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June 2013
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Armenian Medical International Committee
This is the third of our online version of InfoFlash.

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April/May issue
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Aida's retirement!
The big news this month is the retirement of AMIC's backbone, Dr Aida Boujikanian.  Since AMIC's inception,  Aida has assembled what would become 5000 names and addresses of Armenian healthcare workers worldwide.  Aida ensured that General Assembly records, minutes, finances and InfoFlash newsletters were created, maintained and distributed on time, translated between English and French.
She made it look effortless, but we at the AMIC Executive know better.  We wish Aida and husband Adom many happy adventures over the coming years.  Aida-jan, please wish us luck trying to fill your shoes.

Jerry Manoukian, AMIC president

The following tribute from Dr Vazken Der Kaloustian is available in French and Armenian at this link


I have known Dr. Aida Boujikanian since the days when we were both in Lebanon.  And I was very pleased when she joined the organization of AMIC upon her arrival in Canada, becoming one of the pillars of its infrastructure. Her multilingual abilities, social and cultural horizons, as well as her understanding of the national and social priorities of Armenia and the Diaspora have been great assets for our organization.

Over the years her wisdom, her well-balanced approach to various issues, and her warm interactions with Armenians of various socio-cultural backgrounds were greatly appreciated by everybody.

Unfortunately, all good things have an end. Aida`s retirement from AMIC will leave us with excellent memories. We are all grateful for her very important input over the years and wish her all the best. Her legacy will remain with us and its spirit will hopefully guide AMIC`s future activities.

Vazken M. Der Kaloustian, M.D.

Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics and Human Genetics
McGill University
Montreal, Canada

Register Today!

 11th Armenian Medical World Congress
July 3 - 7, 2013
Loews Hotel, Hollywood, California
The Congress is now weeks away.  The Plenary program and social calendar are now in detail on the
AAMS website at 
AMWC logo

Syria update
The situation for Syrian Armenians remains dire.  It is, in the words of President Serzh Sargsyan,  "an open wound for all of us".

Diasporan minister Hranoush Hagopyan reported at the All Armenia Fund meeting on May 30 that there are currently about 9000 Syrian Armenians now living in Armenia, and their care is coordinated by the Ministry of the Diaspora.  About 550 Syrian Armenians have serious health issues including six who have had cardiac surgery.

Many of these families are provided assistance  by the Armenian government, the All Armenia Fund, and other sources, in the form of medical care, food, housing and tax waivers.   Job-training is also offered.  Because some of these people speak little or no Armenian, language training in Armenian and Russian is offered.

At least one school in Armenia is continuing the Syrian curriculum for its students, whose families believe that they may ultimately return to Syria.

Planning is underway for a new Syrian Armenian community near Ashtarak.  The top contender for a name is "New Aleppo". 

WiRED International - Follow-up to our April article:

Thanks to those who helped us find translators for computerized healthcare teaching modules in rural Armenian villages.  There are a total of 60 computerized modules, three of which were translated by a physician in England.
Performing our matchmaking duties, AMIC was able to introduce linguistic students to WiRED International partner Dr. Ara Nahabedian, an orthopedist from Manchester England. 

WiRED International  has brought teaching materials to impoverished and war-torn families including Central America, Eastern Europe, Iraq and Africa.  In May, a delegation including Dr. Nahabedian visited  visited five pilot communities in Amasia, Chambarak, Gavar, Noyemberyan, and Vardenis. 

The Impact of mobile health (M- health)  and the future of Armenian healthcare
by Robert Istepanian, PhD

M-health, or mobile health, is a term that I introduced and coined in 2003 and defined as ‘emerging mobile and network and sensing technologies for healthcare’ . This concept evolved massively within the last decade to become the fourth pillar of information and communication technology (ICT) for healthcare , taking its place with the earlier concepts of telemedicine (a child of the space program era), tele-health (a child of the personal computer era ) and e-health (a child of the Internet era).  One of the driving forces is the ubiquitous access to smart phones and wireless technologies, even in impoverished areas.
The current  technologies of  of mobile health infrastructure including cell phone technology, diagnostic applications and chronic disease management has grown into a multibillion dollar research and technology industry.

In recent report by the EU and GSMA describes that the socio-economic impact of the adoption of mobile health solutions in the EU, including 185 million patients treated more effectively and cost savings of EUR 99 billion by 2017.

Hardware, software and communication industry giants have all come on board, and the technology is being used in rural as well as urban communities, and underdeveloped as well as developed nations. Numerous mobile health projects and pilots are currently ongoing in poor regions in Africa and Latin America in areas such patient education and medical awareness, HIV medications and management of chronic diseases.

