CME July 3rd Event

Over 200 doctors from Artsakh trained in the latest medical approaches. More than 20 trainings on various healthcare issues held in Stepanakert. Dozens of items of vital medical equipment sent to Artsakh’s medical institutions. These are the quantitative results of the seven-year collaboration between FAR and the Armenian-American Healthcare Professionals Organization (AAHPO) on the Continuing Medical Education Program (CME).

Yet, apart from the purely quantitative outcomes, it is important to highlight the great impact that CME has had on the medical community and the people of Artsakh. Training the region’s doctors through CME ultimately serves hundreds of residents throughout the region through the provision of updated, enhanced, and enriched medical care.

“This year is important for the cooperation of FAR and AAHPO,” said Dr. Hambardzum Simonyan, FAR’s Health Programs Director. “We have to look back, evaluate the work done, and continue our efforts with greater goals and plans.”

In 2011, FAR started implementing CME in Artsakh, then known as Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, with support from AAHPO. One of the initiators of this same program, Dr. Gevorg Yagjyan, a FAR Fellowship Alumni Association Board member, is convinced that the expectations from seven years ago have been fully met.

“The program proved 100 percent successful. Many years ago, many leading doctors would visit and do surgeries or receive patients in Artsakh, while also involving local specialists with whom they could share the experience, but that was not enough. Back then, we devised the solution, which would be to bring the doctor to Yerevan, retrain him or her, and keep in further contact with him or her,” said Dr. Yagjyan, referring to the CME program model.

FAR started discussions with AAHPO, which proved effective, as their collaboration made it possible to start to include doctors from Artsakh into the program. Starting this year, nurses from Artsakh will also be eligible to apply for the program, which enables rural doctors to spend one-month in Yerevan training with leading specialists on the latest practices.
“Nurses should also be competent enough to properly assist doctors,” Dr. Yaghjyan added, while also underlining the great importance of contemporary medical trainings, which he says relate to large audiences and physicians with different specialties.

The program is also highly valued in Artsakh. Even Dr. Vigen Khachatryan, Executive Director of Shushi Regional Medical Center, is a two-time participant. “We keep in contact with—I would even say we have become friends with—the doctors who participate in the program, and with those who supervise us at Yerevan’s clinics. This contact not only enables us to stay up on the latest medical information, but it also makes it easier to consult with leading physicians in Yerevan,” he said.

Dr. Khachatryan believes it necessarily to thank the initiators and supporters of this program, as well as its managers. “On behalf of all the doctors in Karabakh, I have to state that this is a brilliant, useful, well-organized program. The program cares about all the issues: the transportation, lodging, thematic seminars trainings. It is organized in a way to satisfy a participant on all aspects. The program was an opportunity to retrain doctors who didn’t have a chance to do so for years.”

FAR’s Dr. Hambardzum Simonyan has worked closely with the Ministry of Health in Artsakh in order to identify the physicians eligible to participate in the program. The selection of candidates, the list of necessary medical supplies and equipment, as well as main topics of training and specific lectures are carefully discussed and planned throughout the entire year between FAR and the Ministry.