Dr. Sue Sisley, Medical-Marijuana Researcher, Fired From U of A Job in Alleged Political Move

Categories: Medical Weed

Andrew Pielage
Dr. Sue Sisley, the outspoken physician and medical-marijuana researcher, has been fired from a University of Arizona job, possibly due to political pressure.

Joe "Skip" Garcia, the University of Arizona's senior vice president for health sciences, who happens to earn $810,000 a year, is being trounced in the news this morning over this -- accused of doing the bidding of state Senate President Andy Biggs.

See also:
-U of A Denies "Political Pressure" Played Role in Firing of Dr. Sue Sisley
-Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Should be Qualifying Ailment for Medical Marijuana, Says Local Doctor

Is this how Big Universities operate? According to the Arizona Capitol Times this morning, Garcia asked Sisley to account for her political activity:

"(Skip) said he was calling on behalf of the (university) president's office, and said that if I didn't reply to his request, I wouldn't have a job," Sisley said.

Sisley said Garcia told her that Senate President Andy Biggs had questioned Sisley's activism with members of U of A administration and government relations team, which Sisley said she believed precipitated scrutiny and ultimately her firing.

Dr. Sue Sisley
Sisley is an MD and former clinical faculty member at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. She's been working at the Arizona Telemedicine Program at the U of A's Phoenix medical school, (along with her private telemedicine practice). But now her contract's not being renewed and she has to leave her university position by September 26.

Despite the blame heaped on Garcia in the Cap Times article, a copy of a letter received by New Times shows that Ronald Weinstein, director of the Telemedicine Program, recommended to Garcia that Sisley's contract not be renewed. The June 24 letter from Weinstein to Garcia doesn't shed any light on why the contract isn't to be renewed, however.

Sisley also claims affiliation with the U of A's Department of Psychiatry; we're not sure if that's affected.

Ever since Proposition 203 was approved by voters in 2010, she's been trying to get post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) added to the list of qualifying ailments. Last month, an administrative law judge ruled that it should be added. The state Department of Health Services has a deadline of July 9 to "accept, reject or modify" the decision.

Sisley was also in the news back in March, when state Senator Kimberly Yee blocked a bill that would have supported giving state funds to one of Sisley's studies.

The University of Arizona has clammed up on the subject. We'll let you know if Garcia returns our call.

Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX.
Follow Ray Stern on Twitter at @RayStern.

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MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

Biggs should get his ass handed to him in November.

U of A should be ashamed.

Benjamin Meyer
Benjamin Meyer

It is how big political systems operate; by fear, by compulsion, and by rigid dogmatic influence..

Tracy Dove-Coppen
Tracy Dove-Coppen

This is total bullshit. Joe "Skip" Garcia is a bully. Dr. Joe G.N. "Skip" Garcia will earn $810,000 per year, more than UA President Ann Weaver Hart, who started her job last July at $620,000 a year in salary and benefits, the highest presidential compensation package in UA history. ~ Dr. Sisley is resilient, she is a very intelligent woman and knows what she is up against. Her activism puts her in a position of having to go up against opposition and creates risks that many docs are not willing to take. She is very aware of that, but still stands for her convictions and will prevail. This really lights an angry, raging fire in me, though. Apparently, "Skip" won't speak publicly about the issue. A bully and a coward. Dr. Sisley will continue to fight for what is right for all patients. This is very fishy. I'm curious if HE will respond, I doubt it.

eric.nelson745 topcommenter

To say that Arizona is thick as fleas with crooked pols and sordid politics is an understatement. There needs to be an "independent investigation" of this incident. And if the investigation leads to state Sen. Andy Biggs, good. But any guilty as hell GOTP legislator will do. The nation and the world needs to see what a political cesspool, no septic tank, Arizona really is.

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