Dr. Raffy Hovanessian to emcee Armenian World Medical Congress gala banquet July 4
Published: Friday June 26, 2009
New York - It was three years ago in Gyumri, Armenia, that Dr. Raffy Hovanessian and his community activist wife, Vicki Shoghag, heard nine-year old Ani play the violin during a recital at the Oktet Music School. "She played so beautifully," stated Dr. Hovanessian. "As we left, we asked her name, but she could not answer." When they inquired, they were told she was embarrassed to speak because she had a cleft palate.
On their return to Yerevan, the Hovanessians contacted Dr. Gevorg Yaghjian, and made arrangements to bring Ani to his clinic. "The doctors saw that the case was too complicated. However the hospital was getting visiting American medical teams using special surgical techniques. These teams showed the physicians in Armenia how to perform this delicate surgery," explained Dr. Hovanessian, in a telephone interview with this writer. "The next time these doctors came to Yerevan, the surgery was done, and now Ani is talking and attending school."
The tenth session of the Armenian Medical World Congress will be convening in New York City at the Hilton Hotel from July 1 to 4, and will feature a full array of scientific presentations, detailing the latest medical advances. It is also a celebration of the 15th anniversary of the founding of the Armenian American Health Professionals Organization (AAHPO).
Live telemedicine demonstration
The congress will focus on a variety of medical subspecialties, as well as an overview of healthcare delivery systems in Armenia and the diaspora. For the very first time, the congress will be presenting a subspecialty program for different medical practices, including mental health, ophthalmology, dentistry, anesthesia, nursing, pediatrics, and physical therapy. Also there will be a live telemedicine demonstration, which will be televised and shown in Armenia.
"This world congress, from its initial inception, provided an excellent networking of Armenian physicians worldwide," said Dr. Hovanessian, a 35-year doctor of internal medicine and gastroenterology in the Chicago area who has attended eight of the ten Armenian Medical World Congresses that have been held in different cities throughout the world. Dr. Hovanessian will be the emcee at the world congress gala banquet on Saturday evening, July 4, at the Hilton Hotel.
"Since the 1988 earthquake, and Armenian independence, the congress has mostly focused on networking between diasporan physicians and those in Armenia. It has brought to the attention of diasporan physicians the needs of health professionals in Armenia, and has planned in what ways help can be sent to Armenia. It's a continuing process," he stated. "As more physicians become involved, the Armenian medical fields are more receptive to Western health education. Now there is a total transformation in Armenia to the Western medical educational system."
The world congress in New York will feature health ministers, physicians, and academicians. Among these are Dr. Aram Chobanian, president emeritus of Boston University, who will speak during the Thursday morning, July 2, plenary session. "Dr. Chobanian was very instrumental in getting medical education development in Armenia through Boston University," Dr. Hovanessian explained.
Medical services initiated in Armenia
"Also, the development of plastic and reconstructive surgery was advanced by the AGBU after the earthquake. Professor Stephen Ariyan from Yale University Medical School trained Armenian surgeons for over a year, after which they returned to Armenia. Now Armenia has a full-scale service including micro-surgery," noted Dr. Hovanessian, adding, "many other physicians from the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area have been instrumental in initiating medical services, including Dr. Haroutune Mekhjian, Dr. Ted Chaglassian, and Dr. Ohannes Nercessian.
"In addition, public health was never taught in Armenia. It was taught for the first time at the American University of Armenia by Dr. Harutune Armenian and Dr. Ara Tekian. For the last 10 years, all public-health workers in Armenia and Karabagh are graduates of this program," he related. (Dr. Armenian, professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, is president of the American University of Armenia; he will be speaking at the Friday morning July 3 plenary session on "Dignity in Health Care.")
Among other luminaries who will give addresses is Lord Ara Darzi, who will speak on his specialty, "Robotic Surgery," on Friday morning, July 3, and be honored at the gala banquet on Saturday evening, July 4. MRI inventor Dr. Raymond Damadian will also speak on Friday morning.
Dr. Ara Giragos Hovanessian (brother of Dr. Raffy Hovanessian) is another internationally recognized scientist who with world authority Dr. Montaugne identified the HIV virus at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. He will talk on "New Therapeutic Opportunities in Cancer Therapy", on Friday, July 3. In his research, Dr. Ara Hovanessian has identified a chemical that blocks the HIV virus into the cell and has an anti-cancer effect with no side effects.
Other distinguished speakers include endocrine surgeon Dr. Harutyun Kushkyan, Armenia's minister of health, and president of Yerevan's Erebuni Hospital, who will speak on Thursday morning on the topic of "Health Care Delivery in Armenia". Dr. John Bilezikian, professor of medicine and pharmacology at Columbia University Medical School, will speak on the subject of "Osteoporosis", on Saturday, July 4.
Hranoush Hakobyan, Armenia's diaspora minister, will also speak on the Fourth.