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Advancing Health Through Knowledge

Advancing Health Through Knowledge

BY: Dr. Kohar Der Simonian, M.D

AIWA-SF was delighted to partner with the American University of Armenia to send three Doctors to focus on the importance of Primary Care around Reproductive Health Care Management  Comprehensive Diabetes Management and Skin Care Prevention and Reversing the Stigma behind Skin Diseases.

This past October, Hasmik Arzoumanyan, Ani Tajirian, and I traveled to Armenia for AIWAs first public health related project.  I am thrilled to share our experience and my thoughts and reflections from this trip by providing a brief overview of the highlights of our trip.

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The goal of our trip was to concentrate on training and education of the health care providers who work in Armenia, with the hope of making this project sustainable for the long term. In this regard, we focused on sharing up to date lectures on several primary care related issues including women’s health/family planning, diagnosis and treatment of diabetes and thyroid disease, and diagnosis and treatment of common skin disorders.

First, we met with the wonderful staff and residents of Mer Hooys and provided valuable consultation to the doctor who works on site. She was eager to continue to use us as consultants via Skype of Facebook for future questions.

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We also lectured at Manoogian Hall at AUA, each of us speaking 45 minutes on our respective areas of expertise. This lecture series was attended by some students of the public health school, as well as a few interested community members.

Finally, we partnered with COAF (Children of Armenia Fund) an organization that is improving the lives of the residents in some of the most rural and impoverished villages in Armenia, and traveled to 2 villages to provide education to local doctors, as well see patients for consultations.


Karakert was the first village we traveled to and we were met very enthusiastically by a wonderful team of nurses, doctors, and midwives. We toured COAF’s    recently built school and polyclinic, and we shared best practices related to family planning, safe access to medication abortion, management of thyroid disease, and common skin disorders.

The following day we traveled to Myasnikyan, where we saw a multitude of patients in conjunction with the local health care providers.

Our trip was a success and left all three of us actively encouraged to remain engaged in working to improve health care delivery and education in Armenia.



Dr. Kohar Der Simonian, M.D. serves as Assistant Clinical Professor in both the departments of Family and Community and Obstetrics and Gynecology at UCSF. She is the Reproductive Health Faculty Lead for the Family Medicine Residency program, and serves as Director of the TEACH Program, which provides curriculum development, professional advocacy, and training support in reproductive health for family medicine residents.

Dr. Hasmik Arzumanyan, M.D. is a board certified Endocrinologist currently working at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center in California. She is also the Diabetes Program Lead for the East Bay Kaiser Permanente. Prior to joining Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Arzumanyan served as Assistant Clinical Professor of Endocrinology in the University of California Davis Health System.

Dr. Ani Tajirian, M.D. is a dermatologist and Mohs Micrographic Surgeon in Oakland, California.


To learn more about AIWA, please visit  To get involved with the AIWA SF affiliate, please visit or send an email to

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