AAMS’ 8th Annual CME & CDE Fall Symposium

Vic Abajian, Esq. is a Tax Attorney who founded Abajian Law in 2006.  His practice focuses on complex and sophisticated civil tax controversies, including representation in sensitive audits, administrative appeals, and litigation in federal courts and administrative tax tribunals, providing related tax advice, consideration of domestic and foreign compliance options including voluntary disclosures, and representing individuals in criminal tax investigations and prosecutions.  Mr. Abajian is highly respected by the various tax authorities.  He represents clients throughout the world and is a leading international tax controversy attorney.  Many of his cases involve coordination and issues related to foreign taxing authorities, foreign banks, offshore structures, promoter investigations, informants, whistleblowers, and related special enforcement projects initiated by the IRS and DOJ.  Mr. Abajian is a former senior trial attorney with the IRS Office of Chief Counsel in Laguna Niguel where he represented the IRS in Tax Court and advised IRS revenue agents in complex examinations where he was recognized by the Department of Treasury for exemplary service.  After working for the IRS, Mr. Abajian was hired by Deloitte Tax to represent their clients before the IRS.  He has extensive experience in representation of clients in civil, administrative tax and criminal tax disputes and controversies before the IRS, the Tax Division of the U.S Department of Justice, the FTB (California state tax), and the EDD (worker classification), and the CDTFA (sales tax).   Mr. Abajian received a Master of Laws in Taxation (LL.M.) with honors from Georgetown University Law Center.  He will be speaking on the following topic: “Common IRS Related Matters that Impact Practitioners and Medical Practices”.

Disclosure: Vic Abajian, Esq., has no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests

Varouj Azizian, DMD, specializes in prosthodontics, dental implants, and cosmetic dentistry. Dr. Azizian earned his dental degree from Boston University and his post-doctoral degree in prosthodontics from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, in Boston Massachusetts, where he served as an assistant clinical professor in the restorative dentistry department. Dr. Azizian is renowned for his expertise in the creation of bridges, crowns, and dentures. He also specializes in implant reconstruction to restore lost teeth and function. Dr. Azizian has been practicing the art of prosthodontics for more than three decades - currently in the city of Glendale. He will be speaking on the following topic: "Preoperative Treatment Planning to Ensure Aesthetic and Restorative Success in Full Mouth Rehabilitation".

Edwin Babadjanian, DDS graduated from University of Southern California Dental School in 2005 and completed one year of intense general residency program at the VA hospital in San Francisco. After his general residency training he decided to specialize in endodontics. He was accepted in a two-year program at Lutheran hospital in Brooklyn, New York where he received an exceptional training in surgical and non-surgical endodontic dentistry from 2006-2008. Upon completion of endodontic residency, he found even more interest in the dual nature of root canals and implants. To better understand both fields he decided to complete a two-year implantology fellowship program at New York University from 2008-2010. Currently practicing in Glendale, California.  He will be speaking on the following topic: "Dental Implants vs Root Canal".

Harry Balian, MD, FACC, FSCAI, received his Medical Degree from Chicago Medical School in 1997. He completed his Internal Medicine Residency at the University of California, Irvine where he also served as Chief Resident. Completed his Cardiology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine where he served as Chief Fellow. Dr. Balian completed his Interventional Cardiology and Vascular training at the George Washington University in Washington DC. Dr. Balian specializes in the treatment of heart disease, coronary artery percutaneous interventions and pacemaker insertions. He also performs peripheral vascular interventions including carotid stents, endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm stents, renal stents and lower extremity angioplasties. Dr. Balian is board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Diseases, Nuclear Cardiology, Interventional Cardiology and Vascular Medicine. Dr Balian is the Chairman of department of cardiology since 2015 and the Director of Structural Heart Program at Glendale Adventist, he started the TAVR (percutaneous aortic valve replacement) program since 2016. Dr. Balian is and has been a member of the Executive Committee of AAMS Since 2006. He is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, the Society of Coronary angioplasty and Interventions and the American Heart Association. He has been the Medical Director of the Cardiac Cath Lab at Glendale Adventist Heart & Vascular Institute since 2006 and past Medical Director of the Peripheral Vascular Lab at St Vincent Hospital. He is an Associate Clinical Professor at Western University School of Medicine. He will be speaking on the following topic: “Atrial Fibrillation Management-Medical Therapy and Beyond”

Disclosure: Harry Balian, MD, FACC, FSCAI has no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests

