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AAHPO honors these outstanding individuals who have earned AAHPO's highest award for Scientific and Cultural Achievement.



Dr. Edgar HousepianAra Hovanessian, Ph.D.

Ara Hovanessian is of Armenian origin with French and Lebanese nationality. He was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1948, the sixth son of Arakel Hovanessian (businessman) and Dirouhi Hovanessian-Kojakian (Nurse-Midwife). Arakel and Dirouhi Hovanessian were self-made man and a woman; both were unique examples of parents full of love, humility, and determination. In addition to be the son of exceptional parents, he is blessed and honored to have brothers and sisters like Raffy, Reuben (Siraganian), Ida (Geuyikian), Levon, and Rosy (Yeretsian).

After graduating from Haigazian Varjaran in Aleppo, he studied for three years at the Aleppo College before moving to Lebanon where he did his Science-Baccalaureate at the Armenian Evangelical School, Beirut, Lebanon (1968).

He did his Freshman and Sophomore years at the Haigazian University in Beirut (1969-70) before continuing his undergraduate studies at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon (B.Sc. 1972, M.Sc. 1974). For his graduate studies, he did his Ph.D. thesis at the King’s College, University of London (1975-1978), while conducting research at the prestigious National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill under the guidance of Dr. Ian Kerr. During his thesis project, he discovered interferon-induced 2’-5’oligoadenylate synthetases and the protein kinase PKR that play an important role in its mechanism of anti-viral action. Interferons are now considered to play an essential role in mediating an innate immunity in an organism.

After his Ph.D. thesis, he moved to France where he was offered a permanent position by the ‘Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique’ (CNRS) and spent 26 years at the world-famous ‘Institut Pasteur’ in Paris in close collaboration with Luc Montagnier (Nobel Prize in Medicine, 1998). With Luc Montagnier he participated in the discovery and characterization of HIV-2, the second type of infectious HIV. From 1991-2004, he became the head of the laboratory `Virology and Immunology Unit` at ‘Institut Pasteur’, where he directed several research projects on HIV and on the mechanism of action of interferon. From 2004-up to date, Ara Hovanessian as a ‘Directeur de Recherche I, CNRS’ at the Université Paris Descartes conducts two major projects: 1) on the development of a synthetic vaccine for AIDS, and 2) on the development of multivalent synthetic peptides for cancer therapy that target specifically surface nucleolin. Since January 2011, Ara Hovanessian is semi-retired for health reasons, but he continues to be actively involved for the valorization of these two projects at the Université Paris Descartes (ara.hovanessian@parisdescartes.fr).

Research Discoveries. The 2’-5’oligoadenylate synthetases (1512 international scientific publications up to date on the subject) and the protein kinase PKR (3132 international scientific publications on the subject) that play an important role in the mechanism of action of interferon; description of HIV glycoproteins that were used for virus diagnosis and differentiation of HIV-1 from HIV-2, pathogenesis of HIV infection in cell cultures, development of synthetic vaccines against HIV infection, and cell surface expressed nucleolin as a target for the action of multivalent pseudopeptides in cancer therapy.

Patents. He has more than 40 patents on the diagnosis of HIV-2 and HIV-2 envelope glycoproteins, Inhibitors of HIV entry, synthetic vaccines against HIV, surface-nucleolin as a target in cancer therapy, and multivalent pseudopeptides for cancer therapy. He has more than 190 peer-reviewed scientific articles (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed); 75% of which he is the first or the last author.

Honors and Awards of Dr. Ara Hovanessian

"European Award for Interferon Research": for the discovery, characterization and cloning of PKR and different isoforms of OAS, Hanover 1990;

"Milstein Award": in Recognition of Outstanding Contribution on the Mechanism of Action of Interferon, ISICR, San Francisco, 1990;

"Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite": French National Honorary Distinction awarded by President François Mitterrand, Paris 1993;

"Cicilian Knight": 1995, Awarded by His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of Cilicia (1977 - 1995).

"Man of the Year": AAHPO, 1995;

"Honorary Member of the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research (ISICR)": 2011.



1996 Mrs. Louise Simone Manoogian

Dr. Edgar Housepian












1997 Dr. Stephan Ariyan

Dr. Edgar Housepian













Dr. Edgar HousepianDr. Edgar Housepian

Edgar Housepian’s interest in medicine emerged at the age of 14, when he started work as an orderly at New York Hospital and there observed neurosurgeries. After spending two years in the Navy, and serving during World War II, he graduated with honors from Columbia College and then from Columbia Medical School in 1953. His career in the medical field flourished, including research, teaching and practicing medicine. He became a professor of clinical neurological surgery at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. He retired in 1997, but has remained active at Columbia University Medical Center. A professorship of neurological surgery was established in his name at Columbia.

