Reflection by Paul M. Hinckley

Paul M. Hinckley outside of Armenia's Garni Temple
Paul M. Hinckley outside of Armenia’s Garni Temple

When I first met Dr. Hripsime Wright about a year and a half ago I had no way of knowing how that encounter would change my life. I was hoping to work together on a small project, expecting to do something in locally in Salt Lake City. What I got was not even close… I soon found out that Dr. Wright does not do small.

Over the next year and a half a group of exceptional students came together, and at the request of the Armenian Ministry of Health, developed a pilot program to conduct research about diabetes in Armenia and also provide education on the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes.  Under the guidance of Dr. Wright we were becoming certified investigators and developing skills rarely offered to students. We were becoming global health professionals.

At the end of June, fifteen students from America gathered together in Yerevan, Armenia to begin our fieldwork. With our new set of skills we were eager, and some also quite nervous, to implement our project that we had spent so much time creating.

We visited four medical centers in various regions of Armenia to implement our project and conduct our research and it was a huge success. We connected with the Armenian people on a personal level by taking the time to show each person we encountered that we cared and wanted to help them. In return we were able to gather the data we were looking for and, at least for me, develop an appreciation for the people and culture of Armenia that has changed me forever.

Our two weeks in Armenia may appear to some as a successful end to my meeting and working with Dr. Wright over the last eighteen months but it certainly is only a beginning. Now we have the opportunity use the information we collected to make an even bigger difference in Armenia by identifying specific issues and tailoring our project to address those issues. My dream is that this project will continue for many years. That dozens or even hundreds of students will have the opportunity to join our team and develop global health skills and make a difference in the world. That my small dream will continue to grow until it has affected the lives of millions.

Paul M. Hinckley
University of Utah
Pharm D Candidate 2014
IPSF Liaison

Global Health and Pharmacy Partnership Building

Kyle and Paul infront of Armenian cross stones
Kyle and Paul infront of Armenian cross stones

Our partnership building continues as we met today with a deputy dean of the School of Pharmacy at Yerevan State Medical University (YSMU).  Together our hope is to increase not only the research component of our work, but also to maximize the potential of our outreach and student participation between the University of Utah (U of U) and YSMU.

Global Health Armenia 2013 Retrospective

Although our time in Armenia is coming to a close, our work continues as we return home to analyze our data as well as continue to build partnerships within this wonderful country.  Many friendships were born here, including those with our new friends and fellow researchers at Yerevan State Medical School.  Without a doubt, this is the happiest group of researchers ever, and their optimism, ethic, and just plain good-ness combined won over hearts throughout Armenia.  Diabetes research and outreach is this year’s project, with so much more to come!  Note:  This research is not for profit, and there are a few songs on this video journal that I hope will meet all of the set guidelines for student work.

Armenia Bucket List

What an adventure this has been!  Tonight we were dancing in the rain nestled in a valley outside of Yerevan- we can all check that experience off from our “Armenia Bucket List”.  It’s incredible to imagine that we are on the cusp of returning home – Armenia and our colleagues here have touched our hearts.  Here are a few more photos of our time doing diabetes research and outreach, with a few video retrospectives to follow.

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Global Health Armenia Meeting with Deputy Minister of Health of Armenia Sergey Khachatryan

Dr. Khachatryan and the Ministry of Healthcare of the Republic of Armenia have provided unprecedented support and access during this year’s diabetes research and outreach in Armenia.  We had the opportunity to sit down and be taught by Dr. Khachatryan on 2 July, 2013, which has been a highlight of our time here in Armenia.  His wisdom, insight, and vision are inspiring.  Here are parts one and two of our meeting with him.

Here is part 1:

Here is part 2:




Gyumri, Armenia, Harichavank Monastery, the magical “Hole in the Rock” and more

Nestled in the Shirak Province of Armenia is Gyumri, the second largest city in Armenia.  With a unique dialect and culture, Gyumri was a pleasure to visit and conduct our diabetes research and outreach.  The Gyumri people have a sweet nature, and the healthcare providers we collaborated with are extraordinary in their passion.  We also visited and were inspired by the Harichavank Monastery, as well as the magical “Hole in the Rock” in Gyumri which grants wishes to those who crawl through it.  Here are a few snapshots from our time there, with more content to follow.

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