Therapists for Armenia and the Armenian American Sports Medicine Coalition in collaboration with the International Center for Professional Development (ICPD) presented a Virtual Symposium on Post-Conflict Rehabilitation on July 17-18.
This symposium was designed for physical therapists/assistants, occupational therapists/assistants, speech language pathologists, physiatrists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and family physicians to stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration among these healthcare providers and address identified challenges related to post-conflict rehabilitation. The theme of the event was “Resilience, growth, and adaptation in the face of adversity.” The symposium aimed to link Armenian healthcare providers with international colleagues, share evidence-based treatment methodologies, build on local capacity and amplify Armenian experiences on an international platform. The ultimate goal of the event, however, was to bring awareness to post-war challenges in Armenia and Artsakh and provide effective care to the injured.
This virtual two half-day symposium required pre-registration and was free for participants in Armenia, Artsakh, and Lebanon. Other international clinicians and trainees provided a nominal fee, with proceeds supporting the missions of Therapists for Armenia and the Armenian American Sports Medicine Coalition.
Key attendance statistics for the symposium are as follows:
July 17: 431 attendees from 6 countries – Armenia (400), Artsakh (2), USA (17), Belize (2), Lebanon (9), and Canada (1) – 9 presentations with a focus on clinical assessment and intervention.
July 18: 374 attendees from 7 countries – Armenia (347), Artsakh (2), USA (16), Belize (2), Lebanon (5), Iran (1), and Canada (1) – 8 presentations with a focus on community reintegration.
In the framework of the symposium, leading Armenian and international professionals from World Health Organization (WHO), American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), Duke University, Columbia University, and other institutions shared their experiences in rehabilitation science and practice. The symposium was chaired by V. Armineh Babikian, occupational therapist and executive director of Therapists for Armenia, who also moderated the event alongside Lusine Karapetyan, physical therapist and board member of Therapists for Armenia. Babikian and Nicholas Tavoukjian, CEO of the Armenian American Sports Medicine Coalition, delivered the opening remarks, welcoming all and thanking those who were instrumental in organizing the symposium. Keynote speakers, Peter Skelton from WHO and Dr. Michel Landry from Duke University led the symposium themes with presentations about the importance of rehabilitation in emergency settings and rehabilitation through the continuum of care. Each day concluded with a panel discussion with specialists from different fields, fostering interesting questions and discussion amongst both presenters and participants.
The International Center for Professional Development provided Armenian continuing medical education credits to participants. The lectures and related resources will be available on the ICPD website as well as the Therapists for Armenia website for participants and healthcare professionals; those interested can create a free account to access the materials anytime.
The event was very well received by both participants and speakers. One of the attendees stated, “More similar conferences would be extremely helpful” and another attendee said, “Thank you for the informative conference. I hope that there will be peace in the world and we will not have the need for such discussions. Thanks again.” Babikian noted, “Many participants requested additional information and sequential conferences to build on the presented topics. The content was much needed and filled a gap, as was evident by the overwhelmingly positive response.” Tavoukjian added, “This symposium is a glimpse into what is to come as our organizations continue to invest in people through educational exchange, capacity building, and active engagement with our colleagues in Armenia, Artsakh, and throughout the diaspora,” as the event closed out with co-hosts highlighting the opportunity to collectively lift Armenia to become a regional leader in rehabilitation.
The organizers are grateful to the following organizations for sponsoring the symposium: Fund For Armenian Relief, Armenian American Medical Association of Boston, Armenian American Medical Society, Hayastan All Armenian Fund, Armenian American Health Professionals Organization, and Armenian Healthcare Association of the Bay Area.
The International Center for Professional Development (ICPD) was formed with the vision of making Armenia a regional hub in healthcare science and technology. The goal of the organization is to provide resources to continuously improve knowledge and experience in the field of healthcare for practitioners, health science professionals and biomedical technology experts. The Center was created by collaborative efforts of Drs. Rafi Avitsian, Ara Babloyan, Gevorg Yaghjyan and Ara Nazarian actively supported by a dedicated staff in Armenia.
The mission of Therapists for Armenia is to advance the fields of occupational, physical, and speech therapy through educational outreach, collaboration, and advocacy; to promote accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities; and to foster well being through a synergy of services, supports, and resources within Armenian communities. Since the formation in 2019, Therapists for Armenia has grown into a grassroots organization providing educational, community, and clinical resources for Armenians worldwide.
The mission of the Armenian American Sports Medicine Coalition (AASMC) is twofold, with operations in Armenia and within our Armenian-American communities. In Armenia, the AASMC works with Armenian professionals to advance the fields of sports medicine and rehabilitation by promoting high standards of education, clinical competency, and leadership. The AASMC advocates for safe athletic participation within the Armenian-American community by creating a network of sports medicine professionals supporting athlete health and wellness, while fostering the development of future Armenian-American clinicians.