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Armenian Medical International Committee
Info Flash
November 2013
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President's Message

Dear All,
It is now several months since the magnificent 11th Armenian Medical World Congress in Los Angeles and 40 years since the Congress in Beirut.   Our membership and connections have grown and so has our collective wonderment of how to keep growing.  

In the weeks since the Congress, we have lost at least two of our colleagues, and their brief biographies are included below.

As the situation in Syria has deteriorated even further, AMIC will require, from all of our membership, ideas and recommendations how we can help with relief efforts.  They are now experiencing a polio epidemic, and at least one case of polio in has occurred in an Armenian from Syria who relocated to Armenia.

At the 11th AMWC, Dr Shant Shekherdimian eloquently framed how AMIC should refocus our efforts and create strategies for determining Armenia's healthcare future.  Please see this link and the notes about the Armenian Russian Medical Association, below.

AMIC is delighted to announce our newest member organizations, the Armenian Russian Medical Association (ARMA) and the Argentine colleagues who will host the next Armenian Medical World Congress in 2017.

With the retirement of AMIC's dear Secretary, Dr Aida Boudjikanian, we are distributing the logistical responsibilities to the Member Organizations.  AAHPO has kindly agreed to facilitate the publication of upcoming Info Flashes.  

Read on and prosper!
Jerry Manoukian MD

IN MEMORIAM:  Arthur Pogosyan, Child Psychiatrist in Glendale, California
August 4, 1966 - August 4, 2013

Dr. Arthur Pogosyan was a board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, who completed his Child & Adolescent Training at UCLA-NPI. He had extensive experience in treating children with history of trauma and abuse, as well as other childhood disorders. Dr. Pogosyan has also taught Child Development course as an Assistant Clinical Professor since 2000 at UCLA-VA Sepulveda Program. He received a Fulbright lecturer grant and worked in Armenia for one year in 2009.

He was the co-host of the “Ponderings” show with Dr. Charles Pilavian on Horizon TV station. 
Dr Pogosyan
 One of his major projects was “HaikProject”, which is a community non-profit organization dedicated to improve the lives of children and their families.  Founded in 2004 by Arthur Pogosyan and his wife, Astrik Vardanyan, HaikProject advocated natural childbirth and natural parenting free of birth and childhood traumas. Arthur was also deeply involved with environmental health and Green Armenia project. 
video tribute to Dr Pogosyan also details the trust fund set up for his 3 sons.

IN MEMORIAM:  Vahan Jirayr Darpinyan, Neurologist, Yerevan
Aug 12, 1950 - Aug 28, 2013

It is with heartfelt sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved teacher after a long and courageous battle with cancer. 

Vahagn was born and grew up in Yerevan, Armenia. He received his medical education at Yerevan State Medical University. He had been trained in Russia, USA, Canada and Europe. Indeed, Darbinyan's courageous return, stay, and work in and through the darkest days of the nascent Armenian Republic led to a major paradigm shift in the field of neurology in Armenia.
Dr Darbinyan
 The school of neurology he established and built, based on evidence-based medicine, became the exemplar for modernization of medicine in the country and the region. Prof. Darbinyan became Chairman of Neurology at the Yerevan State Medical University, president of the Armenian League Against Epilepsy, president of the Armenian Neurology Association, chief-neurologist of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia. He created compassionate, individualized, state-of-the-art care for every patient who came into the practice seeking help and relief from suffering. Countless patients, adult and children, owe him, and will owe him down the generations, their neurological health or lives.

As such, mixed with deep sorrow, we are full also with pride and happiness to know him.   We will carry YOUR light, love and knowledge throughout our lives, and always seek to remember to give, as you gave so much of yourself to us.

