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Unalakleet Psychologist Receives National Award for Work in Rural Psychology

Unalakleet in the fall of 2014. Photo: Caitlin Whyte, KNOM file.
Unalakleet in the fall of 2014. Photo: Caitlin Whyte, KNOM file.

The American Psychological Association (APA) has formally honored a Norton Sound regional psychologist for his work in rural health with Alaska Native people.

Ray Michael Droby was awarded the 2017 Excellence in Rural Psychology Award from the APA, for his commitment to behavioral health care in Nome and the Bering Strait region. Droby has worked in the region, providing mental health services, for more than 20 years.

Droby is currently the director of psychological services at Norton Sound Health Corporation’s regional clinic in Unalakleet. According to a press release from the APA, Droby was the first mental health provider to live and work in a Central Yupik community. He also helped develop the Alaska Psychology Internship Consortium.

Dr. Sarah Beckmann, a member of APA’s Committee on Rural Health said,

“while working with Dr. Droby in Nome, it was evident that he has remarkable compassion for the Inupiaq, Siberian Yupik, and Yupik people of the Norton Sound region.”

This year’s Excellence in Rural Psychology Award will be presented to Droby on August 4th at APA’s annual convention in D.C.

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Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.