AAMS’ 15th Annual CME & CDE Las Vegas Getaway

Dr. Avo Artinyan earned his MD from UC San Diego and completed his general surgery training and colorectal research fellowship at USC. He then completed clinical and research surgical oncology fellowships at City of Hope Cancer Center. Dr. Artinyan joined Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX in 2009. At the Houston VA, he established one of the busiest robotic surgical oncology and colorectal surgery programs in the country. He was later promoted to Chief of Colon and Rectal Surgery and Associate Director of Surgical Oncology, and was recognized with the Fulbright and Jaworski Faculty Excellence Award, the Baylor STAR Award for excellence in clinical practice, and the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award by graduating chief residents. Dr. Artinyan was recruited back to LA this year by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong as director of surgical oncology for the Verity Medical Foundation, with the goal of developing a world-class comprehensive cancer center in Los Angeles. Dr. Artinyan's expertise is in minimally invasive gastrointestinal surgical oncology, particularly laparoscopic, robotic, and transanal colon and rectal cancer surgery. He is an expert in sphincter-preserving resection techniques for rectal cancer and was among the early developers of transanal minimally invasive surgery. Dr. Artinyan is also an expert in the treatment of gastric, pancreatic, soft tissue and breast cancers, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, and abdominal wall hernias. He has authored over 50 peer-reviewed publications, several book chapters and has been an invited guest lecturer both nationally and internationally. Dr. Artinyan is the current president of the Armenian Association of Hematology and Oncology which is partnering with the American Society of Clinical Oncology for an international cancer conference in Armenia this November. Dr. Artinyan will be speaking on the following topic: "Novel Approaches for the Treatment of Colon and Rectal Cancer: Minimally Invasive Surgery, Sphincter-Preservation, and Organ Preservation."

Disclosure: Avo Artinyan, MD, MS, FACS has no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests

Anita Avedian, MFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has been in practice since 2001. Her specialties include working with relationships, anger, social anxiety, and addictions. Ms. Avedian is the Executive Director of Anger Management 818. She is a Certified Anger Management Specialist IV and a Diplomat Member of the National Anger Management Association. She offers a monthly training throughout the West Coast to certify counselors in anger management. She authored Anger Management Essentials, a workbook for aggression, which has been translated into Spanish, Armenian, and Hebrew. Ms. Avedian is the co-Founder and President of the California Chapter of the NAMA which is the California Chapter of Anger Management Providers, and the Founder of Toastmasters for Mental Health Professionals. Ms. Avedian has offices in Sherman Oaks, Hollywood, Glendale, and Woodland Hills. She recently appeared on Good Day LA discussing Road Rage. She will be speaking on the following topic: "Managing Depression As a Team Effort!".

Disclosure: Anita Avedian, MFT has no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests

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 Director of Structural Heart Program at Glendale Adventist and 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 recently named the Medical Director of the Peripheral Vascular Lab at St Vincent Hospital. He is an Associate Clinical Professor at Western University School of Medicine. Dr. Balian will be speaking on the following topic: "New Pathways in Lipid Care: Navigating the Latest Guidelines."

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

Armen Cherik, MD, MBA is a Board Certified Neurologist who has been practicing in Glendale since 1993. He completed his Neurology Residency Training at Kaiser Foundation and UCLA joint program in 1993. He has established a comprehensive Neurology and Neurodiagnostics center in Glendale, and serves as a consultant at Glendale Memorial, Adventist, and Verdugo Hills hospitals. He currently is a member of the Stroke committee of Glendale Adventist Hospital. Dr. Cherik acted as the Chairman of Department of Internal Medicine at Glendale Memorial Hospital in 1999, and is the past President and founder of the Pediatric Epilepsy program of Armenian American Medical Society. Dr. Cherik will be speaking on the following topic: "Medical Factors Affecting Older Driver Safety".

Disclosure: Armen J. Cherik, MD, MBA has no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests


Marine Demirjian, MD is a board certified Allergy and Immunology specialist whose practice emphasis is centered around the treatment of allergic disease. Dr. Demirjian earned her medical degree from the UCLA School of Medicine. Subsequently she completed Internal Medicine Residency training at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and Allergy & Immunology Fellowship at the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare Center and Children's Hospital, Los Angeles. Dr. Demirjian is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology as well as the American Board of Internal Medicine. She holds numerous professional society memberships including the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, American Contact Dermatitis Society, and the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Dr. Demirjian will be speaking on the following topic: "Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis: Guideline Updates Applied to Clinical Cases".

Disclosure: Marine Demirjian, MD has no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests

Sako Karakozian, DDS is a general dentist and owner of Dental Design Studio City in the Los Angeles area. He graduated from New York University in 2007 while serving as Webmaster and Social Chair for the College of Dentistry. During his early years as an associate of a large dental corporation, he coached dozens of dentists in doctor-patient relations at over 25 offices throughout Las Vegas and Southern California. He's been a Clinical Advisor at the UNLV School of Dental Medicine, Clinical Director for the Special Olympics Special Smiles program, and makes regular appearances on the nationally broadcast TV show "The Doctors", discussing various topics, including the latest dental products and trends seen online and on social media. Over the last 15 years, Dr. Sako has garnered extensive experience from multiple perspectives on how the new generation of patients view and interact with the dental world, and he's here to share with you a presentation on "The Modern Dental Patient and How to Meet Their Expectations".