  AMIC welcomes the Armenian Russian Medical Association (

Berge Minassian and Shant Shekherdimian of ACMAO  visited our Moscow colleagues on Sunday, September 15 to discuss the restructuring of AMIC as an entity to work with the Ministry of Health of Armenia to refocus our longterm strategic goals.
All information about the meeting (in Russian) is on the web
RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
  A brief translation of the information in English:
Initiative  to promote the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh in Optimizing the Foundations of Health
 At its last General Assembly of the Armenian Medical International Committee (AMIC), it was decided to initiate a program aimed at consolidating the efforts of all members of AMIC in a single body that will work with the Ministries of Health of Armenia and Artsakh and international specialized institutions for the improvement of health care in the historic homeland.   The document was prepared by Dr. Shant Shekherdimian , explaining the principles on which the initiative is based.
Dr Shekherdimian and Dr Berge Minassian discussed the document at the meeting of the newly established member of AMIC - Russian Armenian Medical Association (ARMA) on 15 September 2013.   The Committee will contact the other members of AMIC soon after September, to organize similar meetings. It is also proposed to convene a special general assembly AMIC in the spring or summer of 2014 in Montreal to discuss formally this initiative.
All questions should be directed to Dr. Berge Minassian at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • AMIC will review our cooperation with the Ministries of Health of Armenia and Artsakh, international health agencies and other key organizations to science-based public health to prioritize the health of citizens of Armenia and Artsakh.
  • The members of AMIC specialists will determine the priority areas and AMIC will form a group of experts to work with the above stakeholders to realize the objectives for improvement in these areas.
  • The initiative does not affect other activities of the members of AMIC .
  • It is desirable to combine the efforts of all  AMIC departments for this initiative to optimize the cooperation of all stakeholders. 

    Polio Outbreak in Syria
Among the human costs of this horrible civil war, a cluster of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) was reported in the Syrian city of Deir Al Zour on October 17.  At least 13 cases have  subsequently been confirmed to be poliomyelitis.  Genetic sequencing indicates that these viruses resemble specimens from Egypt in 2012, and these are suspected to originate in Pakistan.  

Vaccination efforts are underway in Syria, with plans to vaccinate 1.6 million children.  
WiRED International, an organization educating health professionals and lay people in many countries including Armenia, has translated a computer-based educational program on polio into Arabic.  (click here for more information and to see the very well-done online module)
WiRED International welcomes any and all volunteers to help translate their critically important health modules into Armenian.  See also the Info Flash
 article about WiRED International from April


The  11th Armenian Medical World Congress was held in Hollywood, July 3-7, 2013
by the Armenian American Medical Society (AAMS).  

The 11th Armenian Medical World Congress (AMWC) was an undeniable success, taking place in Los Angeles from July 3 through July 6, 2013. The Congress held true to its theme of “Uniting for a Healthy Future,” bringing together healthcare professionals and dignitaries from 16 nations around the world.

AMWC logo

The first day began with an inspirational opening ceremony featuring remarks from Vicken Sepilian, MD, FACOG, Chairman of the 11th AMWC and President of the Armenian American Medical Society (AAMS) along with the Ministers of Health Derenik Dumanyan, MD, PhD, DSc, from Armenia, and Zoya Lazaryan from the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR). The three flags of the United States, Armenia and the NKR were proudly displayed. A prayer was given to bless the gathering followed by a symbolic bang of the gavel officially beginning the Congress.

“I have attended most of the World Congresses and this year’s was by far the most successful,” says Derenik Dumanyan, MD, PhD, DSc, Minister of Health of the Republic of Armenia. “The scientific presentations were very interesting and it was nice to see so many younger physicians involved. The theme of ‘Uniting for a Healthy Future’ was realized by all the attendees.”

“By coming together at this Congress, important collaborations were made between the NKR and Armenia,” remarks Zoya Lazaryan, Minister of Health of the NKR. “I am looking forward to implementing these vital projects that we discussed.” 

The Scientific Sessions embarked on a journey tackling the most serious medical conditions in Armenia and the world facing all healthcare professionals in attendance including heart disease, stroke, cancer and infectious diseases. Throughout the four day Congress, over 200 lecturers shared their vast medical and scientific knowledge and experience during the plenary sessions and daily breakout sessions.

“The sessions were relevant and very helpful and I have heard nothing but praise from all who attended the Congress,” says Ara Babloyan, MD, PhD, DSc, National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia. “The presenters were well prepared and the sessions were well attended. Congratulations on both a successful and memorable Armenian Medical World Congress. You have set a new standard.”

