After a two-year hiatus due to the Coronavirus, we are happy to announce that our Next Generation Fellowship Program, which brings promising young doctors from Armenia to the U.S. for advanced medical education and training, has started up again. This year five fellows will travel to the U.S. for medical education fellowships in their selected specialties.
Dr. Tatevik Adamyan, who specializes in retina, was the first NextGen Fellow to arrive in the U.S. In February, she began the first phase of her three-month fellowship at Retina EyeCare in Seattle under the mentorship of Dr. Arpi Avakian. She then traveled to Las Vegas to continue the second phase of her observership at Retina Consultants of Nevada under the mentorship of Dr. Meher Yepremian.
After her fellowship ended in May, Dr. Adamyan had this to say of the experience: “It was a very big honor for me to be selected as one of AECP’s NextGen Fellows. My days were full with consultations, exams and observing surgeries. My goal was to learn as much as possible in my specialty so when I return to Armenia I can do my best for my patients and of course share my updated knowledge with my colleagues and residents in the country. I’m very thankful to the AECP to have given me this great opportunity. With it I will do my best for my country.”
More Armenian ophthalmologists will also make their way to the U.S. for AECP fellowships this year. Dr. Artak Kirakosyan arrived in July for his three-month cornea fellowship, which will take place at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA.)
“My goal is to have this NextGen Program be a continuation of the original AECP Fellowship Program, the first generation of ophthalmologists in Armenia who traveled to the U.S. for fellowships through the AECP,” Dr. Kirakosyan says. “Each fellowship opportunity, ophthalmology conference and practical exchange program is critical for the development of local doctors in Armenia. I am happy there is a program that will help realize my dream.”
Later, in September, Drs. Zara Dravajyan and Araks Davtyan will arrive for their fellowships, which will also specialize in cornea and take place at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA. All three fellows will observe under the mentorship of AECP Volunteer Physician Dr. Anthony Aldave.
“The Next Generation Fellowship Program, for me, is a unique opportunity to upgrade my clinical knowledge and professional skills and ultimately to grow and progress in the ophthalmology world,” Dr. Dravajyan says. “It is every doctor’s dream.”
The physician also has a particular goal in mind after returning to Armenia from her fellowship. “Since there is no cornea department in the clinic where I work, it would be my personal mission and privilege to open a cornea center there upon returning from my fellowship in the U.S.,” Dr. Dravajyan says.
Dr. Davtyan also discusses what her goals are through her participation in the AECP’s NextGen Fellowship Program. “One of my fundamental goals not only in my career, but in my life, is to be a useful and caring person and to be of service to my country,” she says. “Because of this program, I can accomplish this lifelong goal in ways that I have, so far, only dreamed. During my fellowship, I plan to learn new approaches of diagnosis and treatment from field leaders and bring that advanced knowledge back with me to Armenia. My dream is to have Armenia follow the same high-quality standards in medicine as developed countries like the U.S.”
In addition to the four NextGen Fellows arriving in the U.S. this year, another ophthalmologist from Armenia, Dr. Astghik Ghazaryan has also arrived to complete a longer-term, two-year fellowship in her specialty of retina. Dr. Ghazaryan arrived in the U.S. in February and will be observing at the University of California Irvine (UCI) under the mentorship of Dr. Barry Kuppermann until 2024.
We are thrilled that we were able to reinstate our fellowship program for these talented Armenian physicians and give them the unique opportunity to received advanced medical education and intensive training in their specialties. These AECP Fellows will then return to Armenia and be able to provide the highest quality eye care to their patients.