Corinne "Corie" Beniasians, PA-C, MS-PA has been a Physician Assistant for 11 years, 7 of which has been dedicated to working in and with the LGBT community.  She earned her degrees in NYC, at Pace University, graduating amongst the top of her class, and earning a Magna Cum Laude Latin honors award. Her interest in HIV prevention and AIDS awareness grew even more through her volunteering efforts with organizations like Body Positive, the Pajama Program (geared towards children affected with or by HIV/AIDS), involving herself with outreach events for at-risk youth to prevent drug use and educate regarding STD and HIV prevention. Upon graduation, Corie worked in several medical specialties, including Internal/Family Medicine, Urgent Care, Occupational Medicine, Rheumatology and most recently STI Management and Prevention, and HIV prevention.  She held many roles in her years working at LA LGBT Center, starting as a per-diem STI/nPEP clinician to eventually becoming the Lead Clinician of the satellite clinic for the LA LGBT Center in West Hollywood, continuing her work in providing PrEP, nPEP, and providing STI management and treatment. She was involved in clinical trials which demonstrated the effectiveness of PrEP for HIV prevention, and worked with the transcommunity to provide safer access to more comprehensive care. Corie moved to Florida where she continues to practice in the LGBT community providing the utmost compassionate, comprehensive care she can. She focuses on Transcare, PrEP/nPEP, STI management, Hepatitis and HIV care, as well as Primary Care. She will be speaking on the following topic: "Transgender Medicine - Medications, Surgery and What Practitioners Need to Know".

Disclosure: Corinne “Corie” Beniasians, PA-C, MS-PA has no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests

The Anatomy of a Medical Malpractice Case

Rebecca A. Berberian, BSN, MHA is the Director of Risk Management/Infection Prevention for Adventist Health White Memorial (AHWM). Located in East Los Angeles, AHWM is a 353- bed, nonprofit, faith- based teaching hospital. Rebecca has been employed at AHWM for over 25 years, caring for the underserved population of East Los Angeles in various clinical positions as a Registered Nurse. In her role as Director of Risk Management, she oversees adverse patient safety events, potential legal claims and legal claims. Her responsibilities in response to potential claims or legal claims include chart review, responses to interrogatories and document production, witness preparation, coordination and attending depositions. Rebecca is a patient and physician advocate and ensures that all patient safety events- avoided or actual events- make White Memorial a safer hospital for patients and staff. Rebecca has volunteered as an operating room nurse in many medical missions in Armenia, Artsakh and Peru. She has also held volunteer leadership positions within the Armenian Relief Society Western Region. 

Disclosure: Rebecca Berberian, BSN, MHA has no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests

Maria Hovsepian, Esq. has been a defense attorney for the past 15 years specializing primarily in Medical Malpractice Defense. Ms. Hovsepian joined La Follette Johnson in 2012, and as a Senior Associate her practice focuses on the defense of personal injury claims, medical malpractice cases, and employment law. Ms. Hovsepian was admitted to the California Bar in 2004. She is admitted to practice before all courts in the State of California and the United States District Court for the Central District. Ms. Hovsepian obtained her Bachelor of Arts in American Literature from the University of California at Los Angeles in 2001. She then received her Juris Doctor degree in 2004 from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles. While in law school, Ms. Hovsepian volunteered at the Domestic Violence Project providing assistance to domestic violence victims in obtaining temporary restraining orders. Ms. Hovsepian continues to do pro bono work for domestic violence victims. Ms. Hovsepian has been active in numerous Armenian American organizations serving our communities throughout her collegiate and professional careers. 

Disclosure: Maria Hovsepian, Esq. has no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests

Nora Hovsepian, Esq. is an attorney at law who has specialized for over thirty years in the field of personal injury, with a special emphasis on medical malpractice. Representing plaintiffs, Nora has handled hundreds of cases in California, from the initial screening to determine whether there is a viable claim, all the way through the discovery process and resolution. Working closely with expert witnesses, Nora has successfully tried or arbitrated dozens of medical malpractice cases, earning the respect of opposing counsel and judges alike as a skilled litigator and trial attorney. Nora is a member of the California State Bar, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Armenian Bar Association, and the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA in Political Science and her Juris Doctorate cum laude from the University of La Verne. She is currently in private practice in Encino, California. Outside of her law practice, Nora volunteers her time serving as the Chair of the Armenian National Committee of America - Western Region, advocating for the advancement of the Armenian Cause. In this capacity, she has been recognized as one of the California State Assembly's 80 statewide Women of the Year and has been bestowed with the Gratitude Award by the President of the Republic of Artsakh. This year, she was honored with an award as an Armenian Influencer and Advocate for Justice.

Disclosure: Nora Hovsepian, Esq. has no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests

Honorable Judge Zaven V. Sinanian serves as Assistant Supervising Judge in the Civil Division of the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, where he oversees the Judicial Mandatory Settlement Program and is chair of the Court’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee. Prior to his current assignment, he presided over an Independent Calendar unlimited jurisdiction civil courtroom at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. Since his appointment to the bench in June 2002, he has presided over criminal, family and civil cases. Before his appointment to the bench, Judge Sinanian served as Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General.

