How to Protect Yourself from a Wrong Way Driver

Lawrence V. Najarian, MDNote from AAHPO President Lawrence V. Najarian, MD: Recently, while driving at night on a highway, my family was almost killed by a wrong way driver. The only thing that saved my family was a reflexive understanding of the situation that I developed after reading about a fatal, wrong way driver accident that happened in our area two years ago. That understanding was critical to my reaction in the few seconds I had to grasp and respond to this situation. I would like to share information about wrong way drivers to help others who may find themselves in this dangerous situation that I thought would never happen to me.

Photo courtesy NTSB

Wrong-way driving, where a driver operates a vehicle the wrong way on a road or highway against the intended flow of traffic, can result in some of the most severe types of crashes according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that despite accounting for only 3.7% of all fatal crashes on divided highways between 2010 and 2018, a high percentage of these incidents are fatal as they typically result in head-on collisions.

A study of wrong-way driving from the Iowa State University Institute for Transportation notes that wrong-way driving can occur on a variety of roadways including divided highways, freeways or arterial roads. These events are often associated with driver confusion resulting from roadways that are challenging to navigate.

Recent data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety also shows a concerning rise in fatalities related to wrong-way crashes. An average of 500 deaths occurred annually from wrong-way driving crashes on divided highways between 2015 and 2018, a 34% increase from 375 deaths annually from 2010 to 2014. Wrong-way drivers made up 52.8% of fatalities from wrong-way driving crashes followed by their passengers (5.7%) and occupants of other vehicles (41.1%) between 2010 and 2018. These numbers remained elevated as roughly 500 people died in wrong-way crashes annually in 2019 and 2020, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).


What to Do if You Encounter a Wrong Way Driver

It’s essential to take immediate and decisive actions to protect yourself and others from a wrong way driver. Here are some steps to follow if you encounter a wrong-way driver:

  1. Stay calm and focus on your own driving.
  2. Quickly assess the situation to determine the best course of action.
  3. Safely and promptly move to the right lane or shoulder, and create as much distance as possible from the wrong-way driver.
  4. Do not swerve into oncoming traffic or abruptly change lanes, as this can increase the risk of a collision with other vehicles.
  5. Obey traffic signals and signs while trying to distance yourself from the wrong-way driver.
  6. Signal and Honk:
    – Turn on your headlights and hazard lights to make yourself more visible.
    – Honk your horn to alert the wrong-way driver and other nearby motorists.
  7. Dial 911 to report the situation, and provide information about your location, the direction of travel of the wrong-way driver, and any other relevant details.
  8. Avoid confronting the wrong-way driver or attempting to block their path. Let law enforcement handle the situation.

Remember that your safety and the safety of others are the top priorities. Always use your best judgment and follow the guidance of emergency services when encountering a wrong-way driver.

Can Armenia’s refugee crisis catalyse health-system reform?

Editor’s note: This article is co-authored by AAHPO Board Member Kim Hekimian, PhD and AAHPO Member and MD/PhD student Christopher Marskosian, as well as Shant Shekherdimian, MD, Kent Garber, MD, MPH, and Ara Darzi, KBE, MD. The article was recently published in The Lancet, a prestigious British medical journal.

The immediate health needs of the refugees are immense. Before the exodus, people of Nagorno-Karabakh had been living under a punitive 9-month blockade, resulting in malnutrition and worsening health conditions due to scarcity of food, medicine, and vaccines. During their exile, a fuel depot explosion led to hundreds of casualties among refugees. Other factors contributing to medical needs include the suddenness of displacement, forfeiture of medical records, and loss of established longitudinal health-care providers.

But as headlines fade and humanitarian priorities shift elsewhere, Nagorno-Karabakh refugees will continue to face challenges in accessing high-quality health care. The Armenian Government intends to integrate displaced people into the health-care system, providing them with the same care as their host communities. However, Armenia has a health-care infrastructure with scarce resources and of inadequate quality. Given this reality, it would be wise for the global health response—typically focused on the acute needs of the refugees, and sometimes guilty of setting up health programming in parallel to government efforts—to simultaneously strengthen local health services towards universal health coverage, improved primary care, and optimized outcomes.


Congratulations to AAHPO Service Award Winners: Dr. Kayayan and Dr. Barsoumanian

On Sunday, January 21, AAHPO recognized Ara Kayayan, MD and Raffi Barsoumanian, MD for their exemplary medical service to Armenians (see photos below). This was the highlight of the Winter Brunch, which was well-attended and enjoyed by AAHPO members, families and guests. CLICK HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page to see more event photos of our Winter Brunch event.