It is timely and important that mobile health to be introduced into Armenia as it has the potential to revolutionize healthcare in Armenia, particularly in rural underserved areas.  The technology has already been used to better manage chronic disease management, elderly care, remote diagnosis  Immediate goals for Armenia include:
•    adopt and develop the best policies for implementation
•    creation of an infrastructure adapted to available resources in Armenia
•    develop the political will and educational resources to train healthcare providers and create protocols for M- health
•    assemble a panel of experts and advisers to create the vision, agenda and strategy to deploy this innovative healthcare concept

Dr Istepanian will present the topic of M-health at the 11th AMWC in Hollywood.


Cleveland Armenian Health Care Professional Gathering

On Saturday May 18, some of the Armenian Health Care professionals in Cleveland gathered in the St. Gregory of Narek Armenian Church Parish House. The motivation for this gathering was initiated by Dr. Gevorg Yaghjyan, former vice dean of Yerevan State Medical University and current Medical Director of the National Competitiveness Foundation of Armenia ( and acting director of Isotope Production Center.
Dr. Yaghjyan visited Cleveland to participate in the 4th Annual Patient Experience: Empathy and Innovation Summit in Cleveland Clinic. The idea was discussed with Fr. Hratch Sargsyan the pastor of St. Gregory of Narek Armenian Church who welcomed it wholeheartedly and was present at the gathering. Dr. Gevorg Yaghjyan expressed his sincere gratitude to Fr. Hratch and Cleveland Armenian Community for welcoming  physician observers from Armenia, especially for making the parish house available for their stay.
Cleveland meeting

Dr. Yaghjyan presented a comprehensive review of the health care system in Armenia emphasizing the improvements in recent years as well as important projects ahead. He summarized the role of health care professionals in the diaspora in 1) accepting physician observers from Armenia for training, 2) telehealth via Hye Bridge for training in Armenia, and 3) mission visits to Armenia for educational and clinical work by Armenian professionals.  Dr. Rafi Avitsian who had organized the session explained his personal experience in all three areas to other participants.
The gathering was also an excellent opportunity for networking between Armenian Health Care professionals. The meet and greet session brought together some Armenian professionals who had been in Cleveland for a long time but never met their peers. Dr. Joseph Krajekian a Maxillofacial surgeon from Cleveland Clinic expressed interest for the mission trips to Armenia mentioning, “I have done many mission trips to other countries; why not my own fatherland?” Also present was Dr. Sebouh Setrakian who mentioned he will be working on possible cooperation in telepathology with Armenia. The gathering concluded with participants' determination and enthusiasm to continue such meetings.

Note:  This a welcome development!  The Cleveland Armenian medical community had, until this meeting, consisted of a single individual,
our energetic colleague Dr Avitsian.

Cleveland Community comes to aid of young woman from Armenia

When she was 15, Stella Arakelyan captured the hearts of volunteers staffing Children's Diabetic Camp in Aparan, Armenia.  Among her works of art was a hand with a flower, entitled "Never Give Up".
Four days before her prom in Yerevan, 17 year old Stella was diagnosed with leukemia. Preliminary treatment was started immediately but her doctors’ decision was that her only hope was a prompt transfer to an advanced western medical center. Her parents’ requests were rejected by some medical centers, however Cleveland Clinic agreed to start her treatment with a preliminary estimated payment.  Her parents, physicians Irena and Levon gathered whatever they could to send Stella and her mother to Cleveland and the treatments were started just weeks ago. New diagnostic measures have shown that her treatment costs would be several times more than what was anticipated even with the discount the Cleveland Clinic has offered. This has left Irena and Levon shocked and devastated. We are in the process of initiating a campaign to gather some funds from charitable organizations.  Stella and her mother are now living in the St. Gregory of Narek parish house trying to cut  their daily expenses to save for the treatment. Their needs are not only monetary but spiritual and moral support.  Please contact Father Hratch to see how you can help.

Note:  Information will be forthcoming as a fund is set up to help with Stella's care.  You may also contact the AMIC Silicon Valley office at 1-650-961-2013

Armenian Medical Specialty Groups
The idea of performing medical specialty groups ranging the Diaspora to Armenia was discussed at 2005 Armenian Medical World Congress in San Francisco.  The Neurology Collaboration will present recommendations at the 2013 Congress in Los Angeles.   Please see below, the formation of specialty associations in neurology, ENT, plastic surgery.  Who is next? 

AMIC Neurology Group
The AMIC Clinical Neurosciences roster includes over 300 neurologists, neurosurgeons and other health practitioners in neurological diseases.

Of those 30 have come together to try to establish programs to develop neurological care in Armenia.

The Medical School Hospital is at the present time the only truly public hospital in Yerevan.  This along with the importance in building in the medical school has prompted the group to work with the medical school.  From the group of 30, a Stroke committee has been established, led by Dr. Viken Babikian, from Boston University.  This team is presently negotiating with the medical school administration to determine whether it will be possible to establish a comprehensive and sustainable Stroke care program at the hospital.  The AMIC Neurology group hopes to build on this in the future and expand to other common neurological diseases, next in line being epilepsy.

The AMIC encourages the ongoing formation of specialty groups within its membership to assist the development of health care in the homeland in organized and concerted fashion.

