In Memoriam: A Eulogy for a Prototypical Psychiatrist


Rest in peace Michael Papin, MD.

candles, in memoriam



As I was leafing through the summer 2022 issue of MCW (Medical College of Wisconsin) Magazine from where I used to work, I was startled to see the obituary announcement of Michael Papin, MD, who—way back on January 15, 2022—had died at the age of 50. I had known him a bit from when he was a resident in training at MCW and I was on the faculty.

It struck me that he seemed to be a representation of the prototypical clinical psychiatrist, the psychiatrists that are the backbone of our clinical care of others, but relatively unknown compared to the more famous psychiatrists that I have tended to eulogize. Of course, it is harder to know about the deaths of these everyday clinicians or about their lives.

However, I did know and found out a bit more about Mike. He received his MD from MCW in 2000, at the turn of the new millennia. He then entered private practice at the well-regarded Lighthouse Clinic and Milwaukee, as well as worked at the Milwaukee County Psychiatric Crisis Service. After that, he worked in both outpatient and inpatient psychiatry at the Upper Peninsula Health System in Marquette, Michigan, where he died.

Michael Papin, MD

Personally, he seemed to enjoy his family, running, skiing, the beauty of nature, and Bob Dylan.

From what I knew, he was a sound and conscientious clinician. I am sure any of us would like to have tributes at any time like these written in his obituary archive:

“Dr Papin was my sister’s doctor. He made her feel that her input was important to his care plan. He always treated her with respect. My family will always appreciate his kindness.”
“As a patient of Dr Papin, I found him to be very compassionate, respectful and caring. No judgement. Very gentle. . . He was the best psychiatrist I ever had.”

This is not the Unknown Soldier, but the Known Psychiatrist. I write this in honor not only of the career of Dr Papin, but in appreciation of all the clinical psychiatrists whom we do not hear about that provide compassionate, respectful, and effective care in their own individual way. They are what we want psychiatry to be all about.

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues related to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times™.

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