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Armenian Medical International Committee
Info Flash
January 2014
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President's Message

Dear All,

Greetings and happy 2014.  I've tried to keep this Info Flash brief.   If you do nothing else, read this interview with the director of Middle East / North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch (HRW).  

Besides this enlightening interview, we have a call for involving our next generation by Dr Vicken Ohannessian,  and a recount of a laser dermatology project in Yerevan.  Our colleagues in Philadelphia are re-grouping as they rejoin as AMIC's newest member.

We hope to hear from you, let's please keep in touch!  Sirov,

Jerry Manoukian MD


Syria Update

Read this excellent interview with Sarah Leah Whitson
 Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch (HRW)  
Written by Nanore Barsoumian, Assistant Editor of the Armenian Weekly (Watertown, Massachusetts).
The interview was published in the January 1 issue of the Armenian Weekly.  
HRW monitors and highlights human rights abuses worldwide, and has been documenting the plight of refugees since the outbreak of violence in Syria in March 2011.    
see also

Questionnaire about incorporating our students into healthcare projects
by Vicken Ohannessian
Lyon, France

Dear Colleagues

My name is Vicken Ohannessian, I am 23 years old, and recently began Medical Public Health residency in Lyon, France.  I am member of UMAF Lyon for the past 4 years.

During this time, I recognized that it's difficult to bring students into our type of organization, and  to associate students to the projects. Indeed, the projects are usually big projects, complicated, and requiring knowledge about the situation in Armenia, knowledge about the people, and medical knowledge.

Students have expressed the desire to participate more to the projects, but in a more easy way. One solution would be to do internship in Armenian hospitals, or travel in Armenia to participate in projects directly. One main problem is the financial issue, not everyone can travel easily, and the second one is that the project does not necessarily follow school vacations. 

So, here are some ideas I'd like to share with you to know your views.  First, I think it would be good to know the participation of youth and students among all of our AMIC members, in that purpose I wrote a small questionnaire that will take you only a few minutes to do:

AMIC could coordinate the formation of university partnership between Armenia and other countries so that it's easier for students to go on exchange programs, both ways. And as it's important to know each other, I think there should be a Student Group among AMIC,  to establish contacts in between students and residents. Lastly, I propose,  an exchange platform  between all member  organizations of AMIC about activities that could integrate students. Thus Armenian students from all over the world could participate much more easily to programs in Armenia and Artsakh.

I hope this can create an interesting dynamic to make our network stronger and more useful.  Please don't hesitate to send me comments to my email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you have students or resident in your organization please share this article with them, and tell them to not hesitate to contact me, to begin creating this student network among AMIC. 
Thank you


  Dr Vicken Ohannessian is a member of UMAF Rhone-Alpes.  See also

Medical Team Takes State-of-the-Art Lasers To Armenia

Group Hopes to Raise Funds to Help Locals
BOSTON — On October 24, 2013, a team of three dermatology laser specialists from the US arrived in Yerevan.  Dr R. Rox Anderson, a professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School is director of the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). A world renowned expert on lasers, he is the inventor of many  current technologies used in cutaneous laser surgery.

Dr Lilit Garibyan, an instructor at Harvard Medical School,  and secretary of the Armenian-American Medial Association in Boston, organized this mission trip. She worked closely with Dr. Gevorg Yaghjyan, associate professor in Department of Plastic Reconstructive Microsurgery in Yerevan, to make this trip possible. Dr. H. Ray Jalian, a clinical instructor at UCLA was also a member of the visiting team.

Dr Anderson lectured on the use of lasers for treatment of scars at the Fourth International Congress of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons.  Garibyan and Jalian gave lectures on the role of laser treatments in dermatology for vascular anomalies andupdated medical treatments for vascular lesions to an audience of dermatologists and plastic surgeons at Arabkir Medical Center.
Laser Surgery
Dr. Rox Anderson treats a patient with the laser while Dr. Argine Azatyan and Dr. Lilit Garibyan observe.  Photo courtesy of the Armenian Spectator Mirror

They evaluated 76 patients in consultation for scars and vascular malformations.  After careful evaluation and discussion of each case, digital photographs were taken and a treatment plan was devised for 44 patients. 
Treatments were performed with the assistance of Dr. Argine Azatyan a plastic surgeon in Armenia, at the Avangard Medical Center in Yerevan. The patients with vascular anomalies, such as port-wine stains, were not treated on this trip as the team did not have the vascular laser in Armenia for proper treatment of these patients. During the evaluations of patients with port-wine stain, it became apparent that several of them had been treated in Armenia with an inappropriate laser that gave these patients hypertrophic facial burn scars.