Innovations in medicine and science were discussed including cardiac stem cell and gene therapies and symbiotic bacteria and their positive effects on maintaining and restoring health. Another importantly debated subject was healthcare policy and medical education in Armenia and the Diaspora and how best to use resources more effectively. Also a mini-symposium on pharmacology was featured. The final Scientific Session confronted the global paradox and burden of overconsumption and undernutrition and the negative effects of diabetes and obesity.

“Having attended the 11th AMWC held in Los Angeles, we must say how impressed we all are,” states Mikayel Narimanyan, MD, PhD, Rector of Yerevan State Medical University. “The Congress was at its height with regard to organization, and it can serve as an example of wonderful management, indeed. Moreover, the lectures designed for the Congress participants were brilliantly organized in terms of content and delivery.”

During the Congress, many exciting social events were offered to attendees for their enjoyment. On the first evening, a Welcome Reception featuring dining, cocktails and networking was held at the historic Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre Courtyard in Hollywood with over 400 people in attendance. The next night, on the 4th of July, over 200 attendees and their families witnessed a fireworks spectacular at the stunning Hollywood Bowl with the musical entertainment of Josh Groban. Friday night presented a special opportunity with two alumni reunion receptions. This was the first reunion for alumni from Yerevan State Medical University. Alumni from the American University of Beirut reunited in the Panorama Suite of the Loews Hollywood Hotel. During their reception, Dr. Ara Tekian mesmerized a crowd of fellow alumni with his piano playing talents and reminisced by singing traditional songs from Armenia.

On Saturday, the World Congress culminated with closing remarks echoing the overwhelming positive sentiments from the Ministers, Deans of Medical Schools and all the attendees. Saturday evening, everyone gathered to celebrate at the elegant Hollywood red carpet themed World Congress Ball held at the famous Ray Dolby Ballroom. Guests were greeted with palette tantalizing hors d’ouerves while being serenaded with familiar Hollywood tunes sung by a glamorous songstress seated on a silver gilded moon suspended in mid-air. A world-class dining experience was had by all and was specially prepared by Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck. Guests also danced the night away to the rhythmic sounds of the Cheerz Band by Ara Dabandjian.

Proceeds from the World Congress Ball benefitted two important projects of the AAMS – the Juvenile Diabetes Program and the Pediatric Epilepsy Program. Both programs provide vital medical treatment, supplies and education to children of Armenia suffering from these life-altering illnesses. There was a brief video presentation highlighting the programs, along with an inspirational video on the making of the Congress. Two surprises topped off the evening. First, Dr. Sepilian was presented with the Outstanding Achievement Award for his extraordinary service and dedication to the AAMS. Secondly, as a result of the synergy created during the Congress and the strong new relationships built, it was announced that a donation of medical equipment valued at $1 million had been made in support of the AAMS. 

“This World Congress was a re-energizing experience for the entire Armenian medical world community,” states Dr. Sepilian. “The carefully planned sessions, generated stimulating and fruitful discussions leaving the congress participants from all over the world with positive and optimistic sentiments towards a healthy and prosperous future.”  

For more information on the 11th AMWC, please visit our website at

   The 4th International Medical Congress of Armenia will be held in the early summer of 2015 in Yerevan, and the 12th Armenian Medical World Congress is planned for 2017 in Buenos Aires.  


  The retirement of AMIC's Secretary, Dr Aida Boudjikanian
Since our dear Aida's retirement in May of this year, we have made an effort to distribute her many responsibilities among our member organizations.  How are we doing?  Well, as one example, I am delivering the current Info Flash about five months behind schedule (which wouldnever have happened on Aida's watch!) and it is not yet translated into French.  
Aida was the fiber and glue that has kept AMIC together as a functioning organization since our inception two decades ago.  She is smart, charming, organized.  And if I know her, she is likely now busier than ever.
Jerry Manoukian MD

Dr Aida Boudjikanian
Drs Vazken Der Kaloustian and Edouard Naltchayan offer their praise:

I have known Dr. Aida Boudjikanian since many years, when we were both in Lebanon. And I was very pleased when, upon her arrival in Canada with her family, she joined the organization of AMIC, becoming the main pillar of its infrastructure. 

Her multilingual abilities, her knowledge of the cultural context of the Armenian Diaspora, as well as her understanding of the medico-social priorities of Armenia have been great assets for AMIC’s organization. Over the years, her wisdom, her well-balanced approach to different issues, and her cordial interactions with Armenians of various cultural backgrounds were greatly appreciated by everybody. 

