On 27 October, the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and the Penn Center for Public Health Initiatives and the University of Pennsylvania MPH Program hosted a seminar, open to the university and Philadelphia communities, on “Update on Public Health in Armenia: Myths, Evidence, and Implications for the Region and the World”. This seminar featured the research and policy advocacy work of the American University of Armenia College of Health Sciences (CHS) faculty and research staff and celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the American University of Armenia.
The event emerged from a growing partnership between AUA and Penn Nursing, spearheaded by AUA CHS Associate Dean Varduhi Petrosyan and Penn Nursing Professor Sarah Kagan who is also an AUA Visiting Professor. The seminar capped a day-long AUA CHS Annual Faculty Workshop, held in Penn Nursing’s Fagin Hall to develop new directions for growth in CHS’ programs. CHS faculty from around the world gathered to direct new and expand initiatives in nutrition, nursing, medical and public health education.
Students and faculty from the School of Nursing, Center for Public Health Initiatives and Master’s Program in Public Health, and representatives of the Armenian community in Philadelphia and Baltimore attended the public seminar. CHS Dean Robert Bagramian opened the discussion, outlining the history and current activities of AUA and CHS.
Associate Dean Varduhi Petrosyan highlighted research in tobacco control that has resulted in marked changes in public policy and legislation in Armenia, one of the former Soviet Republics (FSR’s) most affected by tobacco use. Dr. Byron Crape provided a stimulating synopsis of tuberculosis control, offering insights into comparisons with other FSR’s. Finally, Dr. Kim Hekemian presented an uplifting examination of recent advances in health policy for improved maternal child health in Armenia, noting that large dividends in health are returned from relatively small investments in this beautiful country set the southern Caucasus Mountains. The participants responded with enthusiastic questions and posed ideas about future research and public involvement.
Dr. Kagan, CHS Visiting Professor and Lucy Walker Honorary Term Professor of Gerontological Nursing at University of Pennsylvania, noted: “I think we have made connections for two and possibly three research project collaborations between AUA and colleagues and students who attended today. I think AUA faculty who attended truly felt the warmth and colleagueship of Penn Nursing and were happy with the day. And community members attending the lecture were excited about all that they learned and the future possibilities outlined for them.