The team is confident that with correct vascular lasers these patients could be treated appropriately. Their next goal is to develop a long-term plan to bring appropriate lasers for a permanent clinic environment in Yerevan.  Laser treatment of scars is repeated every 2-3 months for up to 6 treatments.   A longterm goal of the mission is to train local physicians to provide these services on a routine basis to Armenian patients.

Dr Garibyan was born in Yerevan and moved to Glendale, California with her family at age 12.   She met Dr Anderson during dermatology residency at Massachusetts General Hospital.  Dr Anderson was volunteering his time once a year in Vietnam to help start a vascular anomalies clinic there.  After seeing his success, Garibyan envisioned a similar program in Armenia.  She worked closely with Dr. Gevorg Yaghjyan to organize this trip and recruited her mentor, Anderson, and close friend, Jalian, to join her.

“It was so great to go back to Armenia after being way for more than 21 years and to have something to give back to the people.  I hope we can continue doing this every year,” Garibyan said after her trip. “Despite the success of our first trip, we are not stopping here.

Garibyan and Jalian plan a foundation to raise money for obtaining the necessary lasers as well as funding for these trips and they welcome any help.  Contact Dr. Lilit Garibyan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The original Mirror-Spectator article can be found on pages 4 and 5 of
  Comic Books and Surgery and gathering of the Philadelphia Armenian community
        A very graphic novel, and a very novel approach to teaching surgery
  Healthcare professionals from the Philadelphia Armenian community gathered on January 20 at the Mutter Museum at the College of Physicians in Philadelphia.  Head and neck surgeon Ara Chalian, MD and artist/biologist Caryn Babaian, MA, co-presented  "Comic Books and Surgery, a very graphic novel, and a very novel approach to teaching surgery."    

Comic book technique has the advantage of creating a scene, a visual format that may not be achievable using conventional technique such as photography or even witnessing a surgery.  It can use parts of the brain different from those used in conventional teaching.  Some of these brain centers are also linked to such attributes as empathy and emotional intelligence.  When presented with visual information, the brain will try to connect the pictures into a meaningful sequence of events.

The event marked the re-organization of the Armenian American Medical-Dental Association (AAMDA) of Greater Philadelphia.   AAMDA had been a vibrant organization playing an important role in AMIC's formation.   Thanks to our New York colleagues for helping organize the gathering.

Dr Chalian and Ms Babaian
Dr Ara Chalian & Caryn Babaian describe how comic book technique can draw the learner's eye to important details
(Note:  this is exactly how the presentation looked.  
For real photos, please click here

  The Long View:
  • Summer 2015:  the 4th International Medical Congress of Armenia, held in Yerevan!
  • 2017:  the 12th Armenian Medical World Congress to be held in Buenos Aires!
  • 2019:  5th International Medical Congress of Armenia??

Call for Diasporan - Armenian Telepathology Cooperative
  Calling all pathologists!  Use your talents to help guide pathologic diagnosis in Armenia using telemedicine.  Thanks to technology like the Hyebridge program, we can offer specialty-specific collaboration between the Diaspora and our colleagues in Yerevan and beyond.  Pathology presents a unique challenge with the added requirement for microscopes and new staining techniques.
Please see this link for a proposal by Dr Gevorg Yaghjyan to form a telepathology cooperative between the Diaspora and Armenia.  


AMIC is currently headquartered in Silicon Valley:
Armenian Medical International Committee
2500 Hospital Drive, Building 4
Mountain View, California,  94040
telephone 1-650-961-2013
fax 1-888-344-2647
  Social Media
  • We have 45 members in our Armenian Medical International Committee group on Linkedin. Click here to join!

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