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Recognizing the outstanding commitment of healthcare professionals in Armenia, the International Center for Professional Development (ICPD) proudly announces the 2nd Dr. Raffy Hovanessian International Medical Conference on Pediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Dr. Hovanessian, renowned for his 40-year dedication to healthcare, both through his private practice in Northwest Indiana and as a proactive member of the Fund for Armenia Relief and the Armenian American Health Professionals Organization (AAHPO), epitomizes the spirit of relentless pursuit of medical education. 

Join us as we strive to enhance the knowledge and experience in the realm of healthcare through this groundbreaking conference!

Conference Chair:

Mikael Petrosyan, MD, Children’s National Hospital, Washington DC, USA

Keynote Speaker: 

Todd A. Ponsky, MD, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, USA

Target Audience: 

Gastroenterologists, Hepatologists, Colorectal Surgeons, Endoscopists, Pediatricians, Pediatric Surgeons, General Surgeons, Family Physicians, Infectious Diseases Specialists, Anesthesiologists, Digestive and Metabolic Diseases Specialists, Nutritionists, Emergency Specialists, Intensivists, Oncologists, Pathologists, Diagnostic Imaging Specialists, Diagnostic Laboratory Specialists, Endocrinologists

Official Language:

English with simultaneous interpretation into Armenian


December 15 and 16, 2023


8 hours

Registration is required!

Register now


15-12-2023, 16:00 - 16-12-2023, 20:00

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Organizing/Scientific Committee

Dr. Mikael Petrosyan, MD, MBA

General Pediatric and Thoracic Surgery

Dr. Mikael Petrosyan, MD, MBA, specializes in general pediatric and thoracic surgery with a special interest in advanced minimally invasive and endoscopic surgeries in infants, children, and adolescents for many pediatric surgical conditions. He is a Vice Chief of Division of Pediatric Surgery and Program director for Pediatric Surgery Training.

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Dr. AeRang Kim, PhD, MD


AeRang Kim, PhD, MD, is an oncologist, a member of the solid tumor faculty at Children’s National Hospital and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics. Dr. Kim's specializes in sarcomas and developmental therapeutics. Her research focuses on development of novel therapeutics for pediatric cancer including pre-clinical testing of novel agents, pharmacokinetic analysis, developing innovative methods for toxicity monitoring and clinical trial design. She serves as the principal investigator of multiple early phase trials in pediatric oncology, sarcomas and NF1 associated tumors.

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Dr. Anthony Sandler, MD

Pediatric Surgery

Anthony Sandler, MD, is the Senior Vice President and Surgeon-in-Chief of the Joseph E. Robert Jr., Center for Surgical Care at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. He is the Diane and Norman Bernstein Chair in Pediatric Surgery and a Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at George Washington University. He is also principal investigator in the Immunology Initiative of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. Dr. Sandler's research interests include tumor immunology and tumor vaccine therapy, as well as the application of novel devices and technologies in surgical practice. Dr. Sandler is internationally known for his work on childhood solid tumors and operative repair of certain congenital anomalies. He has served on multiple committees for the American Association of Pediatric Surgery and has also served on several committees of the Children’s Oncology Group. He is currently on the Board of Examiners for the Pediatric Surgery Qualifying examination. Dr. Sandler’s research interests focus on solid tumors of childhood, in which his current research in tumor immunology investigates immunotherapeutic vaccine strategies. He has co-developed a surgical polymer sealant that is funded by the NIH and is currently in pre-clinical trials. Dr. Sandler has over 100 peer-reviewed publications in clinical and scientific medical journals.

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Dr. Bhupender Yadav, MD

Pediatric interventional radiology

Bhupender Yadav, MD is a board-certified pediatric interventional radiologist. He is practicing at the Diagnostic Imaging and specializing in Pediatric Interventional Radiology, and Vascular Anomalies Clinic departments of Children's National. Dr. Yadav completed his medical education at the Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College in 2000. His dedication to furthering his expertise led him to pursue a residency in Diagnostic Radiology at George Washington University Hospital. He completed fellowships at both the George Washington University Hospital and the Children's National Medical Center in 2009, specializing in Interventional Neuroradiology.

