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Post-Conflict Rehabilitation

The 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War has strained Armenia's health system with the management of thousands of wounded soldiers and refugees in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the start of the war in September 2020, our organizations have initiated various efforts including coordination of rehabilitation volunteers traveling to Armenia, donation of therapeutic supplies, clinical webinars related to treatment and assessment of war injuries, teleconsultation with in-country clinicians, and a digital resource library. In order to further advance the field and promote international collaboration, we are organizing the Post-Conflict Rehabilitation Virtual Symposium to be held on July 17th & 18th, 2021. The goals of the conference are as follows:

● To stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration among Armenian healthcare providers to address identified challenges related to post-war rehabilitation.

● Facilitate the connection of Armenian healthcare providers and international rehabilitation experts to share evidence-based treatment methodologies and build local capacity.

● Empower local rehabilitation professionals to share their expertise and experience in an international platform, bringing awareness to the unique challenges of post-war Armenia and Artsakh.

This conference will be a culmination of international experts and participants coming together for the first multidisciplinary rehabilitation conference targeting post-war injuries. We look forward to further collaboration and efforts supporting capacity-building for Armenian rehabilitation.

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Conference Agenda

17-07-2021, 18:30 - 18-07-2021, 22:15

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10:45

Post-Conflict Rehabilitation

28-10-2021, 10:45 - 28-10-2021, 10:45

10:45

Post-Conflict Rehabilitation

28-10-2021, 10:45 - 28-10-2021, 10:45

Conference Speaker

Alan C. Lee, PT, DPT, CSW, GCS, PhD

Geriatrics and Wound Management

Alan Lee, PT, PhD, DPT, is a professor at Mount Saint Mary's University in Los Angeles. Dr. Lee maintains clinical practice at Scripps Mercy Hospital, a level I trauma center, in San Diego with dual board certifications in geriatrics and wound management. Dr. Lee graduated from Duke University, completed his transitional DPT from Creighton University, and his PhD from Nova Southeastern University. He is passionate about innovative practice in physical therapy and serves as the vice president of technology SIG and the APTA’s FiRST council telehealth workgroup and past nominating committee chair of APTA Acute Care, an academy of the American Physical Therapy Association.

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Ani Yengibaryan, MA

Developmental Psychology

Ani Yengibaryan, Developmental psychologist is the founder of SoSe Psychological Service which provides psychological service to the participants of the war, the families of the victims, the disabled soldiers. She is also a psychologist of Surb Grigor Lusavorich Medical Center working with Covid-19 patients. Psychological work in this area is aimed at resolving nervous tension, anxiety, emotional tension, phobias, fears of death and many other issues.

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Armineh Babikian, MS, OTR/L

Occupational Therapy

Armineh Babikian is an occupational therapist from New York who works at YAI Premier HealthCare with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through the lifespan. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Drexel University, M.S. in Occupational Therapy from Columbia University, and will be pursuing her PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences at University of Toronto in September. Ms. Babikian is an alumna of Birthright Armenia, where she volunteered for eight months with Children of Armenia Fund as their first ever occupational therapist. She has since been involved in advocacy efforts and professional training to promote inclusion of people with disabilities in Armenian communities. In 2018, Ms. Babikian was awarded the Birthright Armenia Next Step Grant to publish the Occupational Therapy Guidebook to Inclusion- written in Armenian- which will be the first therapeutic activity book for caregivers of children with disabilities. In 2019, she founded Therapists for Armenia, a multidisciplinary network for clinicians interested in enhancing rehabilitation and disability services in Armenia through education, advocacy, and networking. Therapists for Armenia has led various professional and community initiatives, and most recently have focused their efforts on providing support to rehabilitation clinicians in Armenia working with wounded soldiers.

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Dawn Nilsen, EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Occupational Therapy

Nilsen is an occupational therapist, educator, and researcher with over 30 years of experience in the area of neurorehabilitation. She has authored or co-authored multiple peer-reviewed research publications, book chapters, and books covering various topics related to stroke rehabilitation, motor control assessment and intervention, and the use of cognitive strategies (i.e., mental practice, mirror therapy) to augment task-training interventions. She is currently serving as the Associate Director of the Programs in Occupational Therapy at Columbia University, New York City, NY.

