CHS Hosts First Deputy Minister of Health

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YEREVAN, Armenia — On March 22, the American University of Armenia (AUA) Turpanjian College of Health Sciences (CHS) hosted First Deputy Minister of Health of the Republic of Armenia (RA) Dr. Lena Nanushyan (M.D., MPH ’05). The topic of the discussion was “Towards Universal Health Coverage: Challenges and Implications in Armenia.”

Dr. Nanushyan presented the current challenges the Armenian health system is facing, including very high out-of-pocket payments that put people at financial risk; low primary healthcare utilization and extensive use of expensive hospital services for conditions that could be managed at the primary care level, leading to inefficiencies; unregulated markets for medicine that contribute to high and growing retail prices and escalating healthcare costs; and undersupply of skilled human resources in rural areas jeopardizing access to needed care in those communities. Given these multiple challenges, the RA Ministry of Health has announced a major health reform goal of providing Universal Health Coverage to the citizens of Armenia. Next, Dr. Nanushyan presented the list of activities that have been implemented or are planned for the near future in order to reach the ultimate goal of a healthier population that does not face financial risks while receiving quality care.

The AUA Master of Public Health students, alumni, researchers, CHS faculty members, and University community representatives then had the opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions. CHS Dean Dr. Varduhi Petrosyan encouraged the students to draw upon the list of activities presented by Dr. Nanushyan in order to develop program evaluation proposals as part of their course assignment, consider internship opportunities at the Ministry of Health, or conduct master capstone projects that would support the multiple important public health initiatives of the Ministry related to the Universal Health Coverage reforms.

The First Deputy Minister highlighted the importance of the active involvement of junior public health professionals and welcomed their contributions to the Ministry projects.

As First Deputy Minister, Dr. Nanushyan is assigned to coordinate policy development for the public health and human resources fields. In terms of human resource policy development, she is coordinating graduate and postgraduate training programs, including continuous medical education. Her expertise includes tobacco policy formulation and implementation. Before joining the Ministry of Health in 2018, she had leading positions at the National Institute of Health, the National Assembly, and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS).

The AUA Turpanjian College of Health Sciences works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of health professionals to be leaders in public health, nursing, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.