ENGLEWOOD, N.J.—It was both a serious and fun-filled get-together of the Armenian American Health Professionals Organization (AAHPO) of N.Y., N.J., and Conn. members on Sept. 25. Close to 40 attendees greeted one another at Rose’s Restaurant in New Jersey, catching up on the latest news in their different fields.
Following a warm welcome by the hard-working and ever enthusiastic AAHPO President, Dr. Lawrence V. Najarian, and a Happy 25th Birthday refrain for Armenia led by Dr. Arthur Kubikian, Dr. Najarian opened the annual meeting by recounting the AAHPO’s illustrious dream started by three “passionate visionaries,” Nabet Kasabian, Khoren Nalbandian, and John Nercessian, and the special contributions of scores of volunteers, including long standing board member Knarig Khatchadurian as well as Seta Nalbandian and Shoghag Hovanessian.
A special tribute was given to Nazar and Artemis Nazarian for the selfless and generous contributions to all the programs of AAHPO throughout the years in the Armenian-American community, Armenia, and Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh Republic/NKR).
“AAHPO is now celebrating its 22nd year and we have matured as an organization. We are more eager and able than ever before to fully engage the world of philanthropy and fulfill our mission,” said Dr. Najarian, who also acknowledged the relentless efforts of AAHPO volunteers that cumulatively have donated thousands of hours of their time to assist members of our community.
“Today,” Dr. Najarian continued, “we stand tall buttressed by a record of success,” which includes a hot line referral service, mentoring programs, medical workshops, a TV show that reaches over 18 million people, blood and bone marrow drives, medical missions, clergy and medical outreach, and a Continuing Medical Education (CME) program in Artsakh, which has trained over 170 health care providers since its inception. The organization has also collaborated with a dozen Armenian-American social, professional, and religious groups.
The formalization of AAHPO’s commitment to the medical mission program directed by Drs. Joyce Kurdian and Lucy Tovmasian, was reviewed. Moving forward they will lead large, multi-disciplinary medical teams to provide care in rural villages.
Recounting the AAHPO Medical Mission in Armenia, Dr. Cazazian noted that for the AAHPO, “Armenia is definitely not a remote abstraction. It is personal. The AAHPO team pays all of its own expenses and in many instances, doctors donate their annual vacation time to the visit. By traveling throughout Armenia, and especially to Artsakh and remote villages outside of Yerevan, the team has first-hand exposure to the astonishing level of medical needs that plagues the country. The AAHPO’s approach is different from other medical missions to Armenia, in that it is a continuous one-on-one connection,” adding, “It’s a gift that never stops giving.”
With another mission to Armenia planned, Dr. Kubikian proudly announced that the New York University School of Dentistry will be going to Armenia in 2017. Also planned are gynecological conferences, as well as monthly lectures.
The meeting’s business portion entailed reports by Drs. Garbis Baydar, Khoren Nalbandian, Knarig Khachatdourian Meyer, Lena Merjanian, Tsoline Kogaoghlanian, Ohan Karatoprak, Raffy Hovanessian, Joyce Kurdian, Vahe Tateosian, and Taleen Gergerian.
AAHPO Board of Directors members elected for 2016 included incumbents Drs. Garbis Baydar, Raffy Hovanessian Knarig Khatchadourian Meyer, Arthur Kubikian, Larry Najarian, and Louiza Puskulian-Kubikian. Drs. Joyce Kurdian and Vahe Tateosian were elected as new members. All were congratulated with the clinking of wine glasses.
Future AAHPO events for the future were announced, including the AAHPO/Armenian Bar Association dinner meeting at the Yale Club, N.Y., on Nov. 4; the AAHPO Christmas brunch at the N.J. Waterside Restaurant, on Jan. 8; the Armenian Heritage Cruise-Continuous Medical Education Program (CME) from Jan. 20-29, 2017; and the AMIC World Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from May 31-June 2, 2017.
Esteemed member Dr. Raffy Hovanessian, in closing thoughts related that AAHPO’s potential is to make “an even greater impact on the health of our community, Armenia and Artsakh,” and stated his deep interest in advancing educational changes for the medical schools from the pre-Soviet to the post-Soviet eras.
He revealed that the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) has been very instrumental in raising the medical education to the European level through the CME program. “AAHPO is a fellowship. We are influencing medical spheres,” he declared and paid tribute to Dr. Larry Najarian for setting up the Armenian Medical World Conference held in New York.
“We are a network who can help in every sphere, not just medical. Our community is depending on us. With our continuing hard work and selfless contribution, we will not let them down. AAHPO will answer their call,” Dr. Najarian declared to a standing ovation.