Si Sa Ket ‘rural doctor of the year’ only second woman honoured
Ratchadaporn Runcharoen, director of Khunhan Hospital in Si Sa Ket, has been recognised as Thailand’s Outstanding Rural Doctor of 2017.
Ratchadaporn has worked at her hometown hospital for more than 27 years, displaying unwavering integrity in providing healthcare to people in need.
She is only the second woman to be so honoured among the 44 doctors recognised over the years by a committee at Mahidol University’s Siriraj Hospital Medical School in Bangkok.
The other was Dr Pattira Thangrattanasuwan of Crown Prince Hospital in Pattani’s Sai Buri district, honoured in 2008.
Professor Dr Prasit Watanapa, dean of the medical school, announced the award on Wednesday.
He called Ratchadaporn a hospital administrator of great competence who has made her facility a model for health promotion and environmental health while at the same time enhancing the quality of life, promoting moral virtues and the forming of networks, and improving medical services.
She encouraged the provision of traditional and alternative medicine alongside international-standard healthcare.
The hospital under Dr Ratchadaporn's leadership has earned the public’s trust, Prasit said.
The committee chose Ratchadaporn from among nine candidates, said Dr Samut Jongwisal, head of the panel.
Although a paediatrics specialist by training, Ratchadaporn also handles surgeries and childbirths and led efforts to implement national-standard public healthcare while networking with nearby facilities and related agencies for patient referrals and extended care.
Dr Ratchadaporn said she was proud and excited by the honour, which came as a surprise.
She became a doctor – hesitantly, she admits – after joining the civil service in April 1991 to repay a government scholarship following her graduation from Chulalongkorn University.
When she began working at Khunhan Hospital, which is in the “red zone” border area, her family was initially worried, she said, but she found the devotion of its staff inspiring.
“My family told me to focus on my work and be a good civil servant, never cheating on my work hours or state funds.”
Siriraj Hospital Medical School has singled out a “rural doctor of the year” annually since 1973. All nominees have worked for more than five years in rural areas and have outstanding profiles that can serve as examples for medical students and other physicians.
Ratchadaporn will receive a plaque and a Bt200,000 grant from the school, a prize cash of Bt20,000 from Terumo Co, and Bt100,000 from Bangchak Petroleum.