Second Letter from Rick Doblin to University of Arizona in Support of Dr. Sue Sisley

On July 11, 2014, MAPS founder and executive director Rick Doblin, Ph.D., sent a second letter to Caroline Garcia, Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Arizona, reiterating MAPS’ support of Dr. Sue Sisley. In the letter, Doblin clarifies that MAPS and Dr. Sisley will move the study to another university if she is not reappointed at the University of Arizona, and will not accept the university’s proposal for an alternate Principal Investigator. See below for the text of the letter.

To Caroline Garcia, Associate Vice President for Research, University of Arizona,

Caroline, +++

You wrote me today at 7:53 PM ET: “Thank you very much for your response. I have shared your response with our senior leadership.  We will move forward as we discussed yesterday to propose a new University of Arizona Principal Investigator for this research study.”

I thought my prior response was clear, perhaps not. Dr. Sisley would make an ideal Principal Investigator.  If Dr. Sisley’s appeal to the University of Arizona to be reinstated is not successful, MAPS will not replace her as the PI but will move the study elsewhere. Your replacing Dr. Sisley may constitute a breach of our contract and we will be seeking advice of counsel regarding that issue.

I appreciate your continued efforts to keep the University of Arizona involved in the conduct of MAPS’ marijuana/PTSD study, in accordance with our fully executed Clinical Trial Agreement.  I believe that we are in agreement that this is a pioneering study that would generate much-needed and potentially life-saving data that has the potential to significantly impact the health of veterans and others suffering from chronic, treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Frustratingly, NIDA is by law required to have an adequate and uninterrupted supply of marijuana for research, which it has failed to do.  As a result, we can’t start for another half year until NIDA can provide the marijuana that it claimed in writing over three years ago (January 14, 2011) that it could make available for an approved protocol.  While we are waiting on NIDA, there is time for Dr. Sisley’s appeal process to run its course without delaying the start of our study.

We hope Dr. Sisley’s appeal process resolves successfully with the reversal of her termination. Dr. Sisley has devoted a great deal of her time over many years to bring this project to this point of FDA, IRB and PHS/NIDA approval. If there is anything I can do to assist in the review of Dr. Sisley’s appeal, please let me know.


Rick Doblin, Ph.D.(Ph.D., Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University)
MAPS Executive Director