Ara Kayayan, MD, center, accepts the AAHPO Service Award from AAHPO President Lawrence V. Najarian, MD, left, and AAHPO Vice President Garbis Baydar, MD, right. Dr. Kayayan is an internist in Albany, NY who was “AAHPO’s eyes and ears” during the treatment and recovery of Bishop Mesrop, who was severely injured in 2022. Dr. Kayayan is a highly respected physician in the Albany area, and an active member of the Armenian community there.

Raffi Barsoumanian, MD, left, accepts the AAHPO Service Award from AAHPO Vice President Garbis Baydar, MD, center, and AAHPO President Lawrence V. Najarian, MD. Dr. Barsoumanian, a surgeon, was recognized for traveling to Armenia to treat soldiers who suffered severe burns in the 2020 war and required skin grafts. Dr. Barsoumanian returned to Armenia a second time to bring essential medical supplies for the treatment of soldiers.

Pulitzer Prize Winner to Speak at the November 4 Fundraising Event

At the November 4 Fundraiser for the AAHPO, Dr. Raffy Hovanessian Medical Education Program, Pulitzer Prize Winner Peter Balakian will be talking about the book he translated, Bloody News from My Friend, by Siamanto, which depicts the atrocities committed by the Ottoman Turkish government against its Armenian population. The book is based on letters written by Mr. Balakian’s grandfather.

At the Fundraiser, 3 of Mr. Balakian’s books will be offered for sale, and Mr. Balakian will be available to sign them: Bloody News from My Friend, Ozone Journal, Black Dog of Fate.

Please note that admission will be free for all students (with current student ID). Please invite any students that you know.

Peter Balakian
Peter Balakian (born June 13, 1951) is an Armenian-American poet, prose writer, and scholar. He is the author of many books including the 2016 Pulitzer prize winning book of poems Ozone Journal. The son of orthopedic surgeon Gerard Balakian, MD and Arax Aroosian. Peter Balakian was born in Teaneck New Jersey and grew up there and in Tenafly, New Jersey. He attended Tenafly public schools, and graduated from Englewood School For Boys (now Dwight Englewood School).

Peter Balakian also is author of other award-winning books, including the memoir Black Dog of Fate, winner of the PEN/Albrand award in 1998 and The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, winner of the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize and a New York Times best seller (October 2003). Both prose books were New York Times Notable Books. Since 1980 he has taught at Colgate University where he is the Donald M and Constance H Rebar Professor of the Humanities in the department of English and Director of Creative Writing.

Learn more:

Tik Tok is Toxic to Our Children

By Louis Najarian, MD, child and adolescent psychiatrist and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine

There is no social or educational merit to the social media application Tik Tok. Developed in China, where it is available as an educational tool, it has been introduced to our children and adolescents (and young adults) in the United States as a contaminating toxic form of entertainment.

Serious medical complications occur when subjects post themselves participating in stunts such as overeating, daredevil stunts such as climbing on a pyramid of boxed crates, ingesting over-the-counter drugs such as Benadryl, or excessive show of ingesting alcohol using pipes/funnels.

Why does an individual need to video themself with such dangerous behaviors for others to see? Recently a 14-year-old girl showed me some Tik Tok videos and indicated they are entertaining. Watching peers demonstrate foolish, dangerous, sexually explicit behaviors has become a form of entertainment for our children.

The lonely, isolated individual may develop quite a following depending on how bizarre they act, how many tattoos they display, how many body piercings they demonstrate, and how many shades of purple they may dye their hair. What a sad way to get attention. Then they compete for the most sensational. They do not compete with chess or backgammon, or participate in the school drama class with supervised productions of dance and singing. Tik Tok is their stage.

Unfortunately, Tik Tok has become the therapeutic forum for the lonely, isolated individual — with a poor outcome.

If the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does not ban Tik Tok, then the Parental Communications Commission (PCC) should ban it from their homes and their children’s devices because Tik Tok is toxic to our children and teenagers.

Highlights from 6th International Medical Congress of Armenia

No less than 15 AAHPO members, including several Board Members, attended the 6th International Medical Congress of Armenia (6IMCA) meeting in Yerevan and provided lectures in their respective specialties. In the photo above, AAHPO Board Member Kim Hekimian, PhD (far left) and AAHPO Member Sharon Chekijian, MD (far right) share the stage with Ara Babloyan, MD, former President of the General Assembly of Armenia, in a session on Emergency Medicine and Disaster Preparedness.

See More Photos on AAHPO’s LinkedIn Page

AAHPO Board Member Kim Hekimian, PhD was a moderator in a Plenary Session, served on an Expert Panel on Diaspora-Artsakh-Armenia Cooperation, and lectured in her field of public health.

AAHPO Member V. Armineh Babikian, MS, OTR/L presented “Rehabilitation and Disability Beyond Conflict: A critical document analysis for person-centered and sustainable rehabilitation development in Armenia,” which is part of her doctoral research.

