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Epigenetics and Ayahuasca Shamanism: The Intersection between Biology, Emotion and Spirituality

November 9, 2017

This month’s translational science breakfast reception, hosted by the USC Institute for Integrative Health, provided a fast paced, dynamic tour of the Intersection where Biology, Emotion and Spirituality converge.  Speaker,  Dr. Joseph Tafur, Author of The Fellowship of the River: A Medical Doctor’s Exploration into Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine told of his travels to Peru to study with Master Shipibo Healers where he completed his shamanic initiation under Maestro Ricardo Amaringo. Dr, Tafur has worked alongside Amaringo in healing ceremonies at Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual. In the United States, Tafur works to promote the value of spiritual healing in modern healthcare and to demonstrate the intersection between ayahuasca shamanism and allopathic medicine.  Click on top photo to open slide show proceed with arrow top right of photo

Dr. Tafur has been an Integrative Medicine activist throughout his medical career, which included medical school at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, and during his Family Medicine Residency at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He has collaborated on research projects with the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine and the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine.  After residency, Dr. Tafur subsequently completed a two-year Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at the UCSD Department of Psychiatry under psychoneuroimmunology expert Dr. Paul Mills. While in San Diego, he also served on the board for the Alternative Healing Network and on the Steering Committee for the UCSD Center for Integrative Medicine.

Dedicated to education, Dr. Tafur supervised at Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual, traditional education for allopathic medical students and for medical student groups from the Southwestern College of Naturopathic Medicine and Bastyr College of Naturopathic Medicine. He has worked as a professor for the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine’s online doctoral program, and is now developing new educational programs for Modern Spirit.

Dr. Tafur currently works part-time as a family physician in the United States and continues as a medical consultant to Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual.

Audience members were curious to learn what tools and strategies Tafur has found that offer an evolution of consciousness, with the rapidity required by our degenerating ecosystem and our drive to find quick fixes and quick money.  He provided hope by explaining that the diminishing life-support systems of the planet are generating a massive search for meaning, spiritual fulfillment, and ultimately the empathy and inspiration to be of service to life itself.

The stack of Dr. Tafur’s book,The Fellowship of the River, was rapidly bought up at the end of the talk.

CSC Art Gallery Harkness Assembly Hall, 2250 Alcazar St. 2nd Fl


November 9, 2017


USC IGM Art Gallery
2250 Alcazar Street, 2nd Floor