Housepian’s father was a physician who went to Armenia at the beginning of the 20th century to help the survivors of the Genocide. Following in his father’s footsteps, Edgar Housepian similarly went to Armenia to help those who had suffered during the 1988 earthquake and helped create FAR. For 20 years he was the vice chairman of FAR’s board of directors and chairman of FAR’s Medical Committee. He helped design a post-graduate Medical Fellowship Program, through which nearly 90 Armenian doctors were brought to the US for additional training. He was also instrumental in supporting Dr. Yervant Terzian’s initiative to create the Armenian National Science and Education Fund (ANSEF) to provide research grants.

He has received many awards and honors, including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 1992 and the 2002 Humanitarian Award of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. In 1996, he received Columbia’s Physicians and Surgeons Alumni medal. He also received an honorary doctorate from The Academy of Sciences of Armenia. In 1992, he was named Armenian of the Year by the Eastern Diocese.




Dr. Avedia K. KhachadurianDr. Avedis K. Khachadurian








Dr. Edgar HousepianDr. Harout Mekhjian











Kevork S. HonanianKevork S. Hovnanian

Established the K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, the Emergency Care Center at Riverview Hospital and the Cardiology Floor at the New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. Mr. Hovnanian also was the co-chairman for the Fund for Armenian Relief.







Dr. Aram V. ChobanianDr. Aram V. Chobanian

Distinguished Physician, Researcher, Medical Pioneer, Humanitarian, Academician, Administrator, Author

Aram V. Chobanian has previously served as President ad interim and President of Boston University, 2003-2005; Dean of the School of Medicine, 1988-2003; and Provost of the Boston University Medical Campus, 1996-2003. He founded the Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute at the Boston University School of Medicine in 1973, serving as its Director 1973 -1992. During this time, he oversaw its rapid development into a center for pioneering research into the biological and clinical aspects of cardiovascular disease and Dr. Chobanian played a leading role in the merger of Boston City Hospital With Boston University Medical Center Hospital to create Boston Medical Center. His leadership was also instrumental in the development of the BioSquare Research Park and in Boston University Medical Center's receiving a $128 million federal grant to build a national biocontainment laboratory. Boston University recently awarded him with an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa in 2006.

In addition, some of his current and past appointments include: President Emeritus, Boston University & Dean Emeritus, Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) in 2005; University Professor, (BUSM), 1999; John I. Sandson Distinguished Professor of Health Sciences, 1993; Professor of Pharmacology (BUSM), 1975, and Professor of Medicine, (BUSM) in 1971.

Dr. Chobanian received his A.B. in 1951 from Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts in 1955. He has received numerous awards for his basic and clinical research on cardiovascular diseases. These include the First Lifetime Achievement Award in Hypertension of the American Heart Association, the Modern Medicine Award, in 1990, the Award of Merit of the American Heart Association, the Abbott Award of the American Society of Hypertension and the Freis Award of the National High Blood Pressure Education Program. He recently chaired the Seventh Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. He has published more than 250 papers and two books, and currently chairs the Publications Committee of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Additional Honors and Awards include: Annual Orator, Massachusetts Medical Society; Eastman Kodak Award of National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry; Special International Lecturer, Japanese and Canadian Hypertension Societies; Aaron Brown Lecturer, Jefferson Medical College; Election to Association of American Physicians and American Society for Clinical Investigation; Past-chairman, AHA Council for High Blood Pressure Research; Past-present, New England Cardiovascular Society; Foreign Member, Armenian National Academy of Sciences; Phi Beta Kappa; Sigma Xi, Alpha Omega Alpha; Past and current editorial board memberships include: New England Journal of Medicine, Hypertension, Journal of Hypertension, Blood Pressure, Hypertension Research, and Heart Disease.

Dr. Chobanian has been involved in several programs to improve health care in Armenia. These have included the training of Armenian physicians, nurses, and other health professionals in emergency medicine, trauma care, and health care management; development of medical residency and post-graduate educational programs in Armenia; establishment of a successful medical student elective program for US medical students to spend one to two months in Armenian hospitals and clinics; and the provision of much-needed medical equipment, supplies, and medications to Armenia. He has been elected as a Foreign Member of the Armenian National Academy of Science He is the recipient of the Gold Medal from the Yerevan Medical University. Catholicos Aram I recently bestowed the St. Mesrob-Mashtots Medal on Dr. Chobanian.