However, all good things have an end. Aida`s retirement from AMIC will leave us with excellent memories. We are all grateful for her important input over the years.  We wish her all the best and hope that her legacy and its spirit will guide AMIC`s future activities.
 Vazken M. Der Kaloustian, MD                                
(French and Armenian translations of Dr Der Kaloustian's tribute are available here)

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to express my appreciation and gratitude for the exceptional contribution Aida brought to our organization.
As you know AMIC was found in May 1990. Twenty three years ago, almost to the day. For eighteen long years, Mrs Boudjikanian was (and still is) at the helm of the ship.  Sure enough, a number of worthy and dedicated men presided on turn upon the faith of the committee.  I am convinced however that without her generously persistent presence, the perennity of AMIC would have been in jeopardy, or at least would not have produced the results we our all proud of.

I was privileged to work with Aida for several years at the beginning of her involvement. To my great relief she took very quickly charge of the office with ''une main de fer dans un gant de velours''.  Her keen academic knowledge and actual experience with the Armenian diaspora, her facility with the pertinent languages, her creativity, her availability with countless hours, her gentle, warm approach, with occasionally a burst of joyful laughter, have made our collaboration a treat for me. To date I keep a precious memory of those days.
I am sure her presence will be missed.  I sincerely wish, you could find a replacement who will emulate her.

On my behalf, and on behalf of our Armenian medical community, I wish to sincerely thank and congratulate  Aida for her invaluable contribution.

Aida, ''Vartsket gadar''.   Best of everything down the road ahead. 

     Edouard Naltchayan MD


  Aroghj Apaga, the 1st Healthcare Fair in Armenia took place on October 13, 2013 in the main lobby of Yerevan State Medical University (YSMU).  Participants included YSMU alumni, over 40 1st and 2nd-year medical students and young physicians.  It was coordinated with MoH Dr. Derenik Dumanyan and YSMU Rector Dr Mikayel Narimanyan.  The timing of the Fair was to coincide with the 7th International Osteoporosis Symposium, held in Yerevan on October 15.

The Health Fair was advertised on the radio and was shown in several TV channels.  350 men and women, ages 40 and older, were screened for blood pressure, pulse, oxygen saturation, blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, pulmonary function and osteoporosis.  An additional 49 women were screened for cervical cancer.  Women accounted for roughly 80% of the patients.

Of patients participating in the Fair, 80% were overweight and about 10% were morbidly obese.  The majority of patients denied any exercise.  Many of the patients had very high blood sugars and were not aware that they were diabetic.  Those diagnosed with medical conditions were referred to a local medical centers.  All results from the Fair were given to the YMSU Endocrine Department.

The majority of women screened for cervical cancer and had no gynecological exam since the delivery of their children.  Only one of the 49 women and had a previous cervical cancer screening.  3 abnormal results were found.

Aroghj Apaga was supported by AMIC, the Armenian American Medical Society (AAMS), Armenian International Women's Association's San Francisco affiliate, and two pharmaceutical companies, Roche Diagnostics and Servie.



TIPS- Success Story 
By Gevorg Yaghjyan 

On October 24-26, 2013 the Technology Innovations in Plastic Surgery – (TIPS 2013), IV International Congress of the Armenian Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery was held at the Matenadaran, the repository of ancient manuscripts in Yerevan Armenia.

The Matenadaran has been chosen as an event venue to present one of the world's richest manuscript depositories to the international plastic surgery community.
TIPS 2013

