2022 United States Scholarship Recipients
MPH at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Alec Ohanian took a gap year from his studies at the UCSF School of Medicine after completing his 3rd year to further his knowledge in public health. He is now getting an MPH at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Alec is committed to improving access to care for those who are most in need on a global level. Throughout all his work, his devotion to Armenia serves as a North Star, guiding his projects and future steps. Alec is working on population-level studies on Armenian health and was recently awarded a grant to study type 1 diabetes in Armenia for his master's thesis. Once he completes his residency and fellowship training in hematology/oncology, Alec hopes to repatriate to Armenia to develop the health system.
MD / 3rd Year at George Washington University
Haig Pakhchanian is a third-year medical student at George Washington University committed to medical innovation and public health. Haig's journey toward medicine began while volunteering with Washington, D.C.'s underserved community at a pro-bono diabetes clinic. Haig's relationships with patients suffering from chronic disease inspired him to advance medical treatment for diabetic complications at the National Institutes of Health. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Haig used the skills he developed at the NIH to lead a multi-national research network of students and physicians toward identifying COVID-19-related medical trends. Over 150 projects were published in peer-reviewed journals or presented at national conferences. Some were used to advise public health officials in crafting COVID-19 safety guidelines. Haig hopes to pursue his passions by building off these experiences to lead a life advancing biotechnology and serving underserved communities both locally and in Armenia.
MD / 3rd Year at University of Connecticut School of Medicine
Rodolfo Valentini is a third-year Medical Student at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. After receiving his undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of Connecticut, Rodolfo worked at AbbVie as a scientist in translational immunology, working on a functional cure for HIV that is currently in clinical trials. At the same time, he has been working on a project with the Knights of Vartan to collect and send unused medical supplies to Armenia that would otherwise be wasted. Rudy looks forward to advancing his medical career and hopes to involve more hospitals in the effort.
DO / 1st Year at University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine
Norair Wartan is a first-year medical student at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s in Civil Engineering and an MBA from Tulane University. As a proud Armenian, Norair has spent many years volunteering for Armenian communities in Baghdad, Yerevan, and the United States. Norair’s biggest dream as a rising medical professional is to become an advocate for the health and well-being of Armenians in this country and globally. Norair hopes to leverage his business background and his training in medicine to establish programs that would provide health care for our fellow Armenians in need.
MD / 1st Year at USC Keck School of Medicine
Claire Bogosian is a first-year medical student at USC Keck School of Medicine. She received a B.S. in Bioengineering with a minor in Armenian studies from UC Berkeley. She completed her master's degree in Translational Medicine at UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco before starting medical school at USC. Claire is passionate about the intersection between technology and medicine. After doing her senior research project in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering at UC Berkeley, she learned more about bringing cutting-edge solutions to the patient's bedside in her master's program. Claire is also passionate about language learning. She spent the summer after college living in Gyumri with Birthright Armenia to sharpen her language skills. To maintain her Armenian and expand her vocabulary, she now takes online Armenian lessons with her sister four times a week with a teacher in Gyumri. She hopes to one day be able to translate for her future patients medically. Claire looks forward to serving the Armenian community throughout her future career as a physician.
MD / 1st Year at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine
Nora Galoustian is a first-year medical student at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. She previously graduated from UC Berkeley with a Major in Molecular and Cell Neurobiology and a Minor in Interdisciplinary Human Rights. Her first exposure to medicine was as a child when she was diagnosed with early-stage osteosarcoma. Once in remission, Nora's passion for medicine was fortified by her professional experiences as an EMT and medical assistant at an office serving a predominantly low-income Armenian community in Glendale. Growing up in a large Armenian immigrant community in Los Angeles, Nora witnessed firsthand the barriers to healthcare that Armenian populations face. Passionate about the intersection of human rights with medicine, Nora is highly involved in research to identify health disparities in the Armenian population. Some of the publications she co-authored include investigating mental health disparities following the 2020 Artsakh War and transgenerational trauma in Armenian Genocide descendants. She hopes this research can provide evidence-based cases for creating sustainable community resources to advance health equity. Nora aspires to continue serving the Armenian community as a future physician and advocate.
DDS / 2nd Year at Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC
Ara Hartounian is a 2nd-year dental student at Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC. He was born and raised in Aleppo, Syria. He refuged to the United States with his family at the age of 15 to fulfill his American Dream. In the summers, Ara volunteers at Camp Zavarian as an Armenian instructor teaching kids Armenian songs and folk tales. In addition, as a dental student, he spends weekends providing dental care and education to underserved communities around Los Angeles through USC’s Mobile Clinic. He is currently serving as the Senator of his class of 2025 and the Vice president of the Armenian Dental Student Association at USC. His hope for the summer is to assist at the dental facility of Yerevan State Medical University.
PhD at Azuza Pacific University’s Rehabilitation & Movement Science
Nicholas Tavoukjian, MS, ATC, CSCS, TSAC-F, is a certified athletic trainer and human performance specialist with over ten years of interdisciplinary clinical experience in various settings, most notably in professional combat sports, the military, and pediatrics. He received a B.A. in International and Middle East Studies from the University of California, Irvine, and an M.S. in Athletic Training from Azusa Pacific University. Nick works as adjunct faculty in the Department of Kinesiology at Azusa Pacific University (APU) and is currently a Ph.D. student in APU’s Rehabilitation and Movement Science program. His research focuses on the physical literacy of children and adolescents in Armenia and Artsakh. Nick founded and has served as chief executive officer of the Armenian American Sports Medicine Coalition (AASMC) since 2017, through which he has worked to advance sports medicine, exercise science, and rehabilitation in Armenia, Artsakh, and throughout the diaspora. In addition, Nick served as the head athletic trainer for the Armenian National Paralympic Team at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. He has also been a leader in providing post-conflict rehabilitation support in response to the 4-Day and 44-Day Wars. Most recently, he co-founded the Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation Fellowship (IRF) at the National Institute of Health of Armenia to sustainably develop post-conflict and adult rehabilitation within Armenia and Artsakh’s health systems.