Emergency Physician Describes Treating Maui Wildfire Victims

Within two hours of having learned about the explosive wildfires in Maui, Dr. Reza Danesh (photo at left) had stocked his mobile medical clinic with antibiotics, food and water. He set out for Lahaina, a community now almost entirely devastated by the flames.

Dr. Danesh said he spent 14 hours Wednesday driving people to evacuation shelters, treating them in his mobile clinic and helping triage evacuees. One woman he treated was covered in small burns. She told him she jumped into the ocean to avoid the flames, along with her neighbors — one of whom died, she said.

“I heard that story and I was just so sad,” Dr. Danesh said. “There she was, keeping her spirits, and her pets had all died, and she had nothing, and I’m taking care of her wounds.”

For the most part, Dr. Danesh said, he was tending to the “wounded well” — people with asthma or other chronic health issues that made it difficult to tolerate the smoke or the stress of watching their homes burn. Dr. Danesh said he gave out antibiotic drops for eye infections and inhalers for people who had trouble breathing because of smoke inhalation.

Dr. Danesh, a board-certified emergency physician, runs an urgent care center and mobile clinic, MODO Mobile Doctors, which he said he started in hope of expanding access to outpatient care in Maui. But even as someone accustomed to working in the emergency room, Dr. Danesh said, he wasn’t prepared for what he saw on his drive to Lahaina on Wednesday morning.


Cottage Cheese: The Old-Fashioned Diet Food Is the Hot New Way to Melt Fat — And Even Doctors Use It to Lose Weight

Editor’s Note: Congratulations to AAHPO Member and weight loss expert Dr. Tro Kalayjian for being quoted in the following recent article about the weight-loss benefits of eating cottage cheese.


With 200 million hits, TikTok is going wild for a creamy super-protein that our grandmothers swore by: cottage cheese. Carb-conscious and keto dieters in particular are raving, saying cottage cheese allows them to enjoy everything from extra-fluffy eggs and pancakes to cheesy dips, creamy pasta and no-churn ice cream as they crush their nutrition goals. But does cottage cheese really help with weight loss? Is cottage cheese keto? And is cottage cheese ice cream anywhere near as good as TikTokers say it is? We’re here to answer all your questions — and share success stories and simple but delicious cottage cheese recipes. So keep reading and prepare to be inspired:

Does cottage cheese help with weight loss?
According to the latest research from Florida State University, simply consuming cottage cheese as a daily snack leads to stronger muscles, a quicker metabolism and better overall health. What makes such a mild cheese so powerful? For starters, it’s loaded with nutrients that heal and transform, like energizing riboflavin, waist-shrinking folate, thyroid-boosting selenium and fat-blocking calcium.

Perhaps most crucial of all, each 162-calorie cup of cottage cheese contains a whopping 28 grams of casein and whey, two “super-proteins” found only in dairy products. Both casein and whey are proven to have surprising health benefits. (More on those benefits, below.) And many folks simply feel this special protein provides advantages other proteins don’t. “Cottage cheese is awesome,” raves New York weight loss expert Tro Kalayjian, DO, who personally shed 150 pounds while enjoying lots of the stuff. If you want to get lean, “it’s one of the best foods you can eat.”


Click Video Image below to watch Dr. Tro’s personal weight loss story.

Good or Bad? Study Says Plant-Based and Cow’s Milk are not Nutritionally Equal

Editor’s Note: AAHPO Board Member and nutritionist Knarig Khatchadurian, PhD has reviewed the article below, and has made this comment: “I agree with the American Society for Nutrition and the study described below. Nutrient contents are not the same. Consult with your nutritionist or health care provider to determine which products are best for your nutritional needs.”

The plant-based milk market is exploding, offering beverages made from seeds, nuts, legumes, grains and blends of those ingredients, often marketed as ready replacements for the traditional choice of cow’s milk.

However, not all of those plant milk options are fortified to meet the levels of various nutritional ingredients contained in dairy, according to a new unpublished study presented Monday in Boston at Nutrition 2023, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition.

The study analyzed nutrition labels and ingredients for 233 plant-based milk products from 23 different manufacturers and found only 28 of the beverages had as much or more protein, vitamin D and calcium as cow’s milk.

“About half were fortified with vitamin D, two-thirds were fortified with calcium, and nearly 20% had protein levels similar to cow’s milk,” said lead study author and registered dietitian Abigail Johnson.

“I’m not seriously concerned about this as it’s easy to get these nutrients from other sources, and cow’s milk certainly isn’t perfect and infallible,” said Johnson, who is assistant professor and associate director of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health Nutrition Coordinating Center in Minneapolis. “But if a consumer thinks plant-based milks are a one-to-one substitution for dairy, many of them are not.”