Dr. Chobanian’s current and past external committees include: Chairman, Publication Committee, Massachusetts Medical Society/New England Journal of Council on High Blood Pressure Research, AHA; Alton Ochsner Award Selection Committee; Chairman, NHLBI Joint National Committee on Evaluation & Treatment of Hypertension (JNC VII-2003 and JNC IV-1988); Member, Board of Extramural Advisors, NHLBI, 1999-2002; Member Advisory Council, NHLBI, 1992-1996, Past-chairman of: NHLBI Committeeon Hypertension and Hypercholesterolemia, Task Force on Future Direction in Hypertension Research, NHLBI Review Committee B, NHLBI Hypertension and Kidney Disease Research Task Group, NHLBI Advisory Committeeon Hypertension and Arteriosclerosis and Food and Drug Administration's Cardiorenal Advisory Committee.

His Board memberships include: Board of Trustees (Executive Committee and Strategic Planning Committee), Roger Williams Medical Center; Board of Directors of New England Healthcare Institute, Governance and Personnel Committee and Chair, Health Care Committee, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative; Board of Trustees, National Hypertension Association; Board of Directors, Armenian National Sciences and Education Fund; Fellow Trustee, Armenian Assembly of America.



Mrs. Rita S. BalianMrs. Rita S. Balian, Founder, President and CEO of the Armenian American Cultural Association, Inc.

Educator, Businesswoman, Philanthropist, Political and Humanitarian Activist, Fundraiser, Promoter of the Arts and Culture, and a Community Leader.

Rita Balian is the Founder, President and CEO of the Armenian American Cultural Association, Inc. (AACA), an independent, non-partisan, 501(c)3 US registered, tax exempt, charitable organization, established in 1995. The mission of AACA is to promote Armenian cultural, educational and scientific endeavors and to sponsor health and humanitarian assistance projects for the people of Armenia.Through AACA, Mrs. Balian established the Armenian American Wellness Center in 1997 in Yerevan, Armenia for the early detection of breast and cervical cancer, the two most deadly cancers among Armenian women. In its tenth years, the Wellness Center has screened over 80,000 patients and has saved the lives of more than 3,000 women through early detection. Additionally, the Center has now two Satellite clinics outside Yerevan.

In 1987, Rita Balian and her husband Vartkess established and continue to manage in its twentieth year the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) New York Summer Intern Program for Armenian college students from around the world, under the auspices of the AGBU President's Club, which the Balians Co-Chair. As philanthropists, Mrs. Balian and her husband have sponsored many American and Armenian educational, cultural, and charitable institutions, including the AGBU, the TCA, the Yerevan State University, the American University of Armenia, and have established the Vartkess & Rita Balian Elementary School in the village of Garbi, Armenia. In 1986, the Balians established the "Balian Press Award," given annually to Armenian journalists from around the world, who have demonstrated excellence in promoting Armenian causes.

In 1996, the UNICEF 50th Anniversary Wall Calendar featured Rita Balian's visionary project to introduce children's art to the world through the Children's Museum of Art in Armenia, which was printed for the first time in three languages and in 100,000 copies. In response to the devastating 1988 earthquake in Armenia, Mrs. Balian established a "Sister City Exchange Program" between the cities of Gyumri, Armenia and Alexandria, Virginia working with Congressman Jim Moran (then Mayor of Alexandria). She chaired the Sister City Committee for six years, organized several exchanges, and established the city's annual Armenian Day Festival.

Mrs. Balian has organized and chaired over 30 national and international events: conventions, scientific seminars, cultural, educational and medical exchanges between the US and Armenia, and political fundraising campaigns. She has raised millions of dollars for such causes. She has delivered speeches throughout the USA, Europe and Armenia, on topics including education, leadership, health and women, many of which have been published. Rita Balian received a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Psychology and Child Education from the American University of Beirut. In October, she celebrated her 45th Wedding Anniversary with Vartkess. They have two sons and four grandchildren.

In 2006, Rita Balian received the prestigious Fridtjof Nansen Gold Medal in Yerevan, Armenia and also the First Humanitarian Achievement Award from the Armenian American Medical Society of California. In 2005, The Armenian Reporter International selected her as their first Person of the Year. In 2003 and 2005, her humanitarian and philanthropic accomplishments were acknowledged in the United States Congressional Record by congressmen Frank Pallone (D-9th NJ) & James Moran. (D-8th VA) In 2003, she received the Spirit of Life Cancer Advocacy Award from the International Spirit of Life Foundation and the Washington Cancer Institute in Washington, DC. In 2003, Rita Balian received the United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) Outstanding US Citizen Achievement Award, and was declared "one of the silent heroes of America" by Frederick W. Shieck, the representative of President Bush at the USAID special ceremony.