Disclosure: Hon. Judge Zaven V. Sinanian has no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests

Edward Kaftarian, MD is a nationally recognized psychiatrist leader in telepsychiatry and creator of the field of study coined CyberPsychiatry.  Trained at the world-renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital, he is board-certified in Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine. Dr. Kaftarian has served in a variety of executive roles within the State of California correctional healthcare systems.  He is the founder of California's Statewide Prison Telepsychiatry Program, which is the largest correctional telepsychiatry program in the world. Dr. Kaftarian is currently the Chairman and CEO of Orbit Health Telepsychiatry, a company that provides high tech psychiatric care to jails, hospitals, emergency rooms, addiction treatment centers and community mental health facilities. Dr. Kaftarian is the host of "Brain on a Wire," a podcast that explores the impact technology has on mental health. He will be speaking on the following topic: "How Telehealth Can Change the Lives of Patients, Communities, and Countries".

Disclosure: Edward Kaftarian, MD receives salary from Orbit Health Telepsychiatry


Armond Kotikian, DDS, MD, FACS is a Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon in private practice in Glendale, CA. Presently he is the Vice President of the Armenian American Medical Society. He completed dental school at UCLA. He then completed a 1-year residency in Hospital Dentistry at the Long Beach Veterans Administration Hospital.  Subsequently, he pursued a residency in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. He earned his MD from Wayne State School of Medicine, did two years of general surgery and completed his Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery residency at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2009. He is in private practice in Glendale and holds staff privileges at GAMC, Dignity Health GMH and Providence St. Joseph Medical Center. Dr. Kotikian is also an Assistant Professor at USC in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Dr. Kotikian specializes in complicated dental implant cases, wisdom tooth extraction, and office anesthesia. In the hospital setting he performs facial trauma reconstruction, orthognathic surgery (corrective jaw surgery), treats obstructive sleep apnea patients, treats patients with oral pathology lesions and performs oral and maxillofacial reconstruction. Dr. Kotikian is a member of numerous organizations, including the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, California Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the Southern California Orofacial Academy. He routinely lectures on subjects related to his field at both the local and national level. Dr. Kotikian has been featured in the LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Glendale Newspress and many other local newspapers for his work in the field of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Dr. Kotikian has also been featured on CNN Headline News local edition, ABC 7 in LA and the Diane Sawyer nightly news on ABC. The symposium will be moderated by Dr. Armond Kotikian.

Azniv Ksachikyan, Esq. & Edgar Martirosyan, Esq. to present on: “Murky Waters of Employment / Wage & Hour Laws” and “Discrimination and Sexual Harassment in the Workplace”


Azniv Ksachikyan, Esq. was admitted to the California Bar in 1999. She graduated Summa cum laude from Occidental College in 1996, earning a B.A. in Politics (with Honors). At Occidental, Azniv completed a Richter Fellowship, during which she traveled throughout Armenia interviewing political leaders, social activists, university students and professional regarding the democratization of Armenia. Azniv earned her Juris Doctorate from University of California Hastings, College of the Law in 1999. At Hastings, Azniv served as Editor-In-Chief of the Constitutional Law Quarterly and an Extern for the Honorable Charles Breyer, Northern District of California. Until she ventured into her own private practice, Azniv was an attorney at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. She litigated in a variety of practice areas, including business, labor/employment, insurance, trade secret misappropriation and trust & estates. Azniv currently serves as Of Counsel at MPC Legal. She specializes in the areas of business and labor/employment litigation. 

Disclosure: Azniv Ksachikyan, Esq. has no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests

Edgar Martirosyan, Esq. holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, with a concentration in International Relations, from the University of California, Los Angeles. He earned his Juris Doctorate from UCLA School of Law in 2008, where he served as a Staff Member for the Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs. At UCLA School of Law, Edgar served as an Extern for the late Honorable Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Between 2007-2008, Edgar taught Comparative Law at the American University of Armenia and helped initiate the adoption of the LSAT as an admission criterion to the law program at the University. Edgar founded MPC Legal in 2013, focusing in the areas of wage and hour / employment litigation, business disputes, and personal injury. Edgar is admitted to practice before all Courts in California, the U.S. District Courts (Southern, Central and Northern Districts of California) and the United States Supreme Court.