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Hallie Zeleznik, PT, DPT

Neurologic Physical Therapy

Hallie Zeleznik, PT, DPT is the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Professional Development for UPMC Centers for Rehab Services in Pittsburgh, PA. She is a Board-Certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist with 20 years of clinical experience and specific expertise in rehabilitation in the areas of brain injury, stroke, vestibular disorders, concussion, and post-intensive care syndrome. Her professional roles involve clinical practice, program development and implementation, quality improvement, leadership, and clinical mentoring and teaching. She serves as a faculty member for UPMC Centers for Rehab Service’s Neurologic & Geriatric Residency Programs and is both a Clinical and an Adjunct Faculty member in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Physical Therapy. Hallie has served in a variety of roles for the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy including the Knowledge Translation Taskforce addressing the Clinical Practice Guideline: A Core Set of Outcome Measures for Adults with Neurologic Conditions Undergoing Physical Therapy. She has also served a 4-year term on the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties' Neurologic Specialty Council from 2017-2020. Currently, Hallie is the Co-Chair of the ANPT’s Moving Forward Knowledge Translation Taskforce and an article reviewer for the Academy of Acute Care Physical Therapy’s development of a Clinical Practice Guideline to recommend a set of core outcome measures in acute care physical therapy.

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Jennifer Thompson, MS, OTR/L

Occupational Therapy

Jennifer Thompson is a 2016 graduate of Columbia University's Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy program in New York, NY, USA. She has been working as an OT for 4 years, starting her career at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA, USA in the orthopedic, poly-trauma and surgical floors, and now currently works at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital of Cape Cod, MA, USA as an Advanced Occupational Therapy Clinician. She works with adults with varying physical and neurological conditions, though her most-served population are patients with lower extremity limb loss. Jen has developed the Inpatient Limb Loss rehabilitation program with her physical therapy, mental health and case management colleagues, as well as creating an Amputee Support Group to provide current and former patients with peer support after new limb loss. She and her treatment team were a 2020 recipient of a network-wide award for outstanding performance and excellence in patient care for their work with amputees.

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Jim Smith, PT, DPT, MA

Physiotherapy and Urgent Care

Jim Smith, PT, DPT, MA is a professor of physical therapy at Utica College, and his career has focused on acute care and hospital-based physical therapy. He has served in leadership roles in the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and APTA Acute Care; and he has been a member of the Society of Critical Care Medicine and served on National Quality Forum’s Patient Safety-Complications Steering Committee. His scholarship has focused on physical rehabilitation for those with acute and medically complex problems, and dissemination has included 55 publications (22 peer-reviewed) and more than 100 presentations at rehabilitation and scientific conferences and workshops.

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Karen Aranha, PhD, OT

Occupational Therapy

Karen Aranha, Ph.D., OT, has a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy, a Master of Science in Health Exercise and Sports Sciences, in the biomechanics track, and a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies with a specialization in gerontology and human agency of the older adult. She has 23 years of clinical experience and has been teaching for the past 7 years. As a clinician, she has worked with people across the life span, with a primary focus on older adults and Neurorehabilitation. Her research is focused on postural control, neuroplasticity, and the use of yoga in neurorehabilitation, the rights and rehabilitation need of persons with disabilities and the disadvantaged, particularly in the global south and promoting OT in community health and global health. She has worked with Frontera de Salud and taken students on interdisciplinary medical humanity trips to the US/Mexico border towns, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.

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Liana Aghajanyan, MD

Physical Therapy

Liana Aghajanyan is a Medical Doctor in field of physical medicine and rehabilitation. She is a head of the Clinical Rehabilitation department in Arabkir JMC, which carries out inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation treatment for children, adolescents with physical and other developmental problems. She is also a consultant of the Ministry of Health in pediatric rehabilitation field. Prior to moving to the pediatric rehabilitation, she worked in Post-Trauma rehab center for adults with spinal cord injury, as a head of education department, she is implementing a 9-month training program for nurses “Management for Spinal cord injury patients ”. She studyed Maitland Manual therapy concept\/mobilization and manipulative therapy in Finland and Greece (3 levels). In the post-war period , Dr. Liana Aghajanyan with her team, on a voluntary basis, took an active part in the rehabilitation treatment of wounded soldiers. Later, \"Arabkir\" JMC, expanding its rehabilitation service, opened a rehabilitation department for adults, for wounded soldiers, which is now headed by Dr. Aghajanyan.

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Lusine Karapetyan, BS, DPT, MSHA

Physical Therapy

Lusine Karapetyan is board certified physical therapist who received a clinical doctorate from Western University of Health Sciences in 2007. She has practiced and has clinical knowledge , experience in the inpatient hospital setting, outpatient setting as well as skilled nursing. Dr. Karapetyan is currently working as an instructor for physical therapy assistant students providing them the skills that are needed to progress through the program and reach the overall goal of becoming physical therapist assistant. At the start and throughout the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War, Dr. Karapetyan started working with Therapists for Armenia to provide resources and guidance to help the clinicians in Armenia to treat and address the functional deficits in the patients.

