Armenia Fund, Chevy Chase Surgery Center Carry Out Mission in Stepanakert

The Ophthalmology operating room was a busy scene during the medical training mission with back to back eye cases from morning to evening

Working Closely with Armenia Fund USA, Chevy Chase Surgery Center Implements Mission at Stepanakert Hospital

LOS ANGELES—For the second consecutive year, Chevy Chase Surgery Center of Los Angeles has significantly boosted the professional and technical capabilities of the Stepanakert Republican Medical Center, providing local colleagues with advanced medical trainings while performing free medical services for local patients.

Working in close partnership with Armenia Fund USA, and as part of the Fund’s annual medical mission to the Armenian homeland, an all-volunteer team of physicians and support staff from Chevy Chase Surgery Center carried out its latest mission in Stepanakert from October 6 through 11, 2019.

“Once again, Chevy Chase Surgery Center has brought its extraordinary support to our ongoing goal of raising Artsakh’s medical norms and capabilities to the highest global standards,” said Maria Mehranian, president of California-based Armenia Fund USA, and continued, “I’d like to extend our profound appreciation and gratitude to Chevy Chase Surgery Center and its volunteer team, for their outstanding dedication, care, and generosity.”

Gastroenterologist Dr. Edgar Mehdikhani performing a colonoscopy and training local clinicians at the hospital

Gastroenterologist Dr. Edgar Mehdikhani performing a colonoscopy and training local clinicians at the hospital

“I am impressed by the local doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals of Artsakh for their continued willingness to learn, develop, and further enhance the quality of healthcare in the country,” stated Raffi Sarkissian, Administrator of the Chevy Chase Surgery Center. “Our visit is an excellent opportunity for capacity building, training, and knowledge transfer and I am impressed beyond words on the level of engagement by the local doctors and medical staff. I would also like to extend my gratitude to the Stepanakert Republican Medical Center’s leadership for their impeccable preparedness and cooperation,” added Sarkissian.

In the course of the mission at the Stepanakert Republican Medical Center, the volunteer team from Los Angeles provided local patients with a broad range of free services, working alongside local colleagues at the hospital and providing them with hands-on trainings.

As in 2018, a key factor contributing to the success of the latest mission was a major donation of state-of-the-art equipment for eye surgeries and gastrointestinal procedures, donated by Chevy Chase Surgery Center to the Stepanakert Republican Medical Center.

The 25-member volunteer team from Chevy Chase Surgery Center comprised top surgeons and specialists in the fields of ophthalmology, GI, obstetrics/gynecology, anesthesiology, pathology, family medicine as well as nurses and surgical technicians. During the weeklong mission in Stepanakert, the volunteer doctors and surgeons performed 70 cataract surgeries and GI procedures, including endoscopies and colonoscopies. All of these procedures simultaneously functioned as conduits for raising the capabilities of the Stepanakert hospital, as the volunteer physicians from Los Angeles worked shoulder to shoulder with their local colleagues, providing them with intensive trainings in not only the latest specialized techniques and protocols, but also in the utilization of the advanced equipment donated by the Chevy Chase Surgery Center.

The Chevy Chase Surgery Center team and the local Stepanakert GI team working together on a colonoscopy case. The Stepanakert team closely worked with their American counterparts

The Chevy Chase Surgery Center team and the local Stepanakert GI team working together on a colonoscopy case. The Stepanakert team closely worked with their American counterparts

Likewise as in 2018, Armenia Fund USA has had an instrumental role in ensuring the smooth fulfillment of the 2019 mission, by functioning as a bridge between the volunteer team from Los Angeles on the one hand, and the Stepanakert Republican Medical Center and Artsakh’s Health Ministry on the other. In this respect, vital assistance was provided by the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund, which is Armenia Fund USA’s implementing partner in Yerevan.

Armenia Fund USA has spent over six months to coordinate the latest medical mission to Stepanakert. In the run-up to the project, the Fund has administered the logistics of providing the Stepanakert Republican Medical Center with material assistance, by arranging for the transportation and clearance of donated equipment. As importantly, the Fund has provided the volunteer team from Los Angeles with comprehensive ground support, ensuring that the many moving parts of the mission work seamlessly.

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