Disclosure: Edgar Martirosyan, Esq. has no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests

Arthur Ohannessian, MD obtained his medical degree from the University of California San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine in 2008. He completed his specialty training in the field of Family Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA (DGSOM).  Subsequently he joined the Department of Family Medicine at UCLA as Core Faculty in the Family Medicine Residency in 2011.  He is currently a Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor at the DGSOM and the UCLA Family Medicine Residency Associate Program Director.  In addition, he is the Division Chief and Medical Director for the UCLA Family Medicine Clinic at the Mid-Valley Comprehensive Health Center in Van Nuys, CA.  He is a full-time clinician and educator who practices full spectrum Family Medicine in both the inpatient and outpatient settings.  He serves adult, pediatric, and obstetric patients in both settings. He is active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and has served in multiple leadership roles at the local, state, and national level.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the California Academy of Family Physicians and is on the national AAFP Commission on Education. His academic interests include providing primary care services to underserved communities and developing legislative policy that address primary care workforce shortages.  He is actively engaged in community advocacy through a variety of service projects at UCLA and is the Director of Project Health Education and Leadership (H.E.A.L) at UCLA.  He will be speaking on the following topic: “Perioperative Screenings - Clearing a Patient for Surgery”.

Disclosure: Arthur Ohannessian, MD has no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests

Kristina Shagramanova, DDS obtained her Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). After graduating from dental school, Dr. Shagramanova completed a one-year Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) residency program at UCLA. Following one year of practice in general dentistry, Dr. Shagramanova pursued a postdoctoral residency in advanced Endodontics at the Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia. Dr. Shagramanova is a Board-eligible member of the American Board of Endodontists and maintains active membership in numerous professional associations. Dr. Shagramanova maintains two dental practices limited to Endodontics in Glendale and Santa Clarita, CA. Dr. Shagramanova is also an endodontic faculty member at the UCLA School of Dentistry. She will be speaking on the following topic: "Dental CT in Endodontics - Diagnosis and Treatment."

Dr. James Hagop Tabibian, MD, PhD is an Associate Professor at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.  He is the Director of Endoscopy and Housestaff Research Director for the Department of Medicine at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center.  His clinical and research interests are in advanced and therapeutic gastrointestinal endoscopy and in training the next generation of technically- and culturally-competent gastroenterologists.  Dr. Tabibian grew up in Central California, where he attended UC Davis as an undergraduate.  He received his MD degree at UCLA, wherefrom he graduated with Alpha Omega Alpha honors.  He completed Residency training in the Osler Medical Housestaff Training Program at Johns Hopkins.  Thereafter, Dr. Tabibian became the first joint NIH-ABIM Subspecialty Research track fellow in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Mayo Clinic Rochester.  During his Gastroenterology training, he also completed a PhD through Mayo Graduate School, Center for Clinical and Translational Studies (CTSA).  Following his training at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Tabibian joined the University of Pennsylvania as an Instructor and Advanced Endoscopy Fellow.  At the terminus of his year at Penn, Dr. Tabibian moved back to California to join the faculty at UC Davis Medical Center as an Assistant Professor and Director of Fellow Research.  Family needs brought him back to Southern California in 2017.  Dr. Tabibian is highly experienced in endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), luminal stenting, and enteroscopy, among other advanced procedures. He is highly published in the biomedical literature, has been awarded extramural grants, is a certified expert medical reviewer for the Medical Board of California, and holds numerous editorial positions. https://www.uclahealth.org/gastro/research/tabibian-laboratory. He will be speaking on the following topic: "Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Clinical Overview and Update"

Disclosure: James H. Tabibian, MD, PhD has no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests

Astkhik Zakian, PharmD is a Sr. Clinical Pharmacist at Anthem. Over the past 16 years, she has supported various initiatives involving Specialty Pharmacy and Pharmacy benefit designs. She is also an Assistant Adjunct Professor at USC's Master of Science program, and teaches managed care and specialty pharmaceutical management electives at local pharmacy schools. Dr. Astkhik Zakian received her Bachelors of Science degree from UCLA, and her PharmD from the University of Southern California (USC). Dr. Zakian is an active member of Armenian American Medical Society, Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, and the pharmacy community. She will be speaking on the following topic: "Tobacco and Nicotine: Prevention, Addiction, Treatment and Management".

Disclosure: Astkhik Zakian, PharmD has no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests

Jim Willcox has been in the medical device industry for over 30 years, 20 of which have been with Stryker Corporation. He started his career at Stryker as a sale representative, and eventually moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan, home of Stryker’s headquarters, to become a Marketing Manager for the Medical Division.  Jim worked on developing and executing bed related Fall Prevention programs, as well as Hospital- Acquired Pressure Injury (HAPI) Prevention programs. Jim eventually moved back to Southern California to manage the bed business in California, Arizona and Nevada.  During this time, he and his team partnered with large healthcare systems to help improve outcomes by implementing the fall prevention and Hospital-Acquired Pressure Injury prevention programs. For the past 5 years he has worked in Corporate Accounts managing contracts and programs with the largest IDN’s in the country. Within the last year Jim has been tasked with assisting to develop Stryker wide Value Based Programs utilizing guaranteed outcomes.

Disclosure: Jim Wilcox has no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests