Update: We Stand As One With Artsakh Physicians

As health care professionals, AAHPO leadership is focused on the health care needs created by this humanitarian crisis. Since 2011, AAHPO has had a special relationship with physicians from Artsakh, who have been trained within the AAHPO, Dr. Raffy Hovanessian Medical Education Program. As these same physicians have been forcibly displaced themselves, AAHPO pledges its support to these physicians. Below, we are sharing an update on AAHPO Team efforts to assist physicians in Artsakh and Artsakh refugees:

  • AAHPO’s platform facilitated the identification of supplies needed by the burn center in Armenia, as well as their purchase, delivery, and fundraising for approximately $10,000 worth of supplies. Special thanks to Raffi Barsoumian, MD, who did this almost single-handedly. This is an amazing effort to which we are indebted.
  • AAHPO Board Member Kim Hekimian, PhD, is organizing a triage effort to assist Artsakh refugee women who are pregnant. Dr. Hekimian estimates that we will need to raise approximately $10,000 for this project.
  • We have initiated the process for AAHPO to become a tax-exempt vendor for the medical supply company, McKesson. This effort should enable AAHPO to facilitate the purchase of point of care Hemoglobin measures and possibly other urgently needed supplies as the Armenia situation unfolds.
  • AAHPO’s letter of solidarity with the Artsakh health care provider refugees has been sent to them in both Armenian and English. A survey of their needs is to go out shortly. Special thanks to Dr. Hambardzum Simonyan, Program Director in Armenia, for his assistance in this effort.
  • The AAHPO, Dr. Raffy Hovanessian Medical Education Program fundraising event is scheduled for November 4 (see article, below). Special thanks to our Co-chairs for contributing to this event. They include but are not limited to: Seta Nalbandian, Shoghag Hovanessian, Dr. Aram & Rima Cazazian, Dr. John & Dr. Sophie Bilezikian, Dr. Joyce Kurdian, and Dr. Lawrence V. and Magda Najarian.

We Stand As One With Artsakh Physicians

As health care professionals, AAHPO leadership is focused on the health care needs created by this humanitarian crisis. Since 2011, AAHPO has had a special relationship with physicians from Artsakh, who have been trained within the AAHPO, Dr. Raffy Hovanessian Medical Educaion Program. As these same physicians have been forcibly displaced themselves, AAHPO pledges its support to these physicians. We believe that enabling these physicians to better care for our Artsakh brethren is the most effective way to serve the AAHPO mission. AAHPO is also supporting the Armenian International Medical Committee (AMIC) effort to provide medical equipment and supplies to Armenia.

Below, we are sharing our letter of solidarity which has been delivered to physicians from Artsakh:

October 2, 2023

Dear Artsakh Colleagues:

These are challenging times. The members of the Armenian American Health Professionals Organization (AAHPO) have been closely following the events transpiring in Artsakh over the last three years, and more particularly, over the past month. We stand in solidarity with your valiant, tireless efforts to provide medical care to our Artsakh brethren, often under difficult circumstances. It is with deep sadness that we view the magnitude of the humanitarian crises as the Artsakh population moves to Armenia.

We are grateful that you have arrived safely to Armenia and we will continue to work on your behalf, seeking solutions to the myriad of challenges posed by war, the blockade, and now the forced exodus from Artsakh. There are short- and long-term needs that need to be addressed. We at AAHPO, along with our colleagues at AMIC (Armenian Medical International Committee), are working hard to help to you and your families.

Shortly, you will be receiving a survey from us, that will help define what your personal and professional needs are. Please take the time to fill it out and return it. Depending upon your response, we will do all we can to help. In the meantime, please feel free to e-mail your concerns to either Hambardzum Simonyan, MD, MPH (Hambardzum.Simonyan@far.am) or to me (info@aahpo.org).

We are working with various agencies in Armenia to ensure you will be able to practice

medicine in Armenia once you are settled. Licensing guidelines related to CME credits and other requirements will be defined by local authorities like the Ministry of Health by December 2024.

AAHPO has been involved with providing hands-on and virtual training to Artsakh physicians since 2011. We are committed to continue to do so as you transition to work in Armenia. Because of our special kinship with you, we will do all we can to maximize your opportunities to be successful in Armenia.

We stand as one in our gratitude for all you do to help our people.

Larry Najarian, M.D.

Armenian American Health Professionals Organization
Board of Directors

Aid Convoys Approach Karabakh as Bread Supplies Dwindle

Azerbaijani and French aid convoys arrived near Artsakh last week as the authorities in Stepanakert introduced new rules limiting bread purchases in the region.

Two trucks belonging to the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society carrying 40 tons of flour reached the Azerbaijani town of Aghdam last Tuesday after state-run news agencies said Baku intended to deliver the supplies to Stepanakert.

The convoy plans to use the long-shuttered route connecting the Nagorno-Karabakh town of Askeran and Aghdam, which Armenia ceded to Azerbaijan after the 2020 war, but as of Wednesday evening local time, the trucks reportedly remained stuck in Aghdam, with Russian peacekeepers deployed to the area blocking them from moving forward.

The Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society is Azerbaijan’s national affiliate of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and is separate from the International Committee of the Red Cross, which has been conducting medical evacuations from Nagorno-Karabakh throughout the blockade.

Meanwhile, more than a thousand Nagorno-Karabakh residents gathered in Askeran Tuesday night to set up preemptive barricades on the road in case the peacekeepers allow the trucks to move forward.

“They are slaughtering us, and then bringing us flour,” Askeran resident Alla Arzumanyan told CivilNet’s Nagorno-Karabakh correspondent.

A spokesperson for Nagorno-Karabakh President Arayik Harutyunyan insisted Tuesday his administration had not agreed to the delivery and would not accept the aid.

The reopening of the Aghdam road is seen as a step forward in Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s “reintegration” plan, which many in Nagorno-Karabakh fear will lead to ethnic cleansing.


Medical Mission to Armenia May 2023

Vahe TateosianEditor’s note: AAHPO Board Member Vahe Tateosian, MD (photo at left) is in Armenia now, leading a Medical Mission staffed with anesthesiologists and surgeons from the medical center at State University of New York at Stony Brook. This mission took years to plan and coordinate, and AAHPO thanks Dr. Tateosian for his efforts! He will be sending photos and updates, which we will share with you. Below is Dr. Tateosian’s first submission, written before the Mission departed for Armenia.

I have been fortunate to create and organize a multidisciplinary team of both anesthesiologists and surgeons to come to Yerevan and work with our Armenian colleagues and health care professionals. For years, I have established a working relationship with the administration and faculty at Arabkir Medical University and have now invited subspecialists from the State University of New York at Stony Brook to create a bilateral dialogue and exchange of both ideas and practices. We will be conducting a medical/surgical mission of approximately 8-10 days which encompasses consultations, discussions as well as working together on a number of operations on children in Yerevan. One of our main objectives is to foster collaboration through building and maintaining professional relationships.


For our current mission, we will be consulting on and working together with our colleagues from Armenia on pediatric surgeries of many different subspecialties. We have been in contact with our Armenian physicians the preceding few months to discuss various cases and clinical scenarios prior to our trip abroad, and have made many introductions via video conference calls. We will also be providing a number of hands-on workshops on various topics as well have created a lecture series to provide them with didactic teaching while we are there. We hope to make this an educational experience for both the Armenians in Yerevan as well as Americans that are on the mission. For our American medical missionaries, it is a multifaceted experience. Most notably, it allows for not only an experience in international medicine, but also serves as an introduction to the health care system and culture of Armenia as well. The idea is to create a sustainable program that will have health care providers from both sides participate in education and training. I happen to be the only Armenian in the group and am leading a team of 5 non-Armenian health care specialists, which include a pediatric anesthesiologist, pediatric surgeon and 3 chief residents of anesthesiology.

Another connection to AAHPO’s continued support for health care professions in Armenia is the fact that we continue to train Fund for Armenia Relief (FAR) fellows from the various hospitals and region, which continue to participate in as many of the activities such as lecture and didactic teachings. This helps to serve as a bridge to the current and ongoing support of the AAHPO, Dr. Raffy Hovanessian Medical Education Program, which FAR helped to found, and is a current partner with AAHPO.