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Dr. Claudio Iglesias, MD

Pediatric Gastroenterology and Endscopy

Dr. Claudio Iglesias, MD, is a specialist in Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Pediatric Nutrition based in Uruguay. He holds a Doctor of Medicine degree and specialized in Pediatrics, Nutrition, and Digestive Health, earning his degrees at the Faculty of Medicine, University of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay. Dr. Iglesias pursued further expertise, achieving the title of Specialist in Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, along with Diplomas in Digestive Endoscopy and Pediatric Digestive Endoscopy. His Master's degree in Nutrition he obtained at the University of Granada. Dr. Iglesias has contributed significantly to medical education as an Adjunct Professor at the Pediatric Clinic C, Faculty of Medicine, University of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay. Dr. Iglesias has served as the Director-Chief of the Pediatric Gastroenterology and Digestive Endoscopy Service at the Pediatric Hospital-Centro Hospitalario Pereira Rossell in Montevideo, Uruguay. He also co-directs the Center for Pediatric Digestive Diseases at Hospital Italiano Umberto I in Montevideo. Dr. Iglesias is the President of the Uruguayan Association of Gastroenterology and Endoscopy, Chairman of the Pediatric Digestive Endoscopy Committee in the Inter-American Society of Digestive Endoscopy SIED, and Co-Director of the LASPGHAN Pediatric Digestive Endoscopy Working Group.

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Dr. Hyojeong Han, MD

Pediatric Hematology Oncology

Hyojeong Han, MD is a highly esteemed professional in the realms of Pediatric Hematology Oncology and Blood Banking and Transfusion Medicine. She completed a Fellowship in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at Texas Children's Hospital and in Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, further augmenting her knowledge and skills in the care of young patients with blood disorders and cancers. Her residency in Pediatrics at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh/UPMC Health System provided her with a strong foundation in the holistic care of children and adolescents. Dr. Han earned her Medical Degree from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, laying the groundwork for her future achievements and contributions to the field of medicine. She is certified by the American Board of Pathology and the American Board of Pediatrics.

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Dr. Jeffrey Lukish, MD

Pediatric Surgery and Oncology

Jeffrey Lukish, MD graduated from the United States Naval Academy with merit. He attended Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia where he graduated in 1991. He completed his internship and residency in general surgery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and his pediatric surgery fellowship at Children’s National. As a staff pediatric surgeon, he was assigned to Walter Reed Army and National Naval Medical Centers where he became the division chief of pediatric surgery in 2005. He retired from the military in 2010 and joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins until 2018 when he joined the faculty at Children’s National. He holds academic appointments as a Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics from the Uniformed Services University and Associate Professor of Surgery at George Washington University. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and is a member of several prominent professional societies, including the American Pediatric Surgical Society, the International Pediatric Endosurgery Group and the Pediatric Cancer Oncology Group.

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Dr. Juan Gurria, MD, MSc

Pediatric Surgery

Juan Pablo Gurria, MD, MSc, is a Pediatric Surgeon specializing in surgical critical care, with a particular focus on trauma and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). His subspecialty surgical expertise includes the comprehensive surgical and multidisciplinary care of patients with neuroblastoma tumors, pancreatic surgery including tumors and patients with acute and chronic pancreatitis requiring total pancreatectomy with islet auto transplantation (TPIAT), congenital hyperinsulinism (CHI) and minimally invasive robotic surgery. Dr. Gurria is the Director of Surgical Critical Care in the Division of General and Thoracic Pediatric Surgery at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine and Science. Dr. Gurria has garnered extensive international experience, having trained in Mexico, Spain, and the United States. His triple-board certification in General Surgery, Surgical Critical Care, and Pediatric Surgery, coupled with additional training in Pediatric Trauma Surgery and ECMO, demonstrates his exceptional proficiency and dedication to providing holistic patient care.

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Dr. Kelsey Donoho, MD


Kelsey Donoho, MD, is an accomplished Neonatologist with extensive experience in pediatric care. She obtained her medical degree from the University of California, Irvine in 2014. Following this, Dr. Donoho completed her pediatric residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles in 2017 and subsequently pursued a fellowship in neonatal-perinatal medicine at Los Angeles County University of Southern California Medical Center, graduating in 2020 as the chief fellow. Dr. Donoho is now an attending physician in the Children's National Division of Neonatology. She rotates in both the Children’s National and George Washington University Hospital neonatal intensive care units. With board certifications from the American Board of Pediatrics in 2017 and 2022, Dr. Donoho has exhibited a dedication to professional excellence. Fluent in English, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her field, ensuring the highest standard of care for her young patients.

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Dr. Kibilery Williams, MD

Ppediatric Surgery

Dr. Kibilery Williams, MD, is an attending surgeon at Children’s National Hospital. She completed at Howard University Hospital. She spent time away from residency pursuing a Master of Science degree in Health Services and Outcomes Research at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine as well as a pediatric surgery clinical outcomes research fellowship at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. She has authored several peer-reviewed publications and has special interests in minimally invasive general and thoracic surgery, antibiotic stewardship, and standardization of care. Her career aspirations include global outreach, particularly as it relates to systems improvement in Guyana and the Caribbean at large.