In 2001, His Holiness, Catholicos Karekin II, bestowed upon her and her husband, Vartkess, the St. Nersess Shnorhali Medal of Honor through a Pontifical Encyclical. In 2001, on the occasion of AGBU 95th Anniversary Celebrations in New York City, AGBU declared Rita and Vartkess Balian as Honored Members for their fifty years of dedicated service to the organization.

In 1995, 2000, and again in 2001, she received three Honorary Doctoral Degrees for her humanitarian, educational and medical activities from three state universities in Armenia. In 1996, the United Nations Association honored her with a Certificate of Advocacy for Women and Children on Human Rights Day in Washington, DC. In 1995, she received the Annual Achievement Award from the Armenian International Women's Association (AIWA).




Dr. John P. BelezikianDr. John P. Bilezikian, Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, Chief, Division of Endocrinology, and Associate Chair (Education), Department of Medicine at Columbia University.

Dr. John P. Bilezikian, Dorothy L. and Daniel H. Silverberg Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University is Chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Director of the Metabolic Bone Diseases Program at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. Dr. Bilezikian received his undergraduate training at Harvard College and his medical training at the College of Physicians & Surgeons. He completed four years of house staff training (internship and residency) including the Chief Medical Residency of the Medical Service at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. Dr. Bilezikian received his training in Metabolic Bone Diseases and in Endocrinology at the NIH where he served as a Clinical Associate in the Mineral Metabolism Branch under the tutelage of Dr. Gerald Aurbach.

Dr. Bilezikian is a major national and international spokesperson for the field of metabolic bone diseases. His major research interests are related to the clinical investigation of metabolic bone diseases, particularly primary hyperparathyroidism and osteoporosis. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Physician Award of the Endocrine Society, the Frederic C. Bartter Award of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research for Excellence in Clinical Research, the John P. McGovern Compleat Physician Award of the Houston Academy of Medicine, the First Annual Global Leadership Award of the International Society of Clinical Densitometry, and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Armenian American Medical Society of California. His publications, which number over 500, speak to his active original investigative initiatives as well as his demand as an author of many reference sources of endocrinology and metabolic bone diseases.

Dr. Bilezikian belongs to a number of professional societies including the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, of which he served as President in 1995-1996 and the International Society of Clinical Densitometry, of which he served as President, 1999-2001. He is a member of the Endocrine Society, the American Federation for Clinical Research, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and the American College of Endocrinology that has designated him Master.

He served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (2000-2004). His books include Editor-in-Chief of "The Parathyroids" (1994, 2001), and co-editor of "Principles of Bone Biology" (1996, 2002), "The Aging Skeleton" (1999), and "Dynamics of Bone and Cartilage Metabolism" (1999). He has been on numerous panels, including serving as Chair of the NIH Consensus Development Panel on Optimal Calcium Intake (1994) and Co-chair of the NIH Workshop on Primary Hyperparathyroidism (2002).

Throughout the 1990s, Dr. Bilezikian was instrumental in providing preceptorials in Metabolic Bone Diseases and Osteoporosis to physicians from Yerevan, Armenia. In 2007, he initiated an Osteoporosis Diagnostic and Treatment Program at the Research Centre of Maternal and Child Health Protection in Yerevan. This program included obtaining and installing a state-of-the-art bone densitometer, formal training of over 100 physicians in Yerevan, and plans for ongoing education of these physicians. He will be returning to Yerevan this year to develop this program further. Dr. Bilezikian is a member of the International Advisory Board of the Yerevan State.




Dr. Roger V. OhanesianDr. Roger V. Ohanesian, Founder, President and Chairman of The Armenian Eye Care Project

Dr. Ohanesian is an acknowledged leader in eye surgery and presently teaches medical and surgical techniques in the United States and internationally. As the founder of Harvard Eye Associates 30 years ago, he has remained involved in the development of new procedures for a wide variety of ophthalmic conditions and shares his expertise with other eye doctors as a diagnostic and surgical consultant.

After high school, where he was an active Scout and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, Roger attended Boston University followed by four years at the University of Vermont's College of Medicine. His training continued with an internship at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, New York and at the National Institute of Health in Public Health Services in Bethesda, Maryland. Roger began his specialty training in eye surgery at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard University's Ophthalmology program.