Anyone interested in further details on the Neurology projects or in AMIC specialty group organizing, please contact Dr. Berge Minassian at


ENT collaboration
Dr Artur Gevorgyan's wish to join a pan-Armenian specialty group began while still studying for Canadian Otolaryngology boards. Upon learning from AMIC that such an organization does not yet exist, he decided to spearhead the efforts to form a pan-Armenian Otolaryngology group, with the ultimate goal of enhancing clinical practice, education and research in the discipline in Armenia.

He currently has contacted 20 ENT physicians from Armenia, Russia, Canada, USA, and France. The specific goals are yet to be defined, but  must ultimately be directed towards Armenia, with close collaboration with local physicians.  Dr Gevorgyan will be unable to attend the Armenian Medical World Congress in Los Angeles this July but hopes that those interested in the creation of the group will get together nevertheless. 

At a recent meeting of the European Academy of Otolaryngology, Dr Gevorgyan had an opportunity to meet and hear from several colleagues from Armenia. An idea, proposed by Prof. Arthur Shukuryan, Chair of Otolaryngology at Yerevan State Medical University, is to organize a large Armenian ENT meeting in 2014 with participation of both Armenian and non-Armenian acclaimed otolaryngologists from around the world.  Meanwhile, we will continue the efforts of building a database of interested participants for the pan-Armenian ENT group.

Should you wish to join, please email me at or the AMIC office.

Artur Gevorgyan, MD, MSc, FRCSC (Canada)
Clinical Fellow, Advances Rhinology and Skull Base Surgery
Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

As of July 1, 2013:
Otolaryngologist - Head and Neck Surgeon
Lakeridge Health
Oshawa, ON,  Canada

AAPRAS  - AMIC Plastic Surgery specialist group.

Armenian Association of Plastic and Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons  and AMIC are in the process of establishing  a specialty  group of prominent professionals in plastic, reconstructive  and aesthetic surgery.     

The main purpose of the working group is to shape the main vision and development steps for the plastic surgery  in Armenia up to 2020.  The major goal is turn Armenia into a regional leader in Plastic Surgery with modern services being provided.   

The first step for reaching this major goal was archived during the International Congresses held in Armenia in 2007, 2009 and 2011 with the participation of leading specialists from Diaspora.  The purpose of the Plastic Surgery working groups includes but is not limited to the following aspects: 
  • Supporting the creation and sharing the vision and concepts  in particular areas of plastic surgery  and adjunct areas (dermatology, cosmetology)  by 2020;
  • Coordination of the Plastic Surgery Humanitarian Mission organized by the Internal Plastic Surgery association;
  • Sharing  professional experience and expertise in different plastic surgery subspecialties.   

During the last years the AMIC data base of Diasporan plastic surgeons was updated with the names and contacts of new colleagues from USA and Russia. The extensive invitation for participation in the Yerevan International Congresses was sent for 2009 and 2013 Congresses.  The new  information campaign aspires to involve as much Diasporan doctors as possible for the 2013 Congress

One of the main organizational  meetings has been already planned to be  held in LA  during the 11th Armenain  World Medical Congress with leading academic and private plastic surgeons.    Dr. A. Hovhannisyan, President of AAPRAS, and Dr. G. Yaghjyan  plan to have meetings and discussion regarding the collaboration between Plasticos Foundation and the Armenian Association of Plastic Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgeons during meeting in LA

Gevorg Yaghjian MD
Associate Professor, Department of Plastic Reconstructive Microsurgery,
2 Koriun St ,Yerevan 0010, Armenia
Phone. (374-10) 52 17 85, (374-10) 56 06 36
Fax. (374-10) 58 25 32
National Competitiveness Foundation of Armenia
5 Mher Mkrtchyan Street, suite 821
Yerevan 0010, Armenia
Tel: +374 10 58 35 21, +374 10 58 91 93, Ext. 110

AMWC 11 Updates

for Congress info:

Hotel registration:
AMWC 11 logo

YSMU Alumni Association

YSMU Grads!   Please join us Friday evening July 5 at the 11th Armenian Medical World Congress in Hollywood. 

This will be in the Concierge Suite, 19th floor of the Loews Hollywood Hotel.

Info is available at    

Find us on Linkedin (link can be found on the webpage). 
You can also register for the Association using the link on the same webpage.

Here's a handy link to the
Congress Website Registration page
Find AMIC on Facebook!
Find Armenian Medical International Committee on Linkedin!

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AMIC has moved to our Silicon Valley office
With our dear Aida's retirement, our Montreal office has closed. 
We are now located  in Mountain View, California (home of Google, Yahoo, Mozilla and so many dot-com start-ups). 

The address is:

Armenian Medical International Committee
c/o Jerry Manoukian
2500 Hospital Drive, Building 4,
Mountain View, CA  94040, USA

telephone 1-650-961-2013.    fax 1-888-344-2647 

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