Teri Dunn, LCSW, is a
licensed clinical social worker based
in Flagstaff. She has been working
with behavioral health patients for
34 years – 12 of them with North
Country HealthCare, a community
health center through which she
sees patients from across northern
“I started working with telemedicine
about three years ago, and in the beginning, I had some
concerns,” Ms. Dunn says. “I’m not very good with
technology, so I worried about feeling foolish and helpless.
But I received really good training, and it’s very simple now.
Sue Sisley, MD, has
shown that telemedicine is a good
option even for a physician based
in the nation’s sixth-largest city.
After getting her medical degree
from the University of Arizona
College of Medicine in 1995, she
completed a five-year residency in
internal medicine and psychiatry at
Good Samaritan Regional Medical
Center in Phoenix.
She chose the dual specialties, she says, because “I saw
early in my training how much mental health affects patients’
“I also was not sure I could make a real connection with my
patients without seeing them in person. I was afraid I would
not be able to read their body language, that kind of stuff.
But now, it feels like that’s not a problem either.”
After her residency, she went into private practice with her
mother, Hanna Sisley, MD, a family practitioner. The motherdaughter team shared an office in Maryvale.
Ms. Dunn sees patients four days a week – one day via
telemedicine for patients who live a long distance from
Flagstaff, and three days in her office, with patients who live
in the Flagstaff area.
The younger Dr. Sisley quickly discovered that, as much as she
loved the practice of medicine, she grew weary of the time and
paperwork required to work with Medicare, Medicaid, and all
her patients’ private health plans.
Two of her patients rejected the telemedicine option, she
says. “Others just forget that they’re talking to a television
screen. One patient even commented that the remote
connection made it easier for her to talk about her alcohol
problem, rather than being in the same room with me”.
So she set up a small office in her Scottsdale home, and
outfitted it with telemedicine videoconferencing equipment,
and dropped all insurance plans. Privately insured patients now
pay out-of-pocket for appointments via telemedicine, usually
during evening and weekend hours, since most of the patients
Overall, Ms. Dunn says, teleme