While resident at Harvard, he met and married Eileen Smyth who was personnel supervisor of the hospital. After completing his training, they moved to a suburb of Boston relocating to California in 1975 and opened offices in Laguna Beach and San Clemente. There are presently six eye surgeons who have joined him in the practice. In 1992, during the aftermath of war and earthquake in Armenia, Roger made his first trip to Armenia and founded the Armenian EyeCare Project (AECP) in 1994. Since that first trip, Roger has returned to Armenia more than 30 times. He has brought along U.S. ophthalmologists as well as over $9 million in medical equipment. Along with performing thousands of surgeries, the American doctors have provided training to Armenian doctors, helped in the creation of the country's first Corneal Eye Bank, traveled throughout Armenia with the Mobile Eye Hospital delivering ophthalmic care, and with a substantial donation from Pfizer established a state-of-the-art Training Center with a Wet Lab. The Project has also sponsored patients to come to the United States for medical treatment as well as seven fellowships for Armenian doctors in highly specialized areas of glaucoma, vitreo-retinal diseases, corneal-uveal diseases, neuro-ophthalmology and orbital surgery, pediatric ophthalmology and low vision. Armenia is now considered the “Center of Excellence for Eye Care” in the entire region.

Dr. Ohanesian has received numerous honors and awards including The Ellis Island Award; The Humanitarian Award for Service to Armenia from the Armenian American Medical Society; an Operating Room Dedication to R.V. Ohanesian, M.D. at the Republican Eye Hospital in Yerevan; the Outstanding Service Award by the then President of Armenia, Levon Ter Petrossian; the Humanitarian of the Year Award by the Armenian Professional Society and an Outstanding Clinical Professor Award from the University of California at Irvine.

Armenia and the goals of reducing preventable blindness have become his life's work - which he pursues tirelessly.




Lord Darzi of DenhamThe Right Honourable Professor

Baron Darzi of Denham is one of the world's leading surgeons at the Imperial College London where he holds Hamlyn Chair of Surgery, specialising in the field of minimally invasive and robot-assisted surgery, having pioneered many new techniques and technologies.

Lord Darzi and his team are internationally respected for their innovative work in the advancement of minimal invasive surgery and in the development and use of allied technologies including surgical robots and image-guided surgery. They have been awarded many prizes including the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Excellence in Higher and Further Education, in recognition for their achievements in pioneering new technologies to address training requirements for surgeons. He is also a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Lord Darzi actively pursues, and relentlessly campaigns for, the need for improved inter-disciplinary research. He has published more than 500 peer review articles and 7 books.

Lord Darzi was knighted by the Queen, for his service to medicine and surgery, as a Knight Commander of the most excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) in December 2002.

Lord Darzi was introduced to the House of Lords on 19 July 2007 and appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health. On 4 July 2007, the Prime Minister and Health Secretary announced that Lord Darzi would lead a review of the NHS that would advise on how to meet the challenges of delivering health care over the next decade. Lord Darzi continues his clinical and academic contribution and is the first Minister of Health to be an active clinician while in office.



Dr. Levon NazarianDr. Levon Nazarian

Levon Nazar Nazarian was born in Englewood, New Jersey on August 15, 1961. He grew up in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, receiving his elementary education at Englewood Cliffs Public Schools. He went to Horace Mann High School in Riverdale, NY, and then Harvard College, graduating magna cum laude in 1982 with an A.B. degree in Biology. He then attended Cornell University Medical College in New York City, graduating in 1986 as a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. After an internship year in internal medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL, he completed his residency in diagnostic radiology at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, and became Board Certified in 1991 by the American Board of Radiology.

Following a fellowship in body ultrasound, CT and MR imaging at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia where he won the The Homer Mitchell Branch, Jr., M.D. Fellowship Award, he joined the faculty at Jefferson in 1992 first as an Assistant Professor, then quickly rising through the ranks to become Professor of Radiology in 2002. In 2004 he was named Vice Chairman for Education, and is currently Radiology Residency Program Director. Dr. Nazarian has been a very active researcher, and has obtained a number of grants. He has authored or co-authored 69 peer-reviewed scientific papers and 84 abstracts. His initial research centered on melanoma imaging and treatment. Subsequently, his career has focused on the use of ultrasound to diagnose and treat athletic injuries, particularly of the repetitive-use type, such as tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, and plantar fasciitis. This pioneering work has attracted considerable attention on national television and radio, in newspapers, magazines and Readers Digest Medical Breakthroughs of 2004, as well as by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Reuters news agency. Dr. Nazarian was recently featured in the cover story of the April 2009 issue of Imaging Economics magazine.

Dr. Nazarian has lectured extensively, and has given presentations at 150 scientific meetings worldwide. Dr. Nazarian is also involved extensively with editorial work. In 1999 he received the Melvin M. Figley Fellowship in Radiology Journalism from the American Roentgen Ray Society, He has served on the editorial board of numerous journals in his specialty including Radiology and American Journal of Roentgenology, and was recently named Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine, a position he will take over in January 2011.