The congress has been co-organized by the Armenia Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (AAPRAS), the Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons Georgia (GeoPRAS) and has been supported by IPRAS (International Confederation for Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery), ESPRAS (European Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery), whilst endorsed by ISPRES (International Society of Plastic Regenerative Surgery). 
This significant scientific event has attracted many highly esteemed plastic surgeons from all over the world. In the recent years plastic surgery has undergone great changes - new technologies, devices and procedure are being introduced extremely fast. The aim of the Congress was to bring together professionals for presentations and discussions related to the latest news in technology innovations in Plastic Surgery. The renowned attendees of the congress engage in a constructive dialogue on plastic surgery complications and made groundbreaking scientific contributions on the latest plastic surgery developments.  Another goal of the Congress was to establish and maintain cooperation with plastic surgeons of different countries throughout the whole world, ensuring the improvement of plastic surgery quality and treatment outcome in Armenia through the exchange of information and sharing professional experience
The scientific importance of the congress has been demonstrated by the presence of many members of the IPRAS and American Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, including Rox Anderson (Harvard, USA); Stephan Ariyan (Yale, USA); Charlotte Ariyan (USA); William Futrell (USA); Ramon Llull (Spain); Othon Papadopoulos (Greece); John Persing (Yale USA); Kirill Pshenisnov (Russia); Igor Reshetov (Russia); Ricardo Rodriguez (USA); Kurt Vinzenz (Austria
Opening Ceremony
The IV International AAPRAS Congress officially began with an opening ceremony attended by local high officials. Welcome speeches were given on behalf of the Minister of Health of Armenia Mr. Derenik Dumanian, Congress president Dr. Gagik Stamboltsyan, IPRAS representative Dr. Mimis Cohen and AAPRAS president Dr. Armen Hovhannisyan.  The opening Ceremony was continued by the key note speaker lecture – Prof.  Stella Vardanyan from the Matenadaran gave a 30 min overview on the Medicine in Medieval Armenia, as well as Professor of Nanotechnology & Regenerative Medicine, University College London Dr. Alexander Seifalian’s lecture.
Press Conference
The opening ceremony followed the launch of a successful Press Conference. The Press Conference was covered by some of the most popular Armenian Media, including 3 TV stations, 3 News Agencies, 1 Radio Station and various Online Media (estimated total number of 15).
Scientific Programme
The Scientific Program of the Congress was multidisciplinary, encompassing topics from all the plastic surgery domains. Top experts participated with their remarkable presentations, covering the following plastic surgery thematic: face, rhinoplasty, breast, body contouring, oncology and skin tumours, reconstructive microsurgery and humanitarian surgery. Over 100 plastic surgeons from 10 countries worldwide took part in the congress workings; about 56 reports were delivered within 6 sections, as well as 10 state-of-the-art lectures by renowned experts. The Congress CD is specifically designed to cover the congress materials counting over 90 works and scientific paper. There was a great variety of topics which was discussed during the sessions like Surgery of the Skin and Cutaneous Malignancies, Fat Grafting, Facial Rejuvenation, Breast, Body Contouring, Rhinoplasty, Safety in Plastic Surgery, Tissue Engineering.
“It was heartwarming to see how much the group of plastic surgeons have accomplished in the interval since I was last there. You have every reason to be proud.”
Stephan Ariyan, MD, MBA
Professor of Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Surgical Oncology, Otolaryngology
Yale University School of Medicine
Associate Chief, Department of Surgery
Yale-New-Haven Hospital
 Director, Melanoma Program
Smilow Cancer Hospital, Yale Cancer Center

Social Program 
Besides the significant scientific program, an extensive social program was introduces to the Congress participants. Numerous guided tours in Matenadaran had been organized in English, Russian, German and French. Ararat brandy factory tour has been organized on October 24th. The program started with a brandy tasting and a guided tour at the brandy museum.  The objective of this tour was to reveal the secrets of true Armenian brandy and make it attainable to those who appreciate the majestic flavor and aroma of legendary drink of the Biblical land.
The Opening Cocktail took place on October 24 at the Golden palace hotel accompanied by a string quartet performance. APRAS has also sponsored a concert of the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra on October 25th.
President of the Congress, Dr. Gagik Stamboltsyan, AAPRAS President Dr. Armen Hovhannisyan and the members of the Scientific Committees made all necessary efforts to make this congress a great scientific and social event.
We are looking forward to cooperation with the Diaspora Plastic surgeons for our future congress to be held in Yerevan in the 2015.

Participants in in  front of the Mashtots statue , the creator of Armenian Alphabet and other eminent Armenians; Korun, Gosh, Shirakatsi, Tatevatsi etc. are erected in front of Matenadaran.

Video link


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
  Join our AMIC Facebook group!  Click here
Join our Armenian Medical International Committee Linkedin group!  Click here

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