past Guest Speakers:



john e. dunne, md

Dr. Dunne.jpg

Dr. Dunne is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who has been in practice for 34 years. Over the years, Dr. Dunne has been involved in many projects and issues nationally and regionally. At this stage in his career, Dr. Dunne wants to move away from full time care of patients and devote part of his time training and assisting others who work under more severe restrictions of time and training while attempting to treat children with mental health and behavioral problems.

After completing his child psychiatry training at UW, Dr. Dunne opened a private practice. Dr. Dunne became very involved with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, taking on a sequence of leadership roles. He was nominated for President Elect in 2001 but lost in a close election. Although he has continued to be active at the national level, Dr. Dunne has become concerned about the increasing prevalence of serious psychiatric and developmental problems in children and the dearth of well trained professionals to treat these children. Because primary care physicians and nurse practitioners are now assessing and treating roughly 75% of the mental health problems in children coming to medical attention, Dr. Dunne spent several years developing a state-wide training and support service for PCPs which, although initially funded by the State, fell victim to "The Great Recession."

Dr. Dunne has been married for forty years and has two adult children and one grandson. Although Dr. Dunne has many outside interests, performing music is taking up an increasing amount of time in his life. Dr. Dunne plays tenor trombone with the Sound Brass Quintet and the Rain City Symphony.


Alyssa Sisemore


Alyssa Sisemore has been an active mental health advocate for the last 3 years, and has a passion for fighting to break the stigma of mental illness. Within 6 months of joining NAMI Whatcom in 2017, Alyssa became a certified recovery support group facilitator, and a certified program presenter. Over the last 2 years, she has accepted and made opportunities to verbally share her mental health journey at local high schools, churches, workplaces, community events, support groups, and on social media. Upon winning the yearlong job of Miss Whatcom County 2018 in the Miss America Organization, Alyssa took to action to promote her platform, “Mental Health: Breaking the Stigma.” She was proud to stand as a mental health advocate during the Miss Washington pageant, and stress the importance of bringing awareness to the topic.

Alyssa enjoys sharing her vulnerable and ongoing story with mental illness which began 7 years ago. She speaks on her experiences with generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder, along with depersonalization and derealization disorder. Alyssa has the hopes of making personal connections with those that hear her, and educating others regardless of their background with mental health issues. 

Extending past her advocacy work, Alyssa was trained in ballet for 14 years, and spent her last 4 years dancing in a pre-professional company. She still enjoys the artistic and emotional outlet that dance provides, and continues to perform on stage during pageants in the Miss America Organization. Alyssa will be graduating in June of 2019 with her bachelors of psychology, and a philosophy minor. She will continue on with her education to earn her Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology.