NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — As the Armenian EyeCare Project (AECP) enters its 25th year of providing quality eye care to Armenia, the organization announced its newest board members who will help facilitate the organization’s success for many years to come.
Dr. Khodam Rostomian, Michael Sahakian and Alexis Gevorgian joined the Board of Directors for the Armenian EyeCare Project late last year and each will bring their professional expertise as well as their personal dedication to fulfill the organization’s lifelong mission of eliminating preventable blindness in Armenia and providing quality eye care for every Armenian in need.
“The Armenian EyeCare Project is very near and dear to my heart,” Rostomian, an ophthalmologist at Kaiser Permanente in Lancaster, said. Rostomian’s history with the AECP goes back to 1995, when the doctor joined the organization’s Medical Mission to Armenia, then as a junior medical resident.
Appropriately, it is Rostomian’s early educational experience with the AECP that inspires him to further develop that section of the organization, be it through encouraging students abroad to visit Armenia with the group and learn more about ophthalmology or by providing quality medical training to doctors in Armenia so they can care for patients at the same level as physicians in the U.S.
“I love that our mission goes beyond just charity,” Rostomian said. “Our goal is to establish an infrastructure in Armenia so that the doctors there can be self-sustaining and be able to provide care even without us.”
Dr. Rostomian, who also sits on the Board of Directors at Southern California Permanente Medical Group, intends to share his 20 years of experience working with large patient populations at Kaiser Permanente with the AECP so the organization can benefit from this knowledge and build its capacity capability to treat even more patients in Armenia.
Sahakian also joins the Board of Directors at the Armenian EyeCare Project and said his respect for the organization grows with each visit to Armenia.
“As I spend more time in Armenia, I find real value in the Project,” Sahakian, a business consultant and owner of MISHO Consulting, said. “It touches me when they save the sight of so many Armenians, especially of children and the elderly who can’t afford care on their own.”
Gevorgian, the organization’s third new board member, echoes these sentiments.
“Giving back to the community has always been important to me and the Armenian EyeCare Project is known for its professionalism and legitimacy,” Gevorgian, a real estate developer who runs the land development company AMG & Associates, said. “Anything I can do to help the underserved population in Armenia is time well spent.”
Gevorgian adds that he hopes to add value to the AECP in its finances and operations, which is where his expertise lies.
Rostomian, Sahakian, and Gevorgian join the Armenian EyeCare Project’s Board of Directors as the organization begins its 25th anniversary year. The AECP will celebrate 25 years of service to Armenia by hosting several activities throughout the year — a special Mission Trip to Armenia in July with the organization that’s open to all its friends and supporters and a 25th Anniversary Gala in November, which will be the organization’s biggest Gala yet.
“I think the EyeCare Project’s 25th Anniversary is a testament to the fact that our mission is based on a solid foundation,” Rostomian said. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t be around for 25 years and we wouldn’t be thriving like we are today.”
Since 1992, the Armenian EyeCare Project has developed several sight-saving programs in Armenia, including eight subspecialty eye clinics in Yerevan; a Mobile Eye Hospital that travels throughout Armenia to treat patients unable to travel to the capital; a Center of Excellence for the Prevention of Childhood Blindness specializing in infants and children; and — its biggest project yet — five Regional Eye Clinics in five different provinces in Armenia so those living far from the capital can still receive quality eye care. To date, the organization has treated over 600,000 patients in Armenia and performed more than 20,000 surgeries.
Rostomian, Sahakian and Gevorgian will join the project’s current board members: David Keligian, Meredith Khachigian, Jack McHale, Archie Cholakian, Dr. Barry Kuppermann, Dr. Richard Hill and Dr. Roger Ohanesian.
“The EyeCare Project is thrilled with the new energy that these committed Armenians bring to our Board,” Ohanesian said. “Since our inception, our board members have assisted us greatly in policy decisions as well as fund raising. We could not function without their considered direction when making difficult decisions. I would like to thank these new members as well as those I still call upon for advice from time to time.”