In conjunction with his work at Thomas Jefferson University, Dr. Nazarian has been deeply involved with helping to make tremendous advances in the use of ultrasound diagnosis in Armenia, the introduction of advanced equipment there, and the training of doctors to properly diagnose patients and use this new technology. Beginning in early 1995 and working in conjunction with the Jefferson Ultrasound Research and Education Institute (JUREI) and the AGBU, Dr. Nazarian began the work that would result in the Ultrasound Training Center of Armenia, which opened in May of 2000 as part of the Yerevan State Medical University. He supervised training of doctors from Armenia at the JUREI in Philadelphia. He traveled to Armenia twice in order to establish the Ultrasound Center and oversee its training programs. The Ultrasound Center of Armenia in Yerevan, which was established with the help of Dr. Nazarian's father, Nazar Nazarian, has evolved into a full-fledged diagnostic facility catering to the medical needs of the Armenian population. It is also open to doctors and medical students from Armenia and abroad. In 2007 Dr. Nazarian joined the AGBU board of directors, following in his father's footsteps.

Dr. Nazarian has been the recipient of numerous awards. On a trip to Armenia in October 2004, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Medicine degree from Yerevan State Medical University and the Gold Medal of the University in recognition of the work he has done in establishing the Ultrasound Training Center of Armenia. He is a fellow of the American College of Radiology, the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, and the Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound. He is Chair of the American Board of Radiology written examination in ultrasound, and is also an oral board examiner for the ABR. He is listed in the 2007-2008 Edition of the "Best Doctors in America". In 2006 he received the Dean's Citation for Significant Contributions to the Advancement of Education at Jefferson Medical College, and in 1994 the Jefferson Radiology Residents presented him with the A. Edward O'Hara Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Dr. Nazarian married Claudia Joyce Pridjian on June 27, 1987. They have three teenage children, Matthew, Daniela and Gregory, and live in Cherry Hill, NJ. Claudia is the daughter of Ara and the late Anahid Pridjian. After obtaining her B.A. from the University of Illinois in 1982, Claudia received her M.B.A in 1984 from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management of Northwestern University.



Nazar NazarianNazar Nazarian

Nazar Nazarian was born on August 2, 1929 in Beirut to Levon and Satenig (nee Yegavian) Nazarian. He graduated from the American University of Beirut with a BA degree in 1949 and a BS degree in pharmacy in 1951; then entered the family textile business. He came to the United States in 1951 and established a successful textile business in New York City. Nazar married Artemis Topjian of Watertown, Massachusetts (B.A. from Boston University, 1953) in 1954. The couple is blessed with two children, Seta and Levon, and five grandchildren: William and Nicholas Albrecht; Matthew, Daniela and Gregory Nazarian. Nazar started his own textile business, eventually called Royale Linens, Inc., headquartered in Kearny, New Jersey, a manufacturer of sheets under the brand name Royale, supplying many leading retail and specialty stores in the United States; firm recognized in 2003 by Sears Roebuck as a recipient of their coveted "Partners in Progress" award. He was president and chief executive until his retirement in 2006, then sold the business to Yunis Textile of Pakistan in January 2007. Since then, the new company has become the fifth largest importer of sheets and pillowcases.


Nazar financed AGBU Hall in Saddle Brook, NJ; established a scholarship program for bringing Armenian students to The Juilliard School; sponsored Armenian orphans at Melkonian Institute in Cyprus. He was a member of AGBU of America and on its board of directors prior to becoming a member of AGBU Central Board of Directors in 1974; member of AGBU Finance Committee; former Vice President and Treasurer of AGBU Central Board of Directors (1985-2007); currently member of AGBU Council of Trustees. Nazar was a member of Board of Directors and Co-Chairman, Building Committee, St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in New Rochelle, NY. He was the founder, along with brothers Garbis and Noubar and sister Marie, of Levon and Satenig Nazarian Primary School in Beirut in 1962 in memory of their father (present enrollment of 300).

He is one of the godfathers of St. Vartan Cathedral in New York City. Diocesan Delegate 1962-65, 1967-74. In 1983, Nazar was appointed by H.H. Vazken I to a five-member Jerusalem fact-finding committee. In 1988, he established the Nazarian Family Foundation to provide scholarships, grants and internships to institutions of higher learning, charitable organizations and cultural programs in the United States. He assisted the Republic of Armenia with relief following the earthquake of 1988, through construction projects and airlifts of food, medical supplies, and textiles. Nazar is a donor, along with brothers Garbis and Noubar, of the building in the Beirut suburb named after the latter and given to AGBU for the Republic of Armenia to use as its embassy. The groundbreaking was held in 1996; official opening took place in 1998. He is the donor of Nazarian Hall in the AGBU Center of Buenos Aires, 1992.

