Director of Medicinal Plant Science, Heliospectra
Dr. Suzanne A. Sisley practices medicine in Scottsdale, AZ and specializes in Internal Medicine and Psychiatry. She is widely known for her research into potential medical uses of marijuana to treat veterans diagnosed with PTSD. Dr. Sisley’s research is supported by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a California-based nonprofit organization.
Dr. Sisley serves as Principal Investigator for the only FDA-approved randomized controlled trial looking at use of whole-plant marijuana (grown by NIDA) in combat veterans with treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD.
Dr. Sisley won the UA’s Leo B. Hart Humanitarian Award for “outstanding contributions made for social reform” by the University of Arizona College of Medicine in 2001 and served as a faculty member in excellent standing for nearly 7 years. Yet, suddenly on Friday, June 27, 2014 at 5pm, she was stripped of all 3 of her contracts at University of Arizona without any fair hearing nor due process. Dr. Sisley believed her termination from the University of Arizona resulted from her unflagging efforts/political advocacy to enable this study to FINALLY be implemented. Sisley cites this “firing” as one of her proudest professional achievements….prioritizing her patients’ needs and advocating for science over political pressure.
Dr. Sisley was honored with the President’s Point of Light Award, including letters of commendation from former President Clinton and former President Bush, for her efforts to use the Arts to promote health prevention among at-risk youth. Dr. Sisley received the Paul Singer Community Service Award for her devotion to connecting the seriously mentally ill and the arts community as well as her volunteer medical efforts with ANYTOWN, Burn Camp as well as Camp Hakuna Matata, a camp for kids/families living with HIV/AIDS. The American Medical Association Governing Council elected her as their Member-at-Large for two years, and as part of this important role, Dr. Sisley has traveled nationally representing residents and fellows. In 1999, Dr. Sisley received commendation from Governor Hull, and in 2006, she again received commendation from Governor Napolitano for her community outreach. Dr. Sisley was given the Arizona Medical Association’s highest honor, the President’s Distinguished Service Award and to receive Arizona’s most prestigious recognition for volunteerism, the Hon Kachina Award.
Sisley was also honored with the 2000 Dr. Clarence Salsbury Medal from the Maricopa County Medical Society for “her overwhelming commitment to health education, abiding interest in using the arts to promote healthy lifestyles among youths and her resolve to providing indigent health care services in our inner-cities”. Sadly, in October 2014, Dr. Sisley received notice from MCMS that she was terminated from the Board of Directors (where she’d been a Board member/Executive Committee for nearly a decade), due to her statements in the media for which she REFUSED to apologize.
Dr. Sisley is involved in many aspects of her community with membership on over a dozen boards over the past 30 years, ranging from the NAU Alumni Board to the Board of AZ Town Hall to the Phoenix & Scottsdale Bond Review Commissions. Her most cherished philanthropy is Phoenix Theatre, the oldest Arts Institution in AZ. Sisley has been a devoted board member/donor for 10 years. After PT turned 95 years old, Sisley assisted in the fundraising/redevelopment of PT’s state of the art new theatre wing.
Dr. Sisley has been featured in many worldwide media outlets including CNN, Al Jazeera America, Washington Post New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, VICE, Military Times, etc. She has been invited to speak all over the world about the BARRIERS TO US MARIJUANA RESEARCH, given her personal experience trying to hurdle the relentless barriers to studying the EFFICACY of marijuana in an atmosphere of federal marijuana prohibition. Further, she has appeared in various local journals ranging from Phoenix magazine to Today’s Arizona Woman to Phoenix New Times to AZ Parenting. She has editorials on Barriers to Marijuana Research published in journals ranging from AZ Capitol Times to Denver Post. Dr. Sisley also volunteers as a Health Reporter for various local TV news affiliates, appearing as a medical consultant on various public health topics.
Dr. Sisley graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in Chemistry/Pre-Med and a minor in Theater. In 1995 she completed her medical degree at the University of Arizona, College of Medicine. In 2000, Dr. Sisley completed her five-year Residency Training at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in the fields of Internal Medicine & Psychiatry. During her residency training, Dr. Sisley won the University of Arizona’s House Staff Educator of the Year Award annually for 3 consecutive years.