PROGRAM: EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF ARMENIAN PHYSICIANS AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE REGIONAL NEUROSCIENCE CENTER
PROJECT: POSTGRADUATE WESTERN TRAINING IN NEUROSCIENCES
In 2001, Dr. Arthur Grigorian, a specialist in neurosurgery in Macon, Georgia, USA, noted the high rate of stroke victims in his native country of Armenia, second only to cardiovascular disease. As an Associate Professor of Surgery at Mercer University School of Medicine, (MUSM), Dr. Grigorian initiated this program by cooperation with the National Institute of Health of the Republic of Armenia and later with Yerevan State Medical University. The purpose was to establish a channel of cooperation that would result in the exchange of students and/or faculty members between Armenia and the U.S.
In 2002, an official cooperation agreement was signed between the National Institute of Health of Armenia and MUSM, Medical Center of central Georgia (MCCG) and the Georgia Neurosurgical Institute (GNI). Three years later, additional cooperation agreements were established between Yerevan State Medical University (YSMU) and the above-mentioned entities.
Shortly thereafter, a number of specialists from the U.S. visited Armenia with a series of lectures to the National Institute of Health and YSMU in Armenia.
In 2004, Armenian neurology specialists were trained by a technical support team from the U.S., when the region’s first sleep laboratory, donated by local physicians, was established in Yerevan. The MCCG also transported valuable surgical equipment and a surgical intrumentarium to Yerevan.
At the same time, special fellowships were created to allow most outstanding candidates to attend an observational fellowship at MCCG and GNI. Approximately 25 such individuals have already received training in the U.S. in various specialties, including pediatrics, OB-GYN, plastics, general surgery and radiology.
CONTINUED NEUROSCIENCES TRAINING IN THE UNITED STATES
The “observational fellowships” have proven highly effective in preparing students and residents for a specialty in the neurosciences. This aspect of training becomes particularly important while major efforts are on the way to create a regional neuroscience center in Armenia.
As a result, Armenia Fund USA continues to generate funds to sponsor fellowships for Armenian neurologists, neuroradiologists, neurosurgeons and neuropathologists selected to be trained in the United States. Candidates for this complex training qualify on the basis of their academic standing and proficient knowledge of English, as well as recommendations of an independent commission, which includes the vice-dean and department head of Yerevan State Medical University.
The project remains under the visionary leadership of Dr. Grigorian, in cooperation with MUSM, MCCG and the Georgia Neurosurgical Institute (GNI). Dr. Grigorian was invited to join the Armenia Fund USA Board of Directors in 2007.
The current budget for this project is from $10,000-15,000 USD (excluding airfare, which is the responsibility of the student, as well as lodgings in the U.S., which was kindly donated by the medical community of Georgia).
With the intensive training of a new generation of Armenian neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuroragiologists under way, Yerevan State Medical University has decided to undertake the next logical step: to create a fully functional stroke center to serve the needs of the entire region and a high-risk population for stroke. Recognizing that early treatment of stroke victims is critical for positive outcomes, YSMU will oversee the construction of the specialized facility which can offer a team of world-class specialists.
VISITING U.S. NEUROLOGICAL SPECIALISTS IN ARMENIA AND OPERATING ROOM EQUIPMENT
Dr. Grigorian is currently planning to visit the newly established center with a complete neuroscience team, which will includes two interventional neurosurgeons, a neuroradiologist and two operating room nurses. This will allow more practicing physicians to benefit from Western training without interrupting their service to their patients. Armenia Fund USA seeks to fund visiting teams of American specialists in Armenia for an extended period. In turn, it will allow more students to observe best practices medicine in a real-world setting. As a result, the specialists can assess the unique set of challenges the trainees face in Armenia and to collaborate with them on modifications and solutions.
The proposed budget for a 10-day visit of a US neuroscience team to Armenia including travel, lodgings, equipment and other out-of-pocket expenses is $6000.
Armenia Fund USA also seeks to fund an operating microscope for the stroke/neuroscience unit in Armenia with an approximate cost of $25-35000.
Armenia Fund USA will also continue to seek funds to support the development of the above mentioned neuroscience center. Please check back regularly to see how you can help.
HOW TO CONTRIBUTE OR REPLICATE A PHYSICIAN TRAINING PROJECT: To find out more about the Neuroscience Physician Training project and how you can support it, please contact Irina Lazarian, Executive Director, Armenia Fund USA. If you are interested in creating a specialty physician training project, using the Armenia Fund model, we will be happy to explore ideas and options with you.
You can Donate online for the Education and Training of Armenian Physicians Program and the Development of the Neuroscience Center right away through our secure online donations system. Please remember to mention the “Education and Training of Armenian Physicians Program” in the Comments or Questions text field of the donation form.