First Regional Eye Clinic Named in His Honor
IJEVAN, Armenia—Always believing in the vital importance of vision and eye care, Haig John Boyadjian bequeathed $750,000 to the Armenian EyeCare Project. A long-time resident of New Jersey, Haig was born in Jerusalem, the Mandate of Palestine, on February 13, 1935, to Haroutune and Mary Boyadjian.
Haig graduated from Saint George’s School in 1953, and from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania in 1957, with a Bachelor of Arts. Following Swarthmore he studied at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and earned his Master of Arts in International Relations. After completing his education Haig became eligible for the military draft and served in Army Intelligence at Fort Bragg, Georgia, from 1959 through 1961. He remained in the Army Reserves for a number of years following his active service.
Pursuing his keen, lifelong interest in international relations, Haig joined Chase Manhattan Bank’s Executive Training Program. He was fascinated with foreign countries and their people and the Chase program enabled him to become immersed in a number of different cultures throughout his career. He lived and worked in many countries in Europe, South and Central America, the Caribbean and the Middle East. His last assignment was with Midland Bank’s (HSBC) London office. Among his many accomplishments Haig co-authored “Risks Reading Corporate Signals,” a book on the banking industry.
To celebrate Haig’s life, the Armenian EyeCare Project will name its first Regional Eye Clinic, which will be located in Ijevan, Tavush, in his honor — The Haig John Boyadjian AECP Eye Clinic. To bring accessible, quality eye care to the people of Armenia, the EyeCare Project is building five Regional Eye Clinics throughout Armenia. In addition to Tavush, they will be located in Gyumri in Shirak, Vanadzor in Lori, Kapan in Syunik and Yeghegnadzor in Vayots Dzor. The locations of these Eye Clinics will enable rural Armenians to have access to quality eye care and surgery within a reasonable distance. They will no longer have to travel to Yerevan for most eye care or for cataract surgery, which most can’t afford or have to wait for two years for the Mobile Eye Hospital to visit their town.
The Armenian Eye Care Project’s vision for Armenia is a country where no individual is without access to quality eye care; where Armenian ophthalmologists are trained to diagnose and treat eye disease at the highest level following United States standards and practices; and preventable causes of blindness are eliminated through an emphasis on prevention and early intervention. To realize this vision eye care must be accessible and affordable for all Armenians. However, eye care in Armenia today continues to be extremely limited outside of Yerevan and disproportionately affects the poor and those living in remote regions. Just four towns outside of the capital city of Yerevan provide basic eye care and most surgery is available only in the capital. Further, a lack of equipment and professionally trained ophthalmologists and ancillary eye care professionals in the regions severely restricts access to eye care.
While the EyeCare Project has provided eye care for hundreds of thousands on the Mobile Eye Hospital (MEH) over the past 11 years at no cost including comprehensive high quality eye examinations, basic eye care and eyeglasses for all Armenians and surgery —13,000 cases — for the poorest Armenians, this type of care has serious limitations. Because the MEH visits the outlying cities and villages only once every two years there is no treatment for emergencies and eye trauma. Additionally, eye disorders and diseases that require frequent care and observation can worsen between visits making them more difficult to treat, e.g., glaucoma and macular degeneration. In the case of children there is only a small window of time to treat eye disease and their sight can become permanently damaged. And, those who are not “poor” receive no surgical care. Even though residents are not designated as poor by government standards, most of those living in the regions do not have the money to pay for surgery and advanced care in Yerevan. They are often unable to travel the distance because of cost or other reasons and go without care, leaving many visually disabled.
The AECP Regional Eye Clinics — the first one scheduled for opening this year in Ijevan in Tavush —The Haig John Boyadjian AECP Eye Clinic —will be built over a period of five years. To fund these clinics the EyeCare Project has embarked upon its largest capital fund development campaign, ever. Over the next year the Project will reach out to its friends and donors and Armenian Family Foundations to raise $5 Million. Naming opportunities are available for major donors and all donors will be listed on a donor wall in each Regional Eye Clinic.
For more information about the Armenian EyeCare Project, contact the California office at 949-933-4069, or visit the AECP website at www.eyecareproject.com. To make a donation, call the AECP or mail a check to P.O. Box 5630, Newport Beach, California 92662.