ACMAO committee and honorees.
By: Dr. Ani Hasserjian
On November 24th, 2018, the Armenian Canadian Medical Association of Ontario (ACMAO) marked a milestone: 30 years of great achievements in Armenia and Artsakh. Two important functions were organized for the day- a Symposium and a celebratory Gala.
Proposed by the President of the Armenian Medical International Committee (AMIC), Dr. Vicken Sepilian, a Symposium was organized by the Executive Board of ACMAO. The Objective was to bring together different Armenian Associations who have medical, health related or humanitarian projects done in Armenia and Artsakh to create a common database.
In Toronto, the symposium was held at the Armenian Evangelical Church’s Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian Hall, on November 24th. Six Associations participated, with interesting reports of their health related or humanitarian projects done in Armenia and in Artsakh. The organizations were: The Armenian Holy Trinity Church “Parev” Centre, The Armenian Missionary Association of Canada (AMAC), The Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Toronto Roubina Chapter, Himnadram Toronto Chapter, The Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) of Canada and ACMAO.
After the opening remarks of the President of ACMAO, Dr. Ani Hasserjian, a short video prepared by Onik Nazarians about the 30 years of the Association’s history was shown. It was followed by a presentation by Khoren Mardoyan, about the humanitarian and medical aid to Artsakh sent by the AMAC and ACMAO, specifically after the 2016 April 4-day war.
Ani Hotoyan-Joly described the various educational, medical and humanitarian projects accomplished by the ARS in Armenia and in Artsakh. She spotlighted the work done by its members worldwide under the guidance of the ARS Central Executive Committee, as well as the Canadian Regional and the local ARS Roubina Chapter. She emphasized the ARS program pertaining to supporting women who give birth to daughters.
Ani Sarvarian and Armine Boyadjian, representing the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church and “Parev” Centre, presented different projects which are geared towards the youth to be connected to the motherland, Armenia.
Natalie Ternamian and Christian Ternamian, talked about their experiences as representatives of ACMAO and AMAC in the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) Medical Mission in Armenia. They discussed interesting topics related to the medical aid and treatments rendered in remote areas of Armenia with a group of American Armenian physicians and healthcare professionals.
Migirdich Migirdichian, the Chairman of the Himnadram Toronto chapter, talked about the participation of all churches and organizations in the fundraising efforts of Himnadram Toronto. He mainly presented the Life Centers built in villages of Artsakh and Armenia and he focused on the medical facilities in these Life Centers.
Alek Ohanian presented the educational efforts of the AYF members; they organize a Summer Camp for children in the Vanadzor region of Armenia each summer. He shared a couple of videos taken during these camps which reflected the joy and camaraderie of the participants and their leaders.
Dr. Gaspar Israelian, a neurologist and a founding member of ACMAO, represented the work of the medical association in the early days by the establishment of the Epilepsy Centre. He spoke about the urgency of having a Modern Stroke Center in Yerevan and the plans to establish that center hopefully soon.
Dr. Vicken Sepilian, a Reproductive Specialist and Infertility Endocrinologist, who had travelled from Los Angeles to attend the 30th anniversary celebrations of ACMAO, lectured about issues of reproduction and infertility and focused on statistical facts of these issues in Armenia. He explained the innovations in reproductive medicine and most recent procedures of Artificial Insemination.
On the evening of November 24, the medical professionals, their families and friends attended a gala event at Le Parc Banquet Hall elegantly decorated by Suzanne Keushkerian of “Suzart”. With the hard work of the organizing committee, the silent auction table was set up with exceptional items that were appreciated by the attendees.
Armenia landscape paintings by Meroujan Khatchatryan, not only brought to the Banquet Hall a touch of “Armenian Spirit”, but some of the paintings also became “collector’s item” to those who purchased them.
During the reception period the attendees were entertained by the remarkable piano performance of Narine Sisserian.
The evening program started with the welcoming words of the Vice President- Gala chair of ACMAO, Dr. Roger Kaprielian. He then invited the President of ACMAO, Dr. Ani Hasserjian for her message which was followed by a video presentation, representing the 30 year history of the Armenian Canadian Medical Association of Ontario and its Mission.
Dr. Vicken Sepilian, a respected physician, civic leader, philanthropist and an educator was the keynote speaker of the evening. He has been an active member of the Armenian American Medical Society (AAMS) serving as President. Passionate about community education, Dr. Sepilian launched a TV program aimed at educating the community on important healthcare topics. In 2017 he was elected the President of the Armenian Medical International Committee (AMIC).
Dr. Sepilian spoke about the History of AMIC founded in 1990 in Montreal. He explained the role of AMIC as an umbrella organization comprised of multiple Armenian Healthcare Organizations in the diaspora. He emphasized that the mission of AMIC is to help facilitate and coordinate diaspora efforts in improving healthcare as well as the healthcare education in Armenia and Artsakh.
He encouraged Ontario Armenian Healthcare Professionals to participate in the Quadrennial Armenian Medical World Congresses (AMWC), organized by AMIC. It’s worth noting that the next two congresses will be held in Yerevan, in July 2019 and in Moscow in 2021.
Guest musicians father and son Edouard and Levon Ichkhanian performed, on piano and guitar, Armenian and classic melodies. In appreciation of their participation, father and son duo were honored by ACMAO Board.
The gala theme was celebrating 30 years of achievements, honouring dedicated Armenian health care professionals of the community and rebuilding by “passing on the torch to our new generation” to fulfill the upcoming objectives of the association.
In appreciation of the hard work of the founding members of ACMAO, the following health care professionals were honoured by special Recognition Citations: Sarkis Balian, Dr. Hagop Boyrazian, Dr. Hampik Injeyan, Dr. Gaspar Israelian, Dr. Hratch Kavazanjian, Dr. Vatche Karametlian, Houri Najarian and Dr. Shake Toukmanian.
In a symbolic ceremony, Mr. George Ternamian along with his children Natalie Ternamian and Dr. Cristian Ternamian, each holding a candle representing a decade, proceeded towards the 30th anniversary cake, symbolizing the passing of the torch from the father to the children.
Past ACMAO Presidents, Dr. Berge Minassian, specially attending from Texas USA, Dr. Berdj Artinian and Dr. Cyril Tahtadjian joined in the cake cutting ceremony.
ACMAO Executive Board thanked all the donors, friends, volunteers, members and participants for their contributions. And in appreciation of all the hard work, dedication and commitment of its friends who participate in its activities as volunteers or as organizing committee members, the Board honoured France Kandaharian for her volunteerism.
The proceeds of the Gala will be allocated to establishing a continuing dental education and prevention center in Stepanakert, Artsakh, upgrading and renovating the Dental Mobile Clinics, to providing dental care to remote villages of Artsakh and assisting university medical students from the Armenian Earthquake zone and Ontario with scholarships.