As a diplomate, Vahe Nakashyan, DDS, MDS is board certified in periodontology and dental implantology by the American Academy of Periodontology. He is a Los Angeles native, of Armenian and Greek descent. He earned his undergraduate degrees from the University of Southern California (USC), receiving a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, then a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene. He practiced as a registered dental hygienist for a few years in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, CA. Dr. Nakashyan was a clinical instructor at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC undergraduate clinic, Department of Periodontology, where he also earned his doctor of dental surgery degree. Dr. Nakashyan completed his residency in periodontology at the Dunn Dental School of UTHSC, and the Memphis VA Medical Center. He also earned a Masters in Dental Science (MDS) from the Graduate Medical Education department at UTHSC. He was a clinical and laboratory instructor for dental students at Dunn Dental School. Dr. Nakashyan is also a published author, with his area of research on the anti- inflammatory effects of vitamin D. Dr. Nakashyan is a member of Dental Care for Children, which is a non-profit organization that provides free dental care for underserved communities in Mexico, United States, and Haiti. He will be speaking on "Hard and Soft Tissue Management in the Oral Cavity."

Jhanna A. Nariyants, DO is board-certified in Endocrinology and Metabolism. She earned her medical degree from A.T. Still University of Health Sciences in Kirksville, Missouri where at the same time she was working as a teaching assistant of Biochemistry. She completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Summa Health System/Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, Akron, Ohio. Dr. Nariyants received her fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism from the University of California, San Diego. She has also received her Master of Science degree in Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University, Washington, District of Columbia. She is a graduate of UC San Diego with BS in Biochemistry and Cell Biology where she was also involved as a teaching assistant of Metabolic and Structural Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Dr. Nariyants practices endocrinology at DaVita Medical Group (Health Care Partners) in Pasadena. She will be speaking on "New Treatment Guidelines for Diabetes."

Disclosure: Jhanna Nariyants, DO is a shareholder of Abbott, Dexcom, Tandem, Insulet Corp.


Douglas C. Nies, earned his PhD in clinical psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary, Graduate School of Psychology and did his post-doctoral fellowship in Neuro-Psychology at UCLA. He has been in private practice in Glendale since 1984. He is a part-time medical director of Physician Wellbeing for Adventist Health - Glendale, Southern California Region. He also serves as the chair of the psychology section in the department of behavioral medicine at AH-G. He is the co-chair of the Ethics Committee and is a member of the Physician Wellbeing Committee. Dr. Nies also serves on the Governing Board of AH-G. He will be speaking on "When a Colleague is Impaired."

Disclosure: Douglas C. Nies, PhD has no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests


Dr. Nishan Odabashian received his DMD degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 1991, a Certificate of Specialty in Endodontics from Loma Linda University in 2001, and a Master's of Science degree in Endodontics in 2003. He is a part time Assistant Professor in the Department of Graduate Endodontics at Loma Linda University Since 2003. He is currently the District VII Director for the American Association of Endodontists, and is the past president of the Glendale Academy of Dentists, California State Association of Endodontists, and president-elect of the International Academy of Endodontics. He has also served on different committees of both American Association of Endodontists, and International Academy of Endodontics. He has lectured locally, nationally and internationally. He has been a featured speaker at the AAE Annual Session, Northern California Association of Endodontists, the US Naval Academy, Glendale Academy, Armenian State Medical University, and the AAMS. Dr. Odabashian will be speaking on "Stacking the Deck in the Patient's Favor--Predictable Endodontics".

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 "Opioid Prescribing: Safe Practice, Changing Lives - 2018 Update."

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

Gilda Torossian, DDS, MSD is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics and practices in Sherman Oaks, California. Dr. Torossian earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Physiological Sciences from UCLA, graduating Summa Cum Laude. She continued her education at UCLA, receiving her DDS degree, graduating cum laude and was inducted into the dental honor society Omicron Kappa Upsilon. Dr. Torossian continued her education at the University of Texas Medical Center at Houston, completing her orthodontic residency and earning her Masters of Science in Dentistry. She specializes in dentofacial orthopaedics and correction of malocclusions for children and adults. Dr. Torossian is a member of numerous organizations including the American Board of Orthodontics, American Association of Orthodontists and the California Dental Association. She will be speaking on "Interdisciplinary Approach to Orthodontic Treatment".

Astkhik Zakian, PharmD is a Clinical Pharmacist at Anthem. Over the past 13 years she has supported various initiatives involving Specialty Pharmacy and Pharmacy benefit designs. She is also a Per-Diem Pharmacist at Motion Pictures Television Fund Outpatient Pharmacy. Dr. Astkhik Zakian received her Bachelors of Science degree from UCLA, and her PharmD from the University of Southern California (USC). Following that, she completed her managed care residency program at WellPoint Next Rx. Dr. Zakian is an active member of Armenian American Medical Society, and Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy. She is also an active member of the pharmacy community. Dr. Zakian has lectured at USC School of Pharmacy, Western University Pharmacy School and has reviewed various manuscripts for the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy. She will be speaking on "Navigating the World of Probiotics: Helping Patients Make Good Choices."

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