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Mary Hudson-McKinney, PT, DPT, NCS

Physical Therapy

Mary Hudson-McKinney received her BS degree in Health Science and Physical Therapy from California State University, Northridge in 1983. She then went on to earn her Advanced Masters of Science with a Neurologic Residency Program and Clinical Doctorate degree in Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy from University of Southern California. She is currently working on her EdD degree from A.T. Stills University. Dr. Hudson-McKinney has been a practicing physical therapist for over 30 years. She is well respected for providing evidence-based and clinically relevant interventions for adults with a variety of neurologic diagnoses. Dr. Hudson-McKinney is a board certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist for the past 24 years.  Dr. Hudson-McKinney’s scholarly achievements include multiple peer reviewed journal publications and presentations. Current topics of research include use of novel exercise programs in individuals with neurologic conditions, fall prevention in community-dwelling older adults, and inter-professional education and training.

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Melanie Levasseur, OT, PhD

Occupational Therapy

Mélanie Levasseur is an occupational therapist, director of research and full professor at the School of Rehabilitation of the Université de Sherbrooke, and a researcher at the Research Centre on Aging, Eastern Townships Integrated University Centre for Health & Social Services—Sherbrooke Hospital University Centre. She holds a doctorate in clinical sciences from the Université de Sherbrooke and also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in health promotion at the Institut de recherche en santé publique of the Université de Montréal. During this fellowship, one of her interests was health literacy. A new investigator at the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR; 2015-22), she also has a senior salary award from the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (2021-25). Funded by a Foundation scheme grant from the CIHR, her research program targets the development and evaluation of a continuum of innovative interventions to promote the social participation of older adults, including Lifestyle Redesign® (programme Remodeler sa vie) and Personalized citizen assistance for social participation (APIC).

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Melissa Johnson, PT, DPT

Wound Management and Physical Therapy

Melissa Johnson PT DPT CWS has over 21 years of experience in all settings of practice performing wound management specifically acute care and outpatient physical therapy since 2000. Since 2006 she has worked for Piedmont Healthcare as the Director of Wound Care and Hyperbaric Services for various hospitals within the system. Dr Johnson sits on multiple system leadership committees that enhance quality and standardization within the Piedmont System. She is a Certified Wound Specialists through the American Board of Wound Management since 2004. She has held various leadership positions within the ACEWM and Wound Management Special Interest Group of the American Physical Therapy Association advocating for wound care practice. She is currently the Chair for the Wound Management Special Interest group for the Academy of Clinical Electrophysiology and Wound Management for APTA. Over the past 10 years she participated on the task force for the development of a clinical specialty of wound management approved by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists in 2019. She has been an adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University since 2009. Currently is a member of the Alliance of Wound Care Stakeholders and Federal Affairs Liaison for the ACEWM.

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Michel D. Landry, PT, MBA, PhD

Physical Therapy

Michel D. Landry is a Professor in the School of Medicine, the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI), and the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina (USA). Dr. Landry spent several years as Division Chief of the Duke Doctor of Physical Therapy Division where he successfully led an important rebuilding of the program that has now grown into one of the top physical therapy programs in the United States. Prior to completing his doctoral and post-doctoral training, he held senior clinical management positions within the private rehabilitation sector in Ontario (Canada), and leadership positions within international humanitarian aid and development agencies in conflict and disaster settings. Dr. Landry is a health policy and health services researcher, where his area of study is the policy implications of the gap between available supply (financial and human resources) and increasing demand for rehabilitation and health services across the continuum of care. He is a Past-President of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, a former Career Scientist at the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) and has been a consultant to many global multilateral agencies including the World Health Organization. Mike lectures widely on the policy and political dynamics of rehabilitation and is a provocative and disruptive advocate for the moral, ethical and economic necessity to ensure rehabilitation services across the continuum of high, middle, and low-income countries.

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Michelle Sawtelle, PT, PhD, NCS

Physical Therapy

Michelle Sawtelle received a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at Austin, a Master of Physical Therapy degree from The University of Texas Medical Branch and a PhD in Physical Therapy from Texas Woman’s University in the USA. Dr. Sawtelle is a Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy granted by the American Physical Therapy Association. Her research focuses on task-specific training mechanisms and biomechanical analyses of individuals with neurologic movement disorders. She has presented in both virtual and in-person formats at a variety of conferences within the USA and serves as the Stroke Special Interest Group (SIG) Secretary for the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy. Dr. Sawtelle works as an Assistant Professor at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in Austin, TX, USA, teaching in the entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Her current teaching responsibilities within the program include Evidence in Neurologic Intervention, Biomechanics, Movement Science, and Biophysical agents emphasizing functional electrical stimulation.

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Nairi Adesyan, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech and Language Therapy

Nayiri Adessian earned her M.S. Communication Disorders and Sciences from California State University, Northridge. She currently works as a speech-language pathologist at the West Los Angeles Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center and sees clients with neurogenic communication disorders including dysphagia, voice, articulation, fluency and cognition. Mrs. Adessian has a special interest in working with people with aphasia and traumatic brain injuries

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Nathalie Halajian, MS, CF-SLP

Speech and Language Therapy

Nathalie Halajian is a trilingual speech-language pathologist who is fluent in English, Russian, and Armenian. She is based in Los Angeles and currently works at the West LA Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Her primary interests include working with Veterans who have neurogenic communication disorders and swallowing disorders. She believes in highlighting patients strengths and having them be actively involved in the therapy process. Nathalie is sincerely awaiting the day that she can serve the Veteran population in Armenia.