Nazar is one of the founders of St. Thomas Armenian Church of Tenafly, NJ; was co-chairman of the Building Expansion Committee; served on the Board of Trustees and Parish Council. He was the recipient of St. Thomas Award for Service, 1985. He was a donor, together with brothers Garbis and Noubar, of the gymnasium and other facilities (AGBU Nazarian Center) at AGBU Manoogian- Demirdjian School in Canoga Park, California in 1995. He was the donor of Nazarian Activities Center at Camp Nubar, Andes, New York, with a cafeteria and sports facilities, in 1996; opened in 1997. Nazar was honored at a dinner dance held at New York Botanical Garden on October 24, 2003 in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of AGBU Camp Nubar, for his many years of dedication to the Camp. He is the donor of one of the chapels of the newly built St. Gregory Cathedral in Yerevan, named St. Dertad after Nazar's maternal grandfather.

Nazar established an ultrasound center (Ultrasound Training Center) in 2000 at Yerevan Medical School with the help of his son, Dr. Levon Nazarian, radiology professor at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA; he also provided for training of Armenian radiologists at Thomas Jefferson Hospital. He donated 12 Ultrasound machines in 2007 to state health establishments in the Republic of Armenia and the predominantly Armenian region of Javakhk in neighboring Georgia, bringing the total number of donated machines to 29, including a Cat Scanner. He underwrote the expenses of the Yerevan Summer Intern Program for 2007 and 2008. He underwrote the expenses of the toddler facility of AGBU Artemis Nazarian Preschool at AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School in Canoga Park, California (2007). Nazar Nazarian's latest project, completed in 2009, was the construction of an administration building (divanatun) in Etchmiadzin.


  • St. Gregory the Illuminator medal from Catholicos Vazken I in 1962.
  • St. Vartan Award from Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America; Armenian Church Member of the Year in 1968.
  • Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 1995.
  • Prince of Cilicia medal from Catholicos Aram I in 1998.
  • St. Gregory the Illuminator Medal - highest medal of the Armenian Church - from His Holiness Karekin I, Catholicos of All Armenians, on April 25, 1998.
  • 1700 Jubilee medal by Catholicos Karekin II for donating a chapel for St. Gregory Cathedral in Yerevan in September 2002.
  • Gold medal of Yerevan State University, 2004.
  • Mekhitar Heratsi medal from RA President Robert Kocharian on April 6, 2007.
  • Humanitarian Award from the Armenian Medical International Congress, July 4, 2009.

Mr. Nazar Nazarian is a symbol of the American Dream, a success story of one man's vision, hard work and business acumen. Inspired by his own father's philanthropy, he is a symbol of generosity, community activism, support of Armenian causes and dedicated service to many organizations at the national and international level. It is said that those who give freely and unconditionally have wealthy souls. On that account, Mr. Nazarian is a very wealthy man since his generosity is boundless. Nazar Nazarian's contributions and dedicated service are truly impressive. Yet, if asked what is most important in his life, he would probably say: his wife, Artemis’s support and encouragement, his children and grandchildren, and the collaboration with his son Dr. Levon Nazarian in establishing the Ultrasound Training Center. This unique father and son team has changed forever the lives of many patients in Armenia. Truly a service to the Motherland.




Dr. Richard BabayanDr. Richard Babayan

Dr. Babayan was recognized for his exceptional medical contributions throughout his career, including a strong commitment to addressing medical needs in Armenia.

Dr. Babayan first traveled to Armenia in 1989 as part of a medical relief effort and has been deeply involved in the Boston University - Armenia medical partnership program. For the past five years, he has served on the Advisory Board of the Yerevan State Medical University, helping to revamp the medical curriculum and academic standards for medical education in Armenia.

This is the second of three major professional awards that Dr. Babayan will receive in 2011. In May, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the American Urological Association (AUA). In November, Dr. Babayan will receive the 2011 Jack Colbert Memorial Award from the Massachusetts Prostate Cancer Coalition for significantly advancing the fight to conquer and cure prostate cancer through research and/or practice.

Dr. Babayan is Chairman of the Department of Urology at Boston University Medical Center, and has been a Full Professor there since 1991. Dr. Babayan has published over 100 articles in the medical literature, and served on the Board of Directors of the AUA from 2005 - 2009.

Dr. Babayan was Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the 6th Armenian Medical World Congress, which was held in Boston in 1995, and has been actively involved in the Armenian Medical International Committee (AMIC).

"I believe it is important to contribute to the well being of Armenia," said Dr. Babayan, whose grandfather was a member of parliament in the first republic, and whose father came to America in 1922 and always championed a free and independent Armenia.

"As a physician, I first became involved in the Armenian relief efforts after the earthquake in the late 1980s and have continued to work to raise the level of education and medical standards within the Republic of Armenia. These are slow and incremental changes and require continued input from the medical community in the diaspora. I am proud of the small contributions that I have made and hope that many others will also find a way to contribute." Dr. Babayan said.



