Health professionals' assoc. marks record year, pledges to do more
Published: Tuesday February 14, 2012
Cliffside Park, N.J. - Following a year of record participation by its members and recognition from the community, the Armenian American Health Professionals Association (AAHPO) begins 2012 with an even stronger commitment to improve the health of all Armenians.
Addressing the nonprofit organization's Annual Meeting in December, AAHPO President Lawrence V. Najarian, MD reviewed 2011 accomplishments that included a Medical Mission to Armenia, collaboration on a project that helps save lives in Armenian villages, and recognition as a New Jersey Healthcare Hero for initiatives right here in the tri-state area.
"By working together, AAHPO accomplished more to help our community than at any time in its history. In short, as we enter 2012 we are a strong, growing organization that knows it has much more to do," Dr. Najarian told AAHPO members.
Several dozen AAHPO members in attendance brought spouses and families to the Palisadium in Cliffside Park, N.J. Following the Annual Meeting, more than 150 celebrated the Holiday season with a delicious brunch and program co-chaired by Knarig Khatchadurian Meyer, PhD, and Kim Hekimian, PhD. Everyone enjoyed piano performances by the Kafafian brothers and Svetlana, Armenian songs by opera singer Anahit Zakarian, Christmas carols, and a visit from Santa.
The year in review
Now in its 17th year, AAHPO was founded by health care professionals determined to improve health care for their brethren. Grown to a group of about 450, AAHPO members represent all health care professions, including physicians, nurses, dentists, nutritionists, psychologists and public health experts.
"AAHPO originally was a local organization, and has expanded to become an important international voice," noted Nabet Kasabian, MD, a urologist and one of AAHPO's founders. "Yet AAHPO is still committed to the local communities. This Board has done a tremendous job of serving Armenians here and in Armenia."
Dr. Hekimian is a public health expert who joined the AAHPO Board in 2011: "I was immediately impressed with their professionalism and their commitment. The missions of other organizations sometimes get hampered by individual and political agendas. I have seen none of that with AAHPO - every Board member is focused on serving the organization. And what a wonderful group of people to work with!"
Dr. Najarian also credits the AAHPO Board for recent achievements: "Our volunteer healthcare providers, led by a hard-working, selfless board, have been consistent and relentless in sharing our knowledge, abilities, and resources with our brethren. Our sustained efforts have enabled AAHPO to be more engaged with our lay and professional communities than ever before."
The expansion of AAHPO outreach programs caught the attention of The Healthcare Heroes Awards program, which designated AAHPO a finalist among organizations that make a significant impact on the quality of health care in New Jersey.
Dr. Najarian reviewed some of the 2011 initiatives:
· AAHPO's affiliation with the North Hudson Community Action Corporation (www.nhcac.org) continues to provide medical services to the uninsured and underinsured.
· In March, AAHPO approved the AAHPO Continuing Medical Education (CME) program and implemented a program that trains physicians from Javakhk and Karabagh how to provide modern medical skills that are critically needed in their home villages ("Help Save Lives! Support Continuing Medical Education of Doctors in Armenia").
· In October 2011, AAHPO held a fund-raising gala that raised enough funds to ensure that the CME program will continue for another year.
· The relationship with the CME graduates continues through the HyeBridge Telehealth Program, a collaboration between AAHPO and Armenia Fund USA. Physicians in Armenia consult directly with U.S. medical experts through the latest telecommunications technology.
· Fifteen AAHPO members, their spouses and families traveled to Armenian in 2011 for the first Medical Mission to Armenia. These AAHPO volunteers visited clinics, treated patients, and surveyed the medical systems from rural villages to regional medical centers and tertiary medical centers.
· AAHPO video-taped 29 educational TV shows about common medical conditions, and broadcast them on cable TV. They can be viewed at any time on the AAHPO website ( www.aahpo.org)
· AAHPO continues its outreach via email with important medical information (consumers may subscribe to the free service through www.aahpo.org) and now also shares the information through YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
· Also on its website, AAHPO offers a free directory of Armenian health care providers; in 2011, the website received 5,300 visits, more than double the amount in 2010.
After thanking AAHPO members for their 2011 participation, Dr. Najarian noted that most programs will be continued, including the North Hudson alliance, educational TV programs, the email/social media outreach, physician CME in Armenia ("Help Save Lives!"), and HyeBridge Telemedicine.
Some additional programs already being scheduled include a Feb. 17 Mentoring Program for College Students and Young Professionals of Armenian Descent held in collaboration with the Armenian Engineers and Scientists of America (for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org). AAHPO will have a Membership Meeting on March 16. A meeting with the Armenian Bar Association also is being planned.