In Memoriam: Dr. Haikaz M. Grigorian

Dr. Haikaz M. Grigorian Passed Away

Dr. Haikaz Martiros Grigorian, distinguished physician, and psychiatrist, Armenian-American community leader, and expert on the psychosocial effects of the Armenian Genocide, passed away peacefully at home on January 17 at the age of 90 after a long illness, surrounded by his family.

Born in Abadan, Iran, on November 18, 1927 to survivors of the Armenian Genocide, he emigrated to the United States in 1949. Dr. Grigorian received his undergraduate degree from Boston University, with graduate and medical degrees from Columbia University and George Washington University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Wa
Dr. Haikaz Grigorian, 1972 (courtesy Armenian Assembly of America)

shington Hospital Center and his psychoanalytic training, from 1964 to 1974, at the Washington (DC) Psychoanalytic Institute. He was a practicing psychiatrist and a professor of psychiatry at George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC, and in NJ – both at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School (Newark) and at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (Piscataway). At UMDNJ he long served as Director of Residency Training and as Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, mentoring hundreds of medical students and residents.

He held numerous professional and visiting posts and fellowships, including Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association where he served on the Committee on Human Rights; President of the New Jersey Psychiatric Association; and member of the New Jersey Psychoanalytic Association. He participated in the White House Conference on Ethnicity and Mental Health in 1978 and was a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging in 1981. Dr. Grigorian worked on one of three transcultural research projects on drug addiction for the World Health Organization and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Tehran, Iran in 1973-1974.

He, along with colleague Dr. Levon Z. Boyajian, delivered groundbreaking research on the “Psychosocial Sequelae of the Armenian Genocide” at the International Conference on Holocaust and Genocide in Tel Aviv in 1982. He was the recipient for the prestigious Bruno Lima Award from the American Psychiatric Association for his disaster-relief work after the Armenian earthquake, for which he also received a US Fulbright Fellowship. He was a member of the Psychiatric Outreach Program for Armenia since 1989 and Chairman of the Medical Board for AGBU Medical Outreach for Earthquake Victims from 1990 to 1991. With years of devotion to the Armenian Community, he contributed his professional expertise to the Armenian diaspora experience on many levels, making use of opportunities to introduce Armenian socio-cultural aspects to the world professional community.

Dr. Haikaz Grigorian

In 1994, President Levon Ter-Petrosian of Armenia bestowed upon him a special recognition for humanitarian services. In 1995 he received the Armenian Students Association Sarafian Award for Good Citizenship and recognition from the Armenian American Society for Studies on Stress and Genocide.

He was a co-founder of the Armenian Assembly of America in Washington, D.C. in 1972, Vice Chair of its Steering Committee in 1972, and a member of its Board of Directors from 1973 to 1975. He was a vital member of the Armenian American Health Professional Organization (AAHPO). He was an AAHPO Honoree in 2011, and served on the AAHPO Board of Directors. He was founder of the Diaspora Foundation, incorporated in 1985 and was its President. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Land and Culture Organization and a member of the Board of Trustees of Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church.

Dr. Haigaz Grigorian at a 2001 Krikor and Clara Zohrab Center symposium in New York

Haikaz is survived by his wife of 62 years, Siran (nee Papazian), brother Dr. Sombat Grigorian and family of Potomac, Maryland, his children Nyiri (Robert Bruce), Magda (Simon), Nareg, and Raffi (Nancy), nine grandchildren Taleen, Ian, Cilicia, Max, Olivia, Russell, Eli, Aidan and Liam. He was predeceased by his sisters, Sirvart Mensoian (Newton, MA) and Azniv Dersookian (Bethesda, MD) and his parents, Khachig and Yeghisabeth Grigorian.

His wake took place on January 19 at the William G. Basralian Funeral Home in Oradell, NJ, and his funeral service on January 20 at Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church in Ridgefield, NJ. He was then interred in Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York.