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Dr. Manuel Torres, MD

Pediatric General Surgery

Manuel Torres, MD is specialized in Pediatric General Surgery. He completed his undergraduate studies and earned his Medical Degree at the University of California Los Angeles. Dr. Torres pursued a residency in General Surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center and completed a fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2009. He is a board-certified surgeon, holding certifications in Pediatric Surgery from the American Board of Surgery and Cardiothoracic Surgery.

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Dr. Nada Yazigi, MD

Pediatric Gastroenterology

Nada Yazigi, MD, is a certified pediatric gastroenterologist specializing in transplant medicine. She is dedicated to treating young patients with liver and intestinal disorders, both pre and post-transplant, at The Transplant Center for Children, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Dr. Yazigi's passion for transplantation stems from its constant intellectual challenges and she is committed to the holistic approach to patient care, involving families in treatment decisions. Her involvement in clinical and translational research focuses on improving liver and intestinal transplant outcomes. Dr. Yazigi is an active member of several professional organizations, including the American Society of Transplantation and the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

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Dr. Ricardo Superina, MD

Pediatric surgery

Ricardo Superina, MD is a world-renowned authority in the field of pediatric liver, kidney and intestinal transplantation and an internationally recognized expert in the surgical treatment of complex hepatobiliary conditions, pancreatic disease and endocrine tumors. He is the Division Head of Transplant Surgery and Co-Director of the Siragusa Transplantation Center at Lurie Children's. With the prestigious Robert E. Schneider Chair in Transplantation and the title of Professor of Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Dr. Superina's impact in the field extends beyond clinical practice. His extensive expertise in pediatric transplantation, including the meso-rex bypass procedure, has garnered international recognition, with more than 200 successful procedures performed — the largest pediatric case series in the world. His clinical interests span a wide range of areas, including liver transplantation, biliary atresia, portal vein thrombosis, intestinal transplantation, pancreatic surgery, Whipple procedure, meso-rex bypass, Abernethy malformation (congenital extrahepatic portosystemic shunt). Education & Training: McGill University Faculty of Medicine, Quebec, Canada,; Fellowships in transplantation at John Radcliffe Hospital, England, and pediatric surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada; Residency in general surgery at Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal; Internship at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia. Board Certifications: General Surgery, Pediatric Surgery.

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Dr. Tatevik Shahinyan, MD, PhD

Pediatric Gastroenterology

Tatevik Shahinyan, MD, PhD is a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Pediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology Service of Arabkir Medical Center – Institute of Child and Adolescent Health since 2005. She joined the faculty of Yerevan State Medical University in 2007 as lecturer at Chair of Pediatrics N2. She is a member of ESPGHAN Helicobacter pylori interest group.

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Dr. Timothy Kane, MD

General and Thoracic Pediatric Surgery

Timothy Dennis Kane, MD, is a general and thoracic pediatric surgeon specializing in minimally invasive surgery in infants, children, and adolescents. He serves as Division Chief of General and Thoracic Surgery and Program Director of the Pediatric Surgery Fellowship Program in the Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Center for Surgical Care. He is a Principal Investigator in the Minimally Invasive Therapy Program in the Bioengineering Initiative of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. Dr. Kane works to develop the Center’s minimally invasive surgery program through clinical practice, instruction, and research, while improving minimally invasive surgical techniques and speed into standard clinical care for pediatrics. He has specific interest and expertise in minimally invasive thoracic, gastrointestinal and neonatal surgery. His other interests include surgery for gastroesophageal reflux; chest wall deformities; palmar hyperhidrosis; and complex esophageal, intestinal, pancreatic, and hepatobiliary problems in children. Dr. Kane also is a Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at the George Washington School of Medicine & Health Sciences.

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Dr. Todd A. Ponsky, MD

Pediatric Surgery

Todd A. Ponsky, MD, is the Director of Clinical Growth and Transformation and a distinguished Pediatric Surgeon within the Division of Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery. He serves as a Professor at the UC Department of Surgery. Dr. Ponsky's primary focus lies in finding the least invasive solutions for children's medical concerns, specializing in minimally invasive surgery with an emphasis on neonatal disorders, hernias, and gastroparesis, including gastric electrical stimulation. His approach to patient care involves attentive listening and understanding of each child's unique needs to devise the most effective treatment plan. Dr. Ponsky obtained his MD from Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, OH, in 1999, completed his Surgical Residency at The George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC, and pursued a Pediatric Surgery Fellowship at Children's National Medical Center in the same city. Inspired by a compassionate physician during his own illness as a child, Dr. Ponsky is dedicated not only to his clinical practