Projects in the United States
The Armenian American Medical Society strongly believes in investing in our future healthcare professionals who will play an important role in improving the health and wellbeing of our community. Initiated under the direction of Dr. Varoosh Alaverdian and Dr. Raffi Tachdjian, AAMS awards scholarships to qualified Armenian students enrolled in various healthcare education programs in the fields of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing and allied health.
For more information on our scholarship program, click here.
Continuing medical education (CME) is necessary to help healthcare providers continuously improve their practice and their care of patients. Initiated by Dr. Armen Cherik, AAMS provides the 25 annual medical and dental CME credits required for state licensing. In addition to monthly CME courses, AAMS also holds an annual whole day CME course in Las Vegas. These courses enable healthcare professionals from a variety of fields to keep abreast of the latest medical advances and practice management tools, in addition to providing valuable opportunities for networking.
AAMS Mentorship Program
The Armenian American Medical Society members take an active role in mentoring Armenian medical students and residents. The Armenian American Medical Society mentorship program gives young Armenian medical students, residents, and fellows access to a broad spectrum of Armenian physicians and healthcare practitioners who provide valuable guidance and advice throughout their training and as they choose their medical specialty. Initiated by Dr. Raffi Tachdjian, AAMS maintains an active role in the development of these young medical professionals, providing invaluable experience and guidance.
Community Health Education
Because an informed community is a healthier community, the Armenian American Medical Society takes an active role in providing free health education resources, the most prominent of which is their bi-weekly television show, Your Health. Partnering with ARTN/Shant Television, the Armenian American Medical Society hosts this half-hour talk show hosted by Dr. Vicken Sepilian, which airs during prime time on the first and third Wednesday of every month. Each episode features healthcare professionals from a broad spectrum of specialties who discuss medical topics relevant to preventive care and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Your Health is a dynamic resource for viewers interested in improving their health and provides the opportunity for members of the Armenian community to address their health-related concerns with bi-lingual healthcare professionals.
Glendale Health Festival
The annual Glendale Health Festival is a community service of the Armenian American Medical Society in collaboration with state, county and local agencies, and local healthcare and civic organizations. This comprehensive health fair provides the underserved in Glendale and the surrounding communities with important preventive health services and education they might otherwise not receive. More than 150 healthcare professionals, including physicians representing an array of specialties, nurses, dietitians and other allied health professionals, volunteer their time to provide free medical screenings and health education on conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity and proper nutrition, cancer awareness, diabetes, heart disease, bone health, and more. On-site multi-lingual medical staff provides health-related information and advice. In addition, the festival features free food, entertainment and activities for the entire family. The annual health festival, which began in 2009, serves thousands of community members.
Projects in the Armenia
The Armenian EyeCare Project
The Armenian EyeCare Project, “Save the Beautiful Armenian Eyes,” was founded in 1992 through the extraordinary efforts of Orange County ophthalmologist Roger V. Ohanesian, MD. The Armenian American Medical Society, Dr. Ohanesian and Richard L. Kasper, MD, with generous donations from Alegran, Inc., Algon Surgical, Inc., Eye Technology, Inc., and others; sent specialized eye surgery equipment, totaling more than 1.2 million dollars to Armenia, establishing one of the most progressive retinal surgery centers in Armenia and the region.
The mission of the Armenian EyeCare Project is to eliminate preventable blindness in Armenia and to make 21st-century eye care accessible to every Armenian man, woman, and child. Dr. Ohanesian and Dr. Kasper traveled to Armenia on numerous occasions to perform surgeries and to train Armenian ophthalmologists. Through the efforts of the Armenian American Medical Society, several Armenian eye surgeons were brought to United States for training in retinal surgery. The Armenian EyeCare Project continues to thrive and has recently undertaken a project to create mobile eye surgery units will travel to remote areas of Armenia to treat underprivileged patients.
Shengavit Maternity Hospital Project
The Armenian American Medical Society undertook a project to modernize medical services at the Shangavit Medical Center, formerly The Shengavit Maternity Hospital, under the guidance and supervision of Bedros Kojian, MD. Dr. Kojian is an OB/GYN and clinical professor at the University of California, Irvine; he is also a past president of The Armenian American Medical Society. The goal of the project was to not only upgrade the facility’s equipment, but to ensure the staff received ongoing training.
The Armenian American Medical Society initially delivered laparoscopic equipment and instruments and established a Laparoscopic and Minimally Invasive Surgical Center, while Dr. Kojian trained the staff on the latest in techniques in minimally invasive procedures. In subsequent years, operating tables, anesthesia machines, electrosurgical equipment, monitors, incubators, and ventilators, among other necessary equipment were shipped to refurbish the hospital. A $250,000 donation from the Armenian American Medical Society established a radiology department with state-of-the-art X-ray, mammogram and ultrasound machines. The Armenian American Medical Society also replaced all the old hospital beds with automatic electric beds. Thanks to the support of the Thomas J. and Erma Jean Tracy Family Foundation, a donation of $100,000 was made to establish the hospital’s In Vitro Fertilization Center.
