On Saturday, March 20, over 80 community members participated in a virtual seminar organized by the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) of Eastern USA aimed at helping members of the community learn about self-care and getting the latest updates on COVID-19 from the homeland and the United States.
The seminar kicked off with welcoming remarks from Ani Attar, chairperson of the ARS of Eastern USA. Then, moderator and ARS of Eastern USA Board member Heather Krafian introduced the first speaker, Jill Dolik, a registered nurse at the Center for Healthy Living.
Dolik’s presentation focused on self-care which is a vital part of maintaining good health and a vibrant life. She spoke about living in a way that incorporates behaviors that can help you be refreshed, replenish your personal motivation and grow as a person. During her interactive presentation, audience members were even invited to move and practice exercises straight from their desks. At the end of the presentation, Dolik reminded participants that “no matter which situation you find yourself in, remember that taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally makes you stronger to take care of your community.”
Krafian then invited Dr. Kim Hekimian, Assistant Professor of Nutrition in Pediatrics (Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition) at the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University and Dr. Alina Dorian, Associate Dean for Public Health Practice as well as the Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health (FSPH) to begin their presentation. Dr. Hekimian and Dr. Dorian, who have been recipients of the ARS scholarship, presented together on the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing a perspective from Armenia and local communities.
Dr. Hekimian began her presentation with an analysis of COVID-19 cases in Armenia over the past year. She focused on the Artsakh healthcare infrastructure, which was overwhelmed by the pandemic and the need for emergency assistance to the wounded during the Artsakh War. Dr. Hekimian also focused on new public health challenges in Armenia in the aftermath of the Artsakh War and highlighted the displaced families of Artsakh.
Dr. Dorian, for her part, spoke about how different communities have overcome the hardships of COVID-19 and how they are now gearing up to open their institutions and return back to a sense of normalcy. She shared her experience with training 20,000 people and the process it takes to conduct contact-tracing. Using her experience in Los Angeles, she replicated the training process in Armenia to help efficiently battle COVID-19. Then, Dr. Hekimian and Dr. Dorian answered a series of questions and discussed the availability and safety of vaccines as well as what is okay to do after getting the vaccine.
At the end of the seminar, Attar announced that the speakers will receive ARS signature plates designed exclusively by Michael Aram. As she thanked the speakers, participants wrote messages of gratitude in the chat box for the speakers and the Regional Executive Board for an informative seminar.