AAHPO Reveals Advances in Medical Projects in Armenia, Artsakh

It was both a joyous meeting of colleagues and friends, as well as a fascinating meeting with doctors from Armenia informing their American-Armenian colleagues of medical progress in both Armenia and Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh).

AAHPO Board of Directors (Photo: Dr. Robert V. Kinoian)

Recently, at a New Jersey restaurant, leaders and members of the Armenian-American Health Professionals Organization (AAHPO) who have been working pro bono in both Armenia and Artsakh as well as in the United States for more than 10 years, heard from 3 prominent doctors from Armenia.

In his usual enthusiastic manner, AAHPO President Dr. Larry Najarian warmly welcomed the attendees, and introduced the doctors from Armenia: cardiologist Dr. Hmayak Sisakyan, Yerevan State Medical University vice-administrator Dr. Armen Minasyan, and internist and pediatrician Dr. Hambardzum Simonyan.

AAHPO’s dedicated founding member, Dr. Raffi Hovanessian, paid tribute to philanthropists Nazar and Artemis Nazarian who have been very generous donors to the AAHPO programs in Armenia and Artsakh, as well as in America.

The doctors who spoke with benefactors Artemis and Nazar Nazarian (Photo: Dr. Robert V. Kinoian)

Their son, Dr. Levon Nazarian, Professor of Radiology at Jefferson University, has traveled to Armenia 5 times, establishing the Ultrasound Training Center of Armenia and Artsakh, sending 25 ultrasound machines to Armenia and Artsakh, and most recently donating an MRI to Yerevan State Medical University, all with the help of his father. For 15 years, Levon has been responsible for overseeing the training of hundreds of doctors at the Ultrasound Center. Future plans include live video conferences, research projects, visiting professorships, and an exchange of students in collaboration with Thomas Jefferson University.


AAHPO Has Trained Almost Half of Artsakh’s Doctors

With great pride, Dr. Hovanessian announced that AAHPO has helped train almost half of the doctors in Artsakh, with the help of the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR), and introduced FAR’s executive director, Garnik Nanagoulian.

Expressing deep gratitude to Nazar and Artemis Nazarian for their immense contributions to AAHPO and FAR, Garnik Nanagoulian called it “a great responsibility for FAR to be a partner with AAHPO, an organization which under the able and creative leadership of Dr. Larry Najarian is becoming one of the most effective organizations of the diaspora working on healthcare issues.”

This is because of FAR’s “multilayer accountability system, regular reporting, beneficiary accounts, impeccable integrity, and high dedication and high discipline” of the project’s implementers such as Dr. Hambardzum Simonyan who, like the other doctors in the project, volunteers his medical services.

AAHPO’s doctors are vetted from the best in Armenia, Nanagoulian continued, helping them to develop into leaders and vocal voices in shaping Armenia’s healthcare future, advocating for “evidence-based medicine, providing them with a fund of medical information, and the continuation of self-education.”

Equally important, he related, is AAHPO’s building of connections between doctors in Armenia’s provinces, their Armenian mentors, and outstanding doctors from the United States, Canada, and Europe. “It’s about creating waves of change throughout Armenia and Artsakh which add up to large-scale, concrete transformations.”

Hambardzum Simonyan, a truly dedicated doctor, spends his weekends volunteering at the hospital in his native town of Martuni, helping poor family and their children. Under the guidance of Columbia University experts Drs. Deckelbaum, Bilezikian, and Hekimian, he is currently running one of the most sophisticated projects in Armenia, combatting child malnutrition. He is also overseeing the distribution of diasporan healthcare humanitarian assistance.

Simonyan opened with a heartfelt tribute to the more than 10 years of pro bono dedicated volunteer service to Armenia and Artsakh by AAHPO founding member, the late Dr. Edgar Housepian, and other AAHPO doctors. Using a PowerPoint presentation he explained FAR’s medical program, which included the training of 100 doctors in the U.S. flagship project in 2005, which was related to that of 2011. “We have already trained 155 physicians, and 2 years ago, we organized seminars,” he said proudly, adding that FAR is advancing the program in Artsakh, especially in the rural villages.

In 2015, Armenia hosted the 4th International Medical Congress, and this year saw every rural village receiving care by doctors, Simonyan said proudly, to which ophthalmologist Dr. Larry Najarian revealed the greatly advanced mission on the treatment of cataracts in Armenia and Artsakh.

Noted cardiologist Dr. Hmayak Sisakyan, who ranks as the first doctor from Armenia to be admitted as a fellow to the American Academy of Cardiology, revealed that it was nine years ago that the project to bring 20 machines in Yerevan, as well as the border regions of Armenia, was started.


100th Anniversary of Armenia’s University Hospital Clinic

Dr. Armen Minasyan presented a fascinating history of the medical program in Armenia, which started in 1914, when the first hospital was opened in Yerevan, as a military hospital. In 1922, the first medical facility was organized at Yerevan State University, with “many outstanding doctors.” By the start of World War II, the hospital had become a leader in medical practices in the Soviet Union, and in 2002 it received the status of a university hospital.

Today, Minasyan continued, the hospital has many specialties, especially in neo-natal care. The year 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the University Hospital Clinic. He expressed appreciation to the AGBU, to Berge Setrakian and Nazar and Artemis Nazarian, for establishing the Radiology Center.

During the question-and-answer session, Artemis Nazarian revealed that when the AGBU went to Washington, D.C. during the time of President Jimmy Carter’s leadership, they were informed by the head of the Ethics Department that in the United States, Armenians as an ethnic group have the largest percentage of doctors according to their population.

That positive information brought both a festive and informative evening to a hopeful and appreciative close, as people continued to have animated conversations with both the Armenian-American doctors and the visiting physicians from the homeland.

Source: Armenian Weekly
Link: AAHPO Reveals Advances in Medical Projects in Armenia, Artsakh

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