"The Pride in the Profession Award recognizes physicians whose leadership, service, and integrity have overcome the challenges of today’s changing health care climate and brought healing and hope to people of all ages and from all walks of life," said AMA President Randolph Smoak Jr., M.D., in a press release.
Husain, chief of child and adolescent psychiatry and neurology at the University of Missouri, and five other physicians received a commemorative plaque and a $1,000 grant from the AMA to further their work, notes the press release.
Husain, a member of APA’s Committee on Psychiatric Dimensions of Disasters, responded to a request from humanitarian agencies in 1994 to help children in Bosnia traumatized by the war with Serbia. He offered to train Bosnian teachers in basic trauma psychology.
"There were not enough psychiatrists in Bosnia to meet the need," he told Psychiatric News. "Teachers have daily contact with the children and can spot changes in behavior. Also, many of the children lost one or both parents in the war."
Husain established a counseling, training, and research center in Sarajevo in 1994 where teachers can receive more training, discuss their cases with psychiatrists and receive guidance, and refer severe cases.
Husain also helped trained teachers and mental health professionals at a trauma center in Bosnia and helped establish another trauma center in Kosovo.
The teachers he trained in Kosovo are implementing in the schools a mental health course that he developed. "They teach a one-hour class to children ages 7 to 15 on mental health that incorporates techniques such as relaxation exercises and visual imagery to reduce stress," said Husain.
Some of the teachers from Kosovo, Bosnia, and other countries have received more intensive training at the International Center for Psychosocial Trauma at the University of Missouri.
"I founded the center in 1995 to develop a global training program to respond to manmade and natural disasters," said Husain. The center puts on conferences and training programs and conducts research on posttraumatic stress disorder, among other topics.
He used his experiences to write Hope for the Children; Lessons From Bosnia, which was published earlier this year. (Articles on Husain’s humanitarian work appeared in Psychiatric News in the June 3, 1994, and September 3, 1999, issues.) Husain’s efforts extend beyond the Balkans, however. He has established three trauma centers in Pakistan and is seeking funding to send a team from his center to work with Chechnyan refugees and also in Rwanda, with the goal of establishing trauma centers there.
The problem of youth violence in the United States also concerns Husain. He recently proposed a pilot mental health project for Columbia public schools to the Missouri Department of Health and his university. "Teachers would be trained to teach a mental health class using various techniques such as group therapy, relaxation exercises, anger management, conflict resolution, and visual imagery. They would also learn how to recognize signs of depression, PTSD, substance abuse, and suicide ideation and what cases to refer," said Husain.
Information about the International Center for Psychosocial Trauma is available at www.muhealth.org/~umicpt/mucentershtml. Information on Husain’s book is available by contacting him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at (573) 882-8006. ▪