FAR HILLS, N.J.—More than 100 healthcare professionals and their families and guests gathered on Jan. 14 to celebrate the 2017 achievements of the Armenian American Health Professionals Organization (AAHPO) and to honor one of their own for her service, Knarig Khatchadurian Meyer PhD.
The Christmas brunch was held at Waterside Restaurant in North Bergen, N.J., overlooking the Hudson River, with a stunning view of Manhattan.
“2017 was a breakout year for our organization. The depth and breadth of our activities reflect the hard work of our members and is impressive,” noted Lawrence V. Najarian MD, AAHPO president.
Before delivering his complete remarks, Dr. Najarian invited Father Arakel Vardazaryan of St. Mary Armenian Church to give the invocation.
Dr. Najarian noted that AAHPO is proud to collaborate with a number of Armenian organizations. He then shared the podium with the following distinguished guests who made brief remarks: John Mardirossian (outgoing president of the Armenian Engineers and Scientists of America-AESA); Allen Berber (incoming president of AESA); John Bilezikian MD (medical director, Medical Conference/Armenian Heritage Cruise); Zoven Khanjian (president of AMAA); Lisa Stepanian (executive director of Armenia Fund USA); and Karen Hakobyan (Pegasus: The Orchestra).
AAHPO board members informed the attendees about current and upcoming initiatives. Joyce Kurdian DMD and Lucy Tovmasian MD, co-leaders of the 2017 Medical Mission to Armenia, spoke briefly about the 2018 Medical Mission to Armenia, welcoming volunteers with medical or nonmedical backgrounds. Lena Merjanian MD spoke about the Medical Mentoring Program, and Kim Hekimian PhD spoke about the Feb. 23 lecture by Dr. Armenian (see below).
Dr. Najarian noted that all of AAHPO activities today are guided by a mission statement that was crafted 23 years ago by the AAHPO founders. He invited Arthur Kubikian DDS, AAHPO vice president, to read the mission statement:
AAHPO’s mission is to improve health care awareness, increase disease prevention and early detection, foster fellowship and career development of Armenian health care professionals, and provide medical support and education to both our local communities and Armenia.
Dr. Najarian noted that AAHPO outreach and programming continue to grow, including hotline for medical assistance, medical workshops for the public, a television program that reaches 18 million households, email program, fundraising, 5K charity run/walk, Medical Mission to Armenia, medical mentoring, Tele-Health program, continuing medical education (CME) for doctors in the Republic of Artsakh (65% of doctors have received training), and CME courses for members.
He thanked the AAHPO membership, now at an all-time high, and the AAHPO board of directors for its selfless service to the Armenian community through AAHPO programs and initiatives.
Dr. Najarian noted that AAHPO suffered some sad losses in 2017 with the passing of Khoren Nalbandian RPh, a founder of AAHPO who still was serving on the AAHPO board at the time of his death, and Robert Aslanian DDS, second president of AAHPO.
When Dr. Najarian presented the AAHPO Service Award to Dr. Khatchadurian Meyer, the entire room fell quiet as the attendees heard about her many achievements and contributions, including but not limited to MS and PhD degrees in nutrition, epidemiology, and public health from Columbia University; teaching positions at City University of New York, New York University, and Columbia University; founder and president of Bergen Nutrition and Weight Centers; AAHPO board member for 23 consecutive years, including serving on AAHPO’s founding board; still serving AAHPO in active roles, including chair of the medical workshops, banquet chair, executive board member, and contributor tothe Medical Alerts Program; past president of Armenian Home in Emerson N.J. and Rotary Club of Ridgewood N.J.; service on the Governor’s Obesity Prevention Task Force, Bergen County Nutrition and Physical Activity Council, American Cancer Society Bergen Chapter; and accomplished violinist and former president of Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra.
After expressing surprise at receiving the award, Dr. Khatchadurian-Meyer modestly noted that many other accomplished individuals also contribute to AAHPO’s success.
In conclusion, Dr. Najarian told the group that AAHPO already has a full agenda planned for 2018 that includes the following:
- Jan. 20-28, medical conference associated with the Armenian Heritage Cruise
- Feb. 23, lecture by Dr. Haroutune Armenian, president emeritus of the American University of Armenia. Lecture offered at St. Leon’s Church at 7:30 p.m.
- March 2, mentoring for students and young professionals at Fordham University, cosponsored with AESA
- March 11, AAHPO annual meeting
- April 8, 5K run/walk to benefit the 2018 Medical Mission to Armenia
- April 22, Armenian Genocide commemoration, Times Square
- June 2018, medical mission to Armenia
“As AAHPO approaches its 25th Anniversary in 2019, we have lots of momentum. AAHPO is poised and ready to take off beyond the wildest dreams of our founders,” Dr. Najarian noted. “None of our successes would have been possible without your continued support and hard work. Thank you for all that each of you do to fulfill AAHPO’s mission.”