As July’s medical training program came to a close our 13 participants were thrilled to talk about the experiences they had over the course of their month in Yerevan. Investigating diseases, attending public health trainings, and researching clinical cases were just some of the things that they were able to explore as participants of FAR’s Continuing Medical Education program.

Doctor Shoghik Zakaryan from Vagharshapat in the Armavir Region has more than 10 year of experience as a family physician. She was initially intrigued to get some more in-depth practice in cardiology through CME. “Through the program, I not only got a chance to work with the best healthcare specialists in Yerevan but I was also able to learn the basics of MS Office. To be honest, I had zero computer literacy skills and felt bad about that,” she said. When asked what brought her the most excitement Dr. Zakaryan said, “I liked the trainings we had the other day—Law and Health* and Smoking Addiction Treatment.** I didn’t know that doctors should have copies of Employment Contracts; many of us had also knowledge gap in the right to vacation, etc.”

As a first-time CME participant, Doctor Lusine Sargsyan, director of Kovsakan Hospital in Artsakh also expressed her willingness to volunteer and share her knowledge when the opportunity arose. “Since graduating from medical school I haven’t had a chance for career development because of my hectic schedule at Kovsakan. I am very impressed with FAR’s healthcare program staff managers and the activities offered through the National Medical Library. The course exceeded my expectations. I learned a lot at Sourb Grigor Lusavorich Medical Center where I spent the month, and I loved that the staff helped me during the trainings. As a healthcare provider I also valued the opportunities to network with the other CME participants. I have encountered incredibly proficient doctors who can share their knowledge and best practices with me and my colleagues in my home district. This was really helpful.”

At the monthly CME graduation ceremony held on July 28th, almost every participant extolled the program as an empowering opportunity to learn and leverage their skills in order to help make the dream of a more conscientiously healthy community a reality.

“Our long-term goal of CME is to make health a cornerstone of a productive and thriving society by bringing professionals together and providing them room for improvement with the hope that they will also become healthcare ambassadors in their communities in the future,” said FAR Healthcare Programs Director Doctor Hambardzum Simonyan after proudly announcing that the 13 July participants would receive certificates indicating their completion of Continuing Professional Development credits, which are now considered mandatory for Armenian doctors to continue to practice.

The Continuing Medical Education Program in Nagorno-Karabakh is a FAR project sponsored by the Armenian American Health Professionals Organization.

*Training was organized with the cooperation of the Open Society Foundations Armenia.

**Training was organized with the cooperation of the School Public Health of the American University of Armenia.