We are proud to say that FAR’s Continuing Medical Education program was recently highlighted in the Journal of European CME(JECME), in an article written by FAR’s Healthcare Program Manager Dr. Hambardzum Simonyan and CME founders Dr. Sharon Anoush Chekijian and Dr. Gevorg Yaghjyan. The article’s publication is also well-timed as 2020 marks 15 years of CME.
Started by FAR back in 2005, CME aimed to fill the gaps in healthcare left by the Soviet Union’s collapse, many of which are still present today, particularly in Armenia’s rural areas where doctors have poor access to resources and are typically isolated from changes in the medical field.
The article, A Post-Soviet Republic in Transition: A Novel Amplification Programme to Address the Crisis of Continuing Medical Education and Challenges Facing Regional Physicians in the Republic of Armenia, describes how FAR has helped to combat these changes over time, thus making positive strides in Armenia’s healthcare field.
Armenia previously boasted one of the most highly developed healthcare systems in the Soviet Union with a population that had an access to free medical assistance regardless of social status. However, after the Soviet collapse in 1991 and during the nation’s transition to independence, its healthcare system has faced many challenges. Medical education and trainings also became more expensive and less accessible. As a result, a knowledge gap developed for many doctors in remote and rural areas, negatively affecting the population’s health outcomes in the long run.
FAR first provided support to the medical field with the establishment of its Medical Fellowship Program in the early 1990s. Over the next decade, 96 young Armenian physicians would attend trainings at leading North American medical schools and eventually became the first instructors for CME. A “train the trainer” model was employed to amplify within Armenia the knowledge they had gained abroad.
Since 2005, the CME program has trained about 1,500 regional physicians from Armenia and Artsakh. (CME became open to Artsakh physicians in 2017.)
In 2017, the program received accreditation from the National Institute of Health, meaning
that each participant receives 93 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits upon course completion.
“This program was a breakthrough in the continuous professional development initiatives of our country,” said Dr. Simonyan. “Since 2005, these initiatives have become even more important thanks to various conferences, courses and practical workshops. Moreover, it also promoted the re-establishment of professional communication and networking between doctors from the regions of Armenia, Artsakh and Yerevan as well as in the diaspora, which was almost non-existent after the Soviet collapse. The program is always at the forefront of all innovative approaches in line with the lawsand needs of the country.”