Today, the Shengavit Medical Center has become one of the top hospitals in Yerevan. Dr. Kojian continues to visit Armenia each year to upgrade the equipment and provide continuing education to his medical colleagues.
The AAMS has a long history of robust and vigorous interest in women’s health with four past presidents specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology/Reproductive Medicine. Over the past several years, the AAMS has been collaborating with the Armenian Society for Reproductive Medicine and Aragil Foundation in Armenia in order to improve the state of Reproductive Health services in Armenia by conducting training workshops for physicians in Armenia and Artsakh.
In 2011, the AAMS acquired and subsequently donated $120,000 worth of equipment to help establish in vitro fertilization and fertility centers in Yerevan and Stepanakert.
In 2012, the Armenian Canadian Medical Association of Ontario (ACMAO), in cooperation with AAMS and with Dr. Vicken Sepilian’s efforts, transferred the operations of the Women’s Health Clinic (WHC) in Stepanakert to AAMS.
From January 2013-2016, the AAMS provided salary support and supplies for the WHC, as well as directorship for the clinic which was rotated among an AAMS steering committee and ACMAO members. The clinic includes fertility services, distant learning capabilities, and a tele-consultation program.
AAMS has been very satisfied with this collaborative project, having truly had a meaningful impact on women’s health in Artsakh. The AAMS’ involvement has synergized and streamlined efforts to improve women’s health in Artsakh and Armenian as a whole.
Artsakh Mobile Diagnostic Unit
In 2009, the AAMS with Dr. Varoosh Alaverdian’s efforts collaborated with the Ministry of Health of Artsakh to purchase a Mobile Diagnostic and Therapeutic Unit. This unit enables healthcare workers to provide vital medical services to people in the remote villages of this mountainous country. The multipurpose mobile medical facility is an invaluable resource for these villagers, alleviating the burden of traveling many hours to Stepanakert for care, especially during harsh winter conditions.
The Armenian American Medical Society Juvenile Diabetes Project has been operating in Armenia since 1993. For children with juvenile diabetes, life can be incredibly difficult and painful. Uncontrolled diabetes can have devastating consequences, including, kidney failure, strokes, blindness, and poor circulation that could lead to amputation. The lives of these young patients are often cut short because of these complications.
Initially, the aim of the project was to purchase insulin, the drug necessary to control this disease, and send it to Armenia, where it was in short supply. Today, the Armenian American Medical Society sponsors an annual camp that educates children with diabetes on the correct use of insulin, as well as proper nutrition and lifestyle as a means to optimize their health. The first camp took place the week of July 6, 2014, at Camp Aragats, in Armenia. The program is growing and in 2015, the camp hosted 35 children, who received this invaluable health education.
Through the support of the Armenian American Medical Society, the medical community and pharmaceutical companies, the incidences of these life-threatening complications from juvenile diabetes have dramatically declined. The Armenian American Medical Society is also working through a government-sponsored program to ensure that supplies and medication is provided to all diabetic children free of charge.
The Armenian American Medical Society has established medical clinics in rural areas of the Armenia—thanks in large part to the efforts of Dr. Armen Cherik—providing residents with the vital medical services they lacked. Beginning in 2005, clinics were established in three villages bordering the war-torn region of Karabagh and Azerbaijan: Aregouni, Pokr Mazrik, and Tsapatag. With the closest healthcare facilities as much as eight hours away, these clinics have provided life-saving care to an area largely populated by refugees from Karabagh.
Each clinic has a full-time nurse who provides care to patients throughout the week, and a physician, who visits each clinic at least once a week. The clinic in Aregouni also provides dental care to patients. In 2008, the Armenian American Medical Society constructed a fourth clinic in the remote northeastern village of Voskevan, which had been in dire need of healthcare services for fifteen years.
Upon successfully establishing these clinics, the Armenian American Medical Society was able to transfer the management of this program over to the Government of Armenia.
Pediatric Epilepsy Project
In January of 2003, through the efforts of Dr. Armen Cherik and Dr. Mark Nazarian, the AAMS established a pediatric epilepsy program in Armenia. Since its inception, the pediatric epilepsy clinic in Yerevan has hired a full-time pediatric neurologist and nurse, and the AAMS has shipped equipment, books and anti-seizure medications to Armenia. Today, hundreds of children are receiving care and medication free of charge at the clinic.