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Nicholas Tavoukjian, MS, ATC

Sports Medicine

Nicholas Tavoukjian is a certified athletic trainer and strength coach with 9 years of interdisciplinary clinical experience in various sports medicine and rehabilitation settings. Mr. Tavoukjian is currently a PhD student at Azusa Pacific University, studying Rehabilitation and Movement Science. He received a Master of Science degree in Athletic Training from Azusa Pacific University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from the University of California, Irvine. His clinical interests include concussion management, developmental kinesiology, and sports medicine related to tactical, combat sport, and youth populations. Mr. Tavoukjian is the founder and chief executive officer of the Armenian American Sports Medicine Coalition (AASMC). Through the AASMC, he volunteers his time to help advance sports medicine and rehabilitation education in Armenia through continuing education events and health system strengthening projects.

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Oshin Vartanian, PhD

Cognitive Neuroscience

Oshin Vartanian, cognitive neuroscientist, is a Defence Scientist at Defence Research and Development Canada, Toronto Research Centre, an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto—Scarborough, and a cross-appointed Graduate Faculty member at the University of Toronto. He is the co-editor of Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts (American Psychological Association), past-Editor of Empirical Studies of the Art (SAGE), and serves on the editorial boards of Creativity Research Journal (Taylor & Francis) and Thinking Skills and Creativity (Elsevier). His co-edited volumes include Neuroaesthetics (2009, Baywood Publishing Company), Neuroscience of Decision making (2011, Psychology Press), Neuroscience of Creativity  (2013, The MIT Press), and The  Cambridge Handbook of the Neuroscience of Creativity  (2018, Cambridge University Press). He is the recipient of the Daniel E. Berlyne Award from the APA's Division 10 (Society for the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts) in recognition of outstanding research by a junior scholar for his work on the neuroscience of aesthetics and creativity. His research focuses on the effects of various operational stressors on the health, wellbeing and performance of military personnel.

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Patricia Larkin Upton, PT, DPT, MS

Physical Therapy and Wound Management

Patricia Larkin-Upton , PT, DPT, MS is a  Board Certified Wound Specialist; Certified Exercise Expert for the Aging Adult; Certified Clinical Instructor.  She graduated with her Master's Degrees in Science and Physical Therapy in June 1989 from Springfield College and her Doctorate of Physical Therapy with Distinction from Arcadia University in Jan 2012. Her doctoral thesis was “Limb Salvage in Medically Compromised Patients Using Short Wave Diathermy: A Case Report”. She is a Board Certified Wound Specialist and has developed and presented many courses nationally on skin and wounds. Patricia has worked for Genesis Rehabilitation Services for the past 21 years, now serving as a Clinical Director supporting clinical and regulatory practice for the company, including developing resources and educations on pain, skin, and wounds, as well as consulting. Prior to that she worked over 11 years in various other settings. Dr. Larkin-Upton is a member of multiple Physical Therapy and wound management organizations including APTA, APTA-NH as treasurer, Academy of Clinical Electrophysiology and Wound Management, the APTA Wound Management-SIG as vice chair, the American Board of Wound Management, and the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care. Dr. Larkin-Upton has a passion for healing the whole person in wound management and is cognizant of the importance of the inter professional team model.

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Peter Skelton, PT, MSc

Rehabilitation

Peter Skelton is Rehabilitation in Emergencies focal point with WHO. A physiotherapist specializing in major trauma, he previously worked as rehabilitation lead of the UK Emergency Medical Team and Humanitarian Advisor for a number of INGOs. Since responding to the Haiti earthquake in 2010, Pete has been involved as team lead or rehabilitation response lead in emergencies including conflicts, displacements, earthquakes and cyclones, on missions ranging from a few short weeks to over a year. He is also the author of a number of clinical and operational guidelines on rehabilitation in emergencies. In February 2020 he was deployed to Armenia to provide technical advice on the post conflict rehabilitation needs.

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Taline Boroyan, MS, OTR/L

Occupational Therapy

Taline Boroyan, MS OTRL, has been an Occupational Therapist for 6 years. She works at Boston Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts and her experience has primarily been in acute care. BMC is an acute trauma hospital that serves an underserved population, including those with mental illness and substance use disorders, homelessness, those experiencing poverty, and refugees and immigrants. She enjoys helping these populations that have the most need for excellent medical care. Her special interests in Occupational Therapy include Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, and Spinal Cord Injury. She is also a Certified Dementia Specialist.

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