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Eureka psychiatrist honored with CMA's prestigious Plessner Award

October 26, 2019
Area(s) of Interest: Physician Leadership 


Eureka psychiatrist Robert Soper, M.D., received the California Medical Association’s (CMA) most prestigious award, the Frederick K.M. Plessner Memorial Award. The award, which honors the California physician who best exemplifies the ethics and practice of a rural country practitioner, was announced today at CMA’s annual House of Delegates meeting in Anaheim.

For the past 30 years, Dr. Soper has been practicing psychiatry in rural Humboldt and Del Norte counties, where there are very few psychiatrists. He would regularly drive 90 minutes over curvy winding roads to provide psychiatric services in Del Norte county, where there were no other practicing psychiatrists.

“As a physician who needs to refer some difficult psychiatric patients, there wasn’t a single, solitary time, that he told me I cannot see a patient,” said Caroline Connor, M.D. “He was open, he always called me back if he didn’t answer immediately, and he always accepted everyone. For family physicians on the firing line, that was unbelievably comforting,” said Caroline Connor, M.D.

Dr. Soper has an impeccable reputation for providing first-rate, and sometimes life changing, care for many of Humboldt and Del Norte counties most mentally ill clients. He will see patients regardless of their insurance, including Medi-Cal and Medicare.

“I keep reminding myself that I am very lucky to do this,” said Dr. Soper. “People keep inviting me into their very personal lives. And when you watch people get better, it’s very gratifying,”

For 15 years, Dr. Soper has also served as chair of his local physician well-being committee, which aids physicians who may have health problems that could impair their ability to practice medicine.

“His commitment to keep his practice open shows a true dedication to serving the more complex psychiatric patients in the community who would otherwise have to travel out of the area for treatment,” said Corinne Frugoni, M.D., a family physician in Arcata who has worked with Dr. Soper on the local Physician Well Being Committee.

Dr. Soper has been a member of CMA and HDNCMS since 1991.

Learn more about Dr. Soper in our video profile:

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