Nazar NazarianAnnette Choolfaian, RN, MPA

Annette Choolfaian has dedicated her career to improving access to quality healthcare, both here in the U.S. and in Armenia..

Ms. Choolfaian was recognized for her distinguished health policy career that has increased healthcare access to underserved populations. Ms. Choolfaian is currently Professor and Chair of the Health Policy and Management Program at the New York Medical College School of Health Sciences and Practice.  

   Ms. Choolfaian has a broad and varied clinical, academic and executive health care background. She served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the St. Luke's /Roosevelt Hospital Center subsequent to her appointment as Assistant Vice President for Health Care Programs Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Greater New York.  Earlier she served as Associate Administrator, Community and Ambulatory Services, Long Island Jewish-Hillside Medical Center. 

Ms Choolfaian is Vice President of the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) and has developed health and social services programs in Armenia, including: 

  • a Children's Center for orphaned and abandoned street children; 
  • fellowship programs for senior members of the Ministry of Health of the Armenian Republic and Armenian Health Care Managers in order to expand their knowledge of health care delivery, financing and management; 
  • serving as a member of the international advisory committee for Yerevan State Medical University.  

Ms. Choolfaian has also been an advisor to The Armenia Fund on the development of a primary care clinic in Nagorno-Karabagh, as well as an advisor and reviewer for several USAID projects in Armenia.

"It is critical to have all professionals involved in assisting the Armenian community in the United States and in Armenia.  I am honoring the memories of my grandparents and parents by assisting in the preservation of the Armenian language, traditions and history through the establishment of a strong  and independent Armenia.  The health and welfare of the Armenian people is a requirement to reach this goal.  Special attention to the children is important; they are the future of the country," Ms Choolfaian said.



Nazar NazarianDr. Haikaz Grigorian

Dr. Haikaz Grigorian is well-known as a community leader with years of devotion to the Armenian Community and with unparalleled vision of understanding and repairing our immediate past history, the Armenian Genocide. A practicing psychiatrist and a professor of psychiatry by profession, he has contributed his professional expertise to the Armenian dispoaran experience on many levels. He has made use of every opportunity to introduce Armenian socio-cultural aspects to the world professional community.

Dr. Grigorian has many accomplishments in his profession. He maintains a Professional Practice, has been affiliated with numerous hospitals, Professor at various medical schools and a member of numerous professional organizations. Furthermore, he has been leader or director of departments in many of these institutions. His contributions extend to publications in medical journals.

He is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Special Services School District in Bergen County, NJ since 1988. He has trained psychiatrists and other mental health professionals from the US and Armenia. He participated in the White House Conference on Ethnicity and Mental Health in 1978 and was a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging in 1981.

Dr. Haikaz Grigorian has made major contributions to the Armenian community. He was the Co-founder of the Armenian Assembly of America in Washington, D.C. in 1972. He served as Co-chairman from 1972 to 1974. He was Founder of The Diaspora Foundation, Incorporated in 1985 and has been its President. The purpose of this foundation is to provide funding to conduct research on Armenians in the Diaspora. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Land and Culture Organization since 1988. Also, he has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church in Ridgefield New Jersey from 1991 to 1993. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Armenian Home for the Aged, Emerson, NJ.

Dr. Grigorian has used his training to help the Armenian community and educate the American Community about our history. He has lectured and written about the psychological sequelae of the Armenian Genocide and he introduced the concept of denial of genocide as a human rights violation. He examined and testified as an expert witness in Federal Court in Los Angeles about the effect of the Armenian Genocide on a grandchild. He has lectured and written on the Armenian Genocide at the "International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide," Tel Aviv in 1982. He is the author of a chapter entitled "Armenian Earthquake" in a book published by the American Psychiatric Association on "Natural Disasters," 1992.

Dr. Grigorian has used his professional training to assist Armenia by traveling there one month after the earthquake to study the needs of the area on behalf of the Land and Culture Organization. He is a member of the Psychiatric Outreach Program for Armenia since 1989. Also, he was Chairman of the Medical Board for AGBU Medical Outreach for Earthquake Victims from 1990 to 1991. He has lectured in New Jersey Medical Schools on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Armenian Earthquake. Recently, Haikaz Grigorian has been recognized for his achievements. In 1994 President Levon Ter-Petrosian of Armenia bestowed upon him Recognition for Humanitarian Services. Also, in 1995 he was the recipient of Recognition from the Armenian American Society for Studies on Stress and Genocide.

Dr. Haikaz Grigorian has strengthened Armenians in the Armenian and American Community.




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