without judgment or negative feedback. Zishan’s attentiveness and passion lead him to provide care by using a collaborative and holistic approach to address biological, psychological, and social factors that impact a client’s health. Zishan believes that one of the most crucial factors in being an effective Advanced Practice Nurse is to promote hope in individuals and families with mental health conditions, instilling self-responsibility and empowerment. With his emphasis on hope, he'll partner together with you to create the life you value and desire. Work with Zishan—you'll receive his professional assistance opening new doors that lead to healthier relationships and life goals.
Hi, my name is Hannah Gantt and I am originally from Charlotte, North Carolina but have lived in Los Angeles for almost 6 years now. I have always been interested in mental health, and grew up learning a lot about it as both my mother and sister are mental health counselors. I completed my undergraduate degree at USC and I am currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling. I have gained experience in life coaching and counseling throughout the years and I have seen ketamine therapy be extremely beneficial to many people I have worked with. I am a big advocate for wellness of all forms, including physical exercise, the foods we eat, and self care. I myself find happiness in hiking, rock climbing, going on walks, cooking healthy meals, journaling, and meditating.
Dorea has practiced in the alternative medicine field since 2000, the cannabis arena since 2015 and most recently working with BetterU since 2021 to help educate others about the benefits of ketamine and how this medicine can help with mental wellness issues like depression, PTSD, and anxiety. Dorea is passionate about helping others find tools to help them feel better, the outdoors, traveling, and being with family. Dorea lives with her husband and two teen daughters on a ranch in Northern Nevada where she enjoys gardening, mountain biking, backpacking, yoga/meditation practice, and playing tennis with her family.
Brenton is a Veteran and graduate of the UW Seattle Physician Assistant program and has been practicing since 2017. He is experienced in Emergency Medicine, Primary Care, Urgent Care, and Psychiatry with a focus on Psychedelic Assisted Therapy. During his time in service he deployed three times and saw firsthand, both in himself and his closest friends, the acute effects of Combat and Operational Stress Reactions as well as the long term impacts of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. "I have a deep passion for Psychedelic therapy, and I am excited to be a part of the team that is hard at work to increase it's accessibility for those who are hurting and in need."
Kyle has been a plant-based alternative medicine enthusiast and functional medicine practitioner since 2014 and a Psychedelic advocate since around 2019. My journey in medicine started in 2012 with pediatric home health services and quickly navigated into managing a compounding pharmacy and medical equipment supplier. This experience led me to functional medicine where I founded Trokie and the Patient Care Clinic to educate people about the benefits of plant-based and functional medicine to help treat root causes rather than just apply band-aids. This way of thinking has led me to where we are today, leading a team to change the way people perceive mental health and psychedelic therapy. I have always had a passion to improve the quality of people’s lives and Better U gives me the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life every day. I live in Long Beach CA with my wife, 2 kids, and Thor my boxer/lab. My hobbies are anything outdoorsy and sports related. I spend my free time at the beach, the park, the pool or gardening. I’m a foodie and a sourdough bread fanatic.
Megan brings her varied and unique work experience in the field of customer relations to compassionately partner alongside each client to help guide and support them towards the betterment of their individual mental health journey. After struggling with PTSD, depression, anxiety, and chronic pain, Megan is excited to be able to help others along their healing journey. With Megan’s integration skills as well, she provides customized support programs to each clients specific needs to seek the improvement of the overall quality of their lives.
I was born and raised in Las Vegas, NV. I used to be a scholar athlete in high school and college where I was a health science major. I now live with my boyfriend and our Pitbull, Blue. During my free time, I like to spend time with my family and goddaughters, take my dog to the park and play softball with friends. As an athlete my whole life, especially throughout college, mental health became very important to me. Now I get to spend every day working with a team that helps other people with their mental health journey.
Thea’s interest in integrative medicine and professional experience covers many modalities focused on self-work and educational pursuits to find what is effective for individuals looking to address the root cause of their challenges and process complex mental and emotional wounding. Her educational training includes a doctorate in naturopathy with a focus on mind-body medicine, a massage therapy license, and various modalities supporting the healing journey through in-depth transformational techniques. Her approach to growth is rooted in showing up for yourself and putting in the effort to meet your care team halfway by creating self-acceptance through a gentle and consistent willingness to learn and expand. Ketamine therapy has been transformational in her journey. She lights up when given the opportunity to connect with others and share her knowledge of resources and techniques to help facilitate their own healing experience through holistic experiences like immersive retreats and holding space for others daily through integration support. In her spare time, you can find Thea investing in her own self-care and growth, exercising or exploring outdoors, cooking, traveling in her Skoolie, and enjoying creative outlets.
Hi, I’m Cathy Cieri My role at Better U is that of Support Specialist & Integration Guide. I’m originally from San Diego, CA, and have lived in Las Vegas since the end of 2018. I moved here after a 3-year adventure living in Ecuador. I am a former business owner and have worked in the legal and accounting fields for many years. I am currently a Senior at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where I am earning my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Addiction treatment. I am a trained and certified Wellness Coach. I have victory over moderate/severe PTSD resulting from a near-death accident. I’m 55 years old and have a lifetime of experience to draw upon to help clients navigate challenges and celebrate breakthroughs as they move through the program with us at Better U. Travel is a long-time passion and I have visited 26 countries and 18 of the United States. I feel that travel changes us and pushes us to grow and expand in ways that we can not anticipate. Experiencing different cultures, traditions, and languages helps us to be more compassionate towards others while also learning to appreciate all the wonderful things about our own cultures and countries of origin.