LOS ANGELES – On Saturday, April 28, 2018, the Armenian American Medical Society (AAMS) and its hundreds of supporters and members came together at the Loews Hollywood Hotel to celebrate the organization’s 33 years of continued service. The annual gala paid tribute to three distinguished leaders from the healthcare community. AAMS chose to dedicate this year’s raised funds to advancing the healthcare needs of soldiers who were wounded in the Artsakh war.

AAMS Board Member and Former President Vicken Sepilian MD, FACOG, and Sideways actress Helen Kalognomos set the evening in motion as this year’s Master and Mistress of Ceremonies. Premiere soprano Anna Boyrazyan paid allegiance to the flags by proudly leading both the Armenian and English National Anthems, while His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian led the invocation and His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian delivered his congratulations. A surprise performance was in store with quick-change artists David and Dania who wowed the audience with their energetic act. The popular entertainers were contestants on America’s Got Talent and have been featured on major television shows including Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen, Big Brother, and Masters of Illusion.

“This year’s gala was a true representation of the Armenian American Medical Society’s mission and purpose,” said AAMS President Armond Kotikian, DDS, MD, FACS. “We came together not only to support our soldiers in Artsakh but to also honor the healthcare leaders of our community, in turn encouraging the next generation to continue the good work both in professional practice and global philanthropy. The AAMS is proud to celebrate 33 years of continued service to the global healthcare community.”

This year’s honorees were true exemplifiers of AAMS’ principal belief: empowering the healthcare community both near and far. Professor Ara Babloyan, MD, PhD was the recipient of the 2018 AAMS Lifetime Achievement Award. As President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia and Former Minister of Health, Professor Babloyan continues his legacy of public health expertise on a global scale.

The AAMS 2018 President’s Leadership Award co-honorees were Dr. Simon Keushkerian and Dr. Raffi R. Minasian. In addition to serving as an Associate Clinical Professor at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Dr. Keushkerian is also a general and vascular surgeon who volunteers his surgical knowhow to impoverished patients worldwide, including Armenia.

Dr. Minasian, who also received the Leadership Award, is a renowned nephrologist. He founded the Kidney Disease Medical Group, one of the largest nephrology groups in Los Angeles County. As a leader in home dialysis treatment, Dr. Minasian served on the Board of Directors of the California Dialysis Council for more than 20 years.

The 2018 AAMS Supportive Impact Award was received by the Former AAMS Ladies Auxiliary. The group was comprised of and created by the spouses of AAMS members and friends with the goal of assisting the organization’s initiatives of advancing medicine and public health. The group, which established itself as the supportive foundation of the AAMS, has successfully worked on promoting health education and charitable activities.

“It was a true honor to introduce this year’s very deserving award recipients,” said Mistress of Ceremonies Helen Kalognomos. “The Armenian American medical community is strong, and it is important to continue strengthening our legacy by recognizing those who are positively impacting healthcare,” added AAMS Board Member and Former President Vicken Sepilian MD, FACOG.

In addition, this year’s gala was dedicated to supporting the injured soldiers of Artsakh by means of the Homeland Defender’s Rehabilitation Center which recently opened at the Heratsi Hospital Complex in Yerevan. The rehabilitation facility provides vital services to soldiers who were injured while defending their country. The wounded warriors, many of whom are under the age of 21, receive physical rehabilitation services as well as emotional and social services.

During the gala, AAMS was able to connect live with soldiers at the center and Dr. Armen A. Muradyan, Rector and Professor at Yerevan State Medical University. “We are indebted to the AAMS and all of its charitable supporters for aiding the Homeland Defender’s Rehabilitation Center,” he said. “This program gives soldiers the opportunity to heal and lead productive, prosperous, and dignified lives, and the AAMS has helped us tremendously in furthering that objective.”

“The 33rd annual gala showcased the strength of our global healthcare community,” said AAMS Gala Chair Kevin Galstyan, MD, FACOG. “Each of our recipients comes from diverse backgrounds, yet they each further the purpose of our organization through their extraordinary achievements, unique areas of expertise, and noble contributions to improving healthcare worldwide. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to honor them, and to contribute to the wellbeing of our young soldiers in Artsakh who are receiving state-of-the-art care vital to the promise of their bright futures.”

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