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AUA Public Health Expert Discusses Armenia’s Health Issues on CivilNet TV

YEREVAN–The Associate Dean of AUA’s College of Health Sciences (CHS), Dr. Varduhi Petrosyan, was on Civilnet TV on January 5, discussing public health issues in a one-on-one interview on the online news channel’s Ditaket program.

Dr. Petrosyan spoke with Ditaket’s Diana Muradova about the most pressing public health issues facing Armenia, highlighting in particular the high prevalence of smoking among men and mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes.

“Armenia is similar to many high-income countries in terms of the top reasons for mortality,” according to Dr. Petrosyan, who was recently appointed to serve as an Advisor to the Prime Minister of Armenia on Health Reforms on a voluntary basis. “Over 90% of mortality in Armenia is due to non-communicable diseases including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes mellitus.”

Dr. Petrosyan, who serves as the director of AUA’s Center for Health Services Research (CHS), emphasized that preventive and primary care are important and cost-effective means to maintaining good health at a time when Armenia undergoes rapid economic and societal change.

“Economic growth population health are interrelated: economic growth leads to better health in the society and healthier people contribute more to the growing economy, explained Dr. Petrosyan. International research shows that we can reach significant decline in mortality from non-communicable diseases by promoting healthy lifestyles and preventive care methods, which are much cheaper than treating those diseases.”

During the interview, Dr. Petrosyan highlighted a number of CHS research projects focused around non-communicable and communicable diseases from tobacco control, diabetes, and preventive ophthalmology to tuberculosis control.

“We have been closely collaborating with the National Tuberculosis Control Program of the Ministry of Health, conducting research on tuberculosis (TB) and migrant workers in order to help develop evidence based policy and improve TB control measures,” explained Dr. Petrosyan. “We have also been working with TB patients and their family members, counseling them on the importance of family members’ support, the importance of completing  treatments, household infection control, and other relevant issues.”

She also detailed how the university’s graduates engage in Armenia’s public health sphere, working not only in educational and research institutes, but also in governmental and non-governmental, local and international organizations.

“There are currently 19 graduate students in the Masters of Public Health program and the admission of a new cohort is planned for the fall 2013,” said Dr. Petrosyan. “AUA’s new undergraduate programs will also engage  students as active citizens around not only public health issues but also how to protecting the health of Armenia’s environment.”

AUA’s Master of Public Health program engages professionals in transformational education and training in population-based approaches to health and health services research, delivery, management and evaluation. It offers an integrated approach to develop expertise in managing health programs, assessing the health needs of the people, and translating that knowledge into improved health by designing, implementing, and evaluating programs to meet those needs.

The American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia.  Founded in 1991, AUA is affiliated with the University of California.  Through teaching, research, and public service, AUA serves Armenia and the region by supplying high-quality, graduate and undergraduate education, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting democratic values.

The AUA is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 985 Atlantic Avenue, #100, Alameda, CA 94501, 510-748-9001.

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