Global Health Armenia Conference: Key Issues 2015 – Report

On June 17, 2015, Dr. Hripsime Zatikyan Wright delivered the keynote address at the 1st Annual Global Health Armenia Conference, hosted by Yerevan State Medical University, in collaboration with the University of Utah.  Speakers at the Conference included Dr. Michael Narimanyan, Rector of Yerevan State Medical University; Dr. Sergey Khachatryan, Deputy Minister of Health, Ministry of Health of Armenia; Dr. Tatul Hakobyan, Head of the World Health Organization in Armenia; Alik Bazatchyan, Director of the Republic of Armenia’s National Institute of Health; Khachanush Hakobyan, Executive Director of the American-Armenian Wellness Center; Lusine Kocharyan, Head of the Health Department, Red Cross; and many more.

This first of it’s kind Conference also included a research poster session where both YSMU and U of U students could present research posters specific to research conducted in Armenia by Dr. Hripsime Zatikyan Wright and her teams of University of Utah students.

It’s important to note that while Conference was conceived in the mind of Dr. Hripsime Zatikyan Wright, for it to be brought to fruition required collaboration with many local and international partners.  Amongst said wonderful partners, we must recognize Yerevan State Medical University’s Dean of Public Health Dr. Marine Hovannisyan, who along with Dr. Hripsime Zatikyan Wright worked tirelessly in organizing and executing Global Health Armenia Conference 2015.

Also, this year’s Conference couldn’t have happened without our University of Utah/Yerevan State Medical University students, who after weeks of outreach and research, showed their love for Armenia and public health by working to make this Conference a success.

While at the Global Health Armenia Conference 2015, a palpable dream permeated – one of a bright public health future for the Republic of Armenia, promising improved, equitable health outcomes.

Included in this post is Dr. Hripsime Zatikyan Wright’s keynote address and many other addresses from the Conference.

Garni Temple and Geghard Monastery – June 2015

Iconic Garni Temple and the Gerhard Monastery made for perfect companions as we decompressed from our final outreach.  We formed the University of Utah’s iconic “U” on the steps of Garni, and found a rock at Geghard Monastery that – when touched – grants a wish (we never pass up a chance to make a wish).

Plus, photos!

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Sevan Outreach and Research – June 2015

Upon our arrival to the Sevan Policlinic, we noticed that the summer heat was tempered by cool winds glancing off Lake Sevan’s choppy surface.  Once again our local partners were wonderful in their support and unity in purpose – to create equitable health outcomes.  It’s important to note that the outreach we conduct is under their direction and that of the Ministry of Health of Armenia.  Our peers from Yerevan State Medical University share our enthusiasm as they partnered to interpret.  Following our outreach, we had the opportunity to visit Lake Sevan, eat, and code our research.  Plus, more photos!

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Farm to Table Dining in Armenia and Visiting Noravank Monastery – June 2015

Constructed from sunset colored tufa stone, the Noravank Monastery warmly embraced our visit today.  Built in the 13th century, the Noravank Monastery’s rich history and stunning profile proved a subtle, serene memory that will follow us across continents and decades of our lives.  Prior to our visit, we were able to eat at a local farm in the small village of Yeghegnkadzor. We helped harvest honey, and literally sat next at a table on a farm to eat a wonderful, traditional Armenian meal.  Plus, photos!

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Outreach and Research in Yerevan – June 2015

Surrounded by buildings constructed out of rose colored tufa (a type of stone formed from volcanic ash) and the hustle of thousands of people in Armenia’s capitol city of Yerevan, we traveled Friday to conduct research and outreach at Herasti #1, a downtown clinic.  Dr. Balyan and her staff were wonderful partners, and once again we had a wonderful and challenging task ahead of us.  Both Crystal Rasmussen and Lance Stutz were able to present on diabetes/cardiovascular prevention and management to very receptive audiences.  It’s important to note that our presentations are designed to educate and support local healthcare providers – we always strongly recommend that those who attend consult with their own very capable local physicians.  Plus, more photos!

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Outreach in Ararat and Khor Virap Monastery- June 2015

Welcoming faces greeted us as we arrived to the Ararat Hospital and Health Center- our healthcare partners are key and critical to public health outreach and research.  Taking into account best practices and lessons learned from previous outings, we set up and went to work.  Both Sydney Olson and Jessica Young – together with their YSMU interpreters – successfully presented to members of the community on type 2 diabetes prevention and management and cardiovascular disease prevention and management.  Our research team found many willing participants as well – all in all a great day.

After our outreach we had the opportunity to visit Khor Virap Monastery, where we climbed down into the hole where Grigor the Illuminator was imprisoned, and had a beautiful view of Mount Ararat as a light summer shower fell.  Plus, pictures!

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Gyumri “Hole in the Rock” University of Utah Public Health Challenge 2015!

Somewhere near Gyumri, Armenia……there is a rock with a hole in it’s center.  Legend says that those who pass through the hole in the rock are granted a wish!  Those who cannot pass through the hole in the rock are DENIED their wish!  Watch and see who is granted a wish, and who is denied a wish in 2015’s Gyumri “Hole in the Rock” University of Utah/Yerevan State Medical University Public Health Challenge!

Outreach in Dilijan, Armenia- Global Health Armenia, June 2015

Dilijan, Armenia is lush forrest.  Rolling green hills and the sound of a nearby river greeted us as we continued our health outreach.  Both Crystal Rasmussen and Lance Stutz were able to give their presentations to a very receptive audience.  Afterwards we were able to debrief together at a local restaurant and then visit the secluded and serene Haghartsin Monastery. At this beautiful monastery there is a hollowed out tree that grants a wish to all those who enter it- the perfect place for a group photo and a group wish!

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