For the past three years, the Armenian American Health Professional Organization has been collaborating with COAF, providing free-of-charge medical services in Armavir, Aragatsotn and Lori.
Recently, for a one-week period, AAHPO doctors have made free medical services availible in Arteni, Karakert, Myasnikyan, Arevatsag, Tumanyan, Panik, Armavir and Alaverdi. Lucy Tovmasian, Debra Ferman, Adrine Giritlian, Carla Simonian and others provided professional services. They were accompanied by local doctors, as well as medical students from Armenia and the USA.
“We have gynecologists, an oncologist/hematologist, a vascular surgeon, a dentist, a psychiatrist, a nutritionist and a medical assistant in our team,” said Shoghik Kurdian, a US-based dentist of Armenian descent who has just arrived in Armenia to serve as the head of AAHPO.
Shoghik said that every year she looks forward to her trip to Armenia. “All my patients already know that,” she said with a smile. “I used to talk to my genocide-survivor grandma a lot about my Armenian roots, and I have always wanted to visit Armenia.”
The missions from AAHPO parntered with COAF have received a great amount of praise from its participants.
Aida Muradyan, the head of the Karakert clinic and a general practitioner, is absolutely convinced that the Armenian American doctors’ visit is extremely helpful for the community. “Most our patients cannot even afford to see doctors in Yerevan, and here they can consult with the best doctors from the USA… We have been collaborating with COAF for many years and we appreciate their programs a lot. We are grateful for the opportunities they make for us. There are lots of good specialist in Armenia as well… However, “many heads are better than one”, as they say… Why not take advantage of our colleagues’ experience and skills?” she said.
Vascular surgeon Greg Simonian says her daughter has been a motivator for him to enroll in the mission. “Two years ago, she visited Armenia with her classmates from Hovnanian School and she just fell in love with this country… She inspired us, and now I am here with my family, trying to help people living in rural areas.”
Medical assistant Adrine Giritlian says she is happy to see positive changes in COAF beneficiary communities. “There are many good local specialists here. Hopefully, our collaboration with COAF will help people in villages.”
Satik Azatyan from Karakert is glad that her family members can consult with several specialists in one day. “I just saw the vascular surgeon, and right now my grandson is getting a treatment at the dentist’s.”
Medical student Vahan Boyajyan says he has decided to volunteer as soon as he has learned about the mission’s visit to Armenia. “I am very much interested to see how American doctors work,” he says.
Armenian-American dental student Vardouhi Danielian says she has always wanted to come and support rural communities. “Last year I was taking exams at that time and I could not come… This summer I did everything to join the AAHPO mission.”
Student Anahit Saroyan says volunteering with COAF has been the best experience for her, “I am a future family physician, and it’s a good chance for me to see so many patients in one place.”
“We are already looking forward to our next year’s visit,” Shoghik Kurdian said.