Public Release: 

Psychiatrist Honored For Heroic Work With Refugees

American Psychiatric Association

Washington, DC -- On Saturday, November 7 at 2:45 p.m. at the J.W. Marriott, Ralph Froelich, M.D. of Madison, WI will be presented with the 1998 American Psychiatric Association Profile of Courage Award for his work with refugees along the Laotian-Cambodian border.

"In a time where the public sees heroes in athletes and public figures, Dr. Froelich is a hero in the truest sense of the word," said Donna Norris, M.D., speaker of the APA Assembly of local psychiatric societies. "Dr. Froelich took time away from his life and his practice to be a selfless and untiring supporter of the lost and the abandoned."

Dr. Froelich, sponsored by the American Refugee Committee, worked at a base camp in Thailand. The camp had approximately 25,000 refugees and asylum seekers from Laos, Cambodia, and Viet Nam. His "hospital" was a 20-bed, open bamboo structure filled with patients suffering from schizophrenia, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depressive disorders. The most dangerous part of his work was monthly visits to border camps along the Laotian and Cambodian border where he would function as a consultant psychiatrist and neurologist to the permanent medical and nursing staff.

"Uniformly, people who work in refugee camps or similar unique situations return with the feeling that they have gained numerous rewards for the time spent and rarely think of it as a sacrifice - that is true for me as well," said Dr. Froelich.

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The American Psychiatric Association is a national medical specialty society, founded in 1844, whose 42,000 physician members specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional illnesses and substance use disorders.


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