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Avedisian Onanian Center for Health Services Research and Development Receives Funding from U.S. National Institutes of Health

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YEREVAN, Armenia – The Zvart Avedisian Onanian Center for Health Services Research and Development (CHSR) of the Gerald and Patricia Turpanjian School of Public Health (SPH) is pleased to share that they have received a 5-year award from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s Fogarty International Center (FIC), partnering with Emory University researchers Carla J. Berg, PhD, and Michelle C. Kegler, DrPh, both from the Rollins School of Public Health and Winship Cancer Institute (  The main purpose of the project is to establish tobacco control models in Armenia and Georgia.

Armenia and Georgia are among the countries with the highest prevalence of smoking and secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure globally. The research team will build the capacity of both countries to impact local community-driven policy change, which aims to reduce smoking and SHS exposure rates.

“Our research efforts have the potential to impact not only tobacco control, but also a range of chronic diseases and risk factors,” remarked Dr. Berg. “The U.S. has shown well-documented success in aligning local coalitions and we believe that these models can also be as effective in other countries.”

The Emory researchers will collaborate with researchers from the American University of Armenia, Armenia’s National Institute of Health, and Georgia’s National Center for Disease Control and Public Health to develop models and examine the impact and influence of local coalitions in promoting interventions for smoke-free policies and public health practices. The new models will be tested through a community randomized controlled trial. The CHSR is responsible for the design, implementation, and analysis of the coalition members’ surveys, in-depth interviews, as well as design and implementation of the policy adoption and enforcement tracking system. Dr. Arusyak Harutyunyan, CHSR Senior Researcher, is the Principal Investigator and Dr. Varduhi Petrosyan, CHSR Director, is the co-investigator.

“The various activities planned will serve as a catalyst for future research,” Dr. Kegler said. “Our partnerships in Georgia and Armenia and focus on the civil society will be instrumental in assessing and disseminating information to impact local, community-driven policy change.”

Disclaimer: Research reported in this publication is supported by the Fogarty International Center, National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01 TW010664. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

The AUA Gerald and Patricia Turpanjian School of Public Health works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of public health professionals to be leaders in public health, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.