The AAHPO, Dr. Raffy Hovanessian Medical Education Program stands with Artsakh doctors who fled to Armenia, assisting with employment, credentialing, and Continuing Medical Education (CME).

In 2010, the AAHPO, Dr. Raffy Hovanessian Medical Education Program was founded to provide training to Artsakh physicians. The program’s goal was and is to improve the overall health of Armenians by updating the training and skills of the Armenian physicians who provide their care.

For 13 years, the AAHPO, Dr. Raffy Hovanessian Medical Education Program provided Artsakh doctors with Continuing Medical Education (CME) in a month-long course in Yerevan, at no cost to the doctors. The physicians mastered innovative approaches, methods, and technologies from leading healthcare educators. They were also trained in computer literacy to facilitate their independent research of medical issues. Once they returned to Artsakh, they joined an extensive network of CME healthcare professionals and received ongoing support from their mentors and colleagues. Over the years, the CME program included virtual training programs and medical meetings in Artsakh.

By late 2022, Artsakh faced a blockade of people and goods, eliminating travel for the Artsakh physicians. By 2023, the AAHPO, Dr. Raffy Hovanessian Medical Education program pivoted to entirely to online learning which enabled Artsakh physicians to continue their CME, as well as collaborate with their colleagues in Armenia and the Diaspora.

CME Programs
Pictured left to right: Vicken Pamoukian, MD, Aram Cazazian, DDS, Edgar Housepian, MD, Larry Najarian, MD, and Arthur Kabukian, DDS

In September 2023, faced with threats of ethnic cleansing and having survived a long blockade, more than 100,000 ethnic Armenians, representing 99% of the remaining population of Artsakh fled to Armenia. The Artsakh physicians and their families were among these refugees. Since then, the AAHPO, Dr. Raffy Hovanessian Medical Education Program has been by their side, helping them to find employment in the Armenian health care system, obtain necessary medical credentialing (as all documents and records were left behind), and continuing to provide CME training and other professional support.

Even with overwhelming geopolitical challenges, the program’s commitment to providing CME to Artsakh physicians has not wavered and in fact, has expanded.


As Armenia became a proud independent nation in 1991, its healthcare delivery system faced unexpected challenges. While in the United States Continuing Medical Education (CME) is a yearly requirement for physicians, dentists, and most healthcare professionals, in Armenia, CME was not a requirement and did not really exist.

A number of years ago, AAHPO, through the vision of Dr. Raffy A. Hovanessian, recognized the depth and widespread nature of this problem and founded the AAHPO, Dr. Raffy Hovanessian Medical Education Program for rural physicians. This program was vital to training physicians as tens of thousands of Armenians in Artsakh depended on their medical skills.

Since 2010, AAHPO’s steadfast commitment to the AAHPO, Dr. Raffy Hovanessian Medical Education Program resulted in the training of more than 80% of the physicians in Artsakh.


The program enabled doctors to enhance their skills and learn new techniques, improving the quality of healthcare delivery to their patients. The program’s educational goals were achieved by a combination of in-person, month long clerkships as well as virtual and in person meetings. Funds raised by AAHPO ensured that all our programming, including tuition expenses, lodging and a stipend for doctors who were taking time off from work and family, were free of charge.

In addition, program attendees received enhanced computer skills, and in this manner, were enabled to continue to be updated on medical knowledge and research throughout the world. It also enabled physicians to communicate and network with their counterparts in Armenia and the diaspora.

An unexpected program benefit was our retention of important attendee documents, many of which were lost by the physicians during their rushed, untimely departure from Artsakh. These documents were critical to helping the physicians find new employment and establishing their medical credentials.

AAHPO’s efforts to raise funds for the CME program were realized through annual major fundraisers and the generosity and philanthropy of Mr. & Mrs. Nazar & Ardemis Nazarian, as well as many other dedicated donors who believe strongly in the program. Today, the AAHPO, Dr. Raffy Hovanessian Medical Education Program still depends on the generosity of AAHPO members and friends to stand with the Artsakh doctors in Armenia, and to maintain their CME program for many years to come.