YEREVAN, Armenia – On October 10, 2019, Travelling Doctors organization, Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, ProfMind development lab and the American University of Armenia (AUA) Turpanjian School of Public Health (SPH) organized an event about volunteering for medical missions in the world. The distinguished speakers of the event were Dr. Tom Catena, Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Chair and 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate, founder, director and the only surgeon at the Mother of Mercy Hospital in Sudan’s war-ravaged Nuba mountains for the last 10 years, and Dr. Armine Barkhudaryan, obstetrician-gynecologist, the founder of Travelling Doctors of Armenia (TDA) NGO, a goodwill ambassador of Aurora forum, a humanitarian who volunteered for medical missions in Sudan, Kenya, and Syria.
Besides sharing their inspiring life stories of working in medical missions throughout the world, Drs. Catena and Barkhudaryan presented a few interesting and rare cases from their medical practices. Dr. Catena mentioned that besides clinical care they organize public health activities for the community. In addition, Drs. Armen Mkrtchyan and Arshak Hazaryan – volunteers from TDA in Sudan – shared their experience and answered questions through video-conferencing. Drs. Hayk Hovhannisyan and Gevorg Voskanyan, who replaced Dr. Tom Catena in Nuba Mountains in 2017, were also in the audience.
Facilitating the event was Vardan Hovhannisyan, the founder of Bars Media documentary film studio that has prepared several documentaries about medical missions in Sudan, Kenya, and Syria. The documentary“Non-Nubian Humanitarians in Nuba” was screened during the event.
SPH Dean Varduhi Petrosyan thanked the organizers for the honor to host this inspiring event at AUA and expressed gratitude to the distinguished speakers for spreading love and care in the most challenging places in the world and reminding everyone about the noble nature of health professions.
The attendees had the opportunity to learn more about possibilities of volunteering in medical missions, collaboration with international medical organizations, professional gain from those missions, medical and public health challenges that they have to deal with during the missions, rare clinical cases that health providers deal with, preparation needed for becoming a volunteer, and other relevant details. The participants were public health professionals, working physicians, medical residents and students, representatives of NGOs, and others. With their inspiring stories the speakers greatly motivated the participants who stayed on to discuss their ideas with the speakers and organizers of the event after the formal program was completed.
The AUA Turpanjian School of Public Health works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of public health professionals to be leaders in public health, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.