Hovhannesyan, MD, who trained in Moscow, and Arta-vadz Sahakian, MD, who trained in France. These three
surgeons trained three more plastic surgeons between
1994 and 1997. One of these surgeons, Gevorg Yaghjyan,
MD, came to Yale for a year of research in plastic surgery. Dr. Yaghjyan returned to join the faculty at the
Yerevan Medical Institute and established an academic
foundation for the residency program in plastic surgery;
he later became deputy dean of the medical school.
The team has trained 46 plastic surgeons as of
December 2015 and now has a certifying examination issued by the Armenian Board of Plastic Surgery.
Dr. Stamboltsyan became Minister of Health
(1997–1998) and then returned once more to lead
the PRSC. He was elected to Parliament in 2003 and
became Chairman of the Committee for Health.
In 2005, Dr. Stamboltsyan and four of his colleagues
(Drs. Hovhannesyan, Leon Torosian, Karen Danielyan,
and Yaghjyan), formed the Armenian Association of
Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons. In
2007, together with their colleagues from the Republic
of Georgia, this association hosted the First International Congress of the Armenian Association of Plastic,
Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgeons.
I attended the 4th International Congress in Yerevan in November 2013 (see photo, this page). It was
the eve of the 25th anniversary of the earthquake in
Spitak, and the meeting took place in the Madeta-ran amphitheater, a library of historical documents
dating back two millennia. Papers were presented
over three days by plastic surgeons from Armenia,
Georgia, Russia, the U.S., Austria, Poland, Germany,
Spain, and Japan.
We learned quite a bit from this experience, including
the following lessons:
•Don’t be afraid to aim high.
•If an opportunity arises, from a tragedy or a necessity,
be aware that powerful allies are willing to help.
• Governments are more than willing to take chances on
unique programs if they have the potential to benefit
many of their citizens.
•Many sources of financial support—from individual
donations to foundations to governmental agencies—
• Regulatory agencies are more than willing to offer guidance and identify unique mechanisms of certification.
• Many resources are available in our own institutions that
are willing to contribute to the success of the endeavor.
•We can rely on the assistance of many individual
The accomplishments of this team of professionals have proven to be extraordinary, thanks in large
part to the help of our colleagues in New Haven and
across America. This team of health care professionals
from Armenia, who sacrificed so much, has remained
together and has worked to further the training of
countless others in their home country. Above all
else, their success can be attributed to their choosing
empowerment over charity. ♦
This article is based on Dr. Ariyan’s presidential address at
the annual meeting of the American Association of Plastic
Surgeons, April 12, 2015, Scottsdale, AZ.
The medical team at the meeting of the 4th Congress in Yerevan in November
2013. From left: Drs. Yaghjyan, Stamboltsyan, Hovhannesyan, and Babloyan.