Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) and Yerevan State Medical University (YSMU)
Held Fourth Annual Medical Symposium
Year after year and month after month, the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) helps more and more Armenian physicians enhance their medical skills, learn about new developments in their field, and essentially become better doctors through the Continuing Medical Education (CME) program.
The CME program is helping to change medical care in Armenia through post-graduate training, which has now served 195 physicians throughout the country. This instrumental program is a departure from the antiquated Soviet methods of 20 years ago. Even today, many of Armenia’s doctors struggle to provide adequate medical care in the provinces where resources are scarce and equipment is lacking.
To further discuss the benefits of the program as well as some of today’s most pressing health issues, 155 CME alumni recently gathered in Yerevan for their fourth annual medical symposium. Such a meeting is crucial to provincial doctors for whom Internet access and other communication methods are scarce or, in some cases, completely unavailable.
CME was started in 2006 by the FAR Fellowship Alumni Association (FARFAA), a group of physicians who, in the 1990s, studied medical practices in the United States. They returned to Armenia eager to spread their knowledge to their colleagues with the hope of making broad improvements to medical care.
By helping doctors to sharpen their skills and even learn new methods, CME also restores the trust between doctors and the populations they serve.
FAR Health Programs Coordinator Doctor Hambardzum Simonyan spoke to this. “One of the important components of the program is to change the mentality of the regional population. One or two failures, or an ineffective case in the health service of regional physicians results in distrust among people toward the work of their local doctor,” he said. “Thus, our purpose is to improve health service quality in remote regions by equipping the hospitals with highly qualified professionals and health equipment.”
Every month at least four specialists from the provinces travel to Yerevan for the month-long training. Participants work with leading doctors at Yerevan State Medical University (YSMU) and leading hospitals in the capital city. CME is tailored to the needs of each provincial doctor and the cost of their training, transportation, and housing are all covered by FAR.
CME alumni become members of a network, through which they can continually be in touch with doctors in the capital. In addition, alumni events, retreats, and gatherings like the recent symposium are organized several times a year so participants can continue their professional growth and stay abreast of developments in medicine.
YSMU has replicated the FARFAA model and now accommodates post-graduate medical training in Armenia. Vice Rector of YSMU Gevorg Yaghjyan, expressed his happiness at having a continuous flow of skilled physicians participate in the CME program in the future. YSMU actively promotes continuing medical education.
After just four years, more Armenians — especially those in rural regions — are seeing a difference in their medical care because more and more doctors are armed with new methods of treatment. As the project grows, so will the face of medical care in Armenia.
Since its founding in response to the 1988 earthquake, FAR has served hundreds of thousands of people through more than 220 relief and development programs in Armenia and Karabagh. It has channeled more than $265 million in humanitarian assistance by implementing a wide range of projects including emergency relief, construction, education, medical aid, and economic development.
Fund for Armenian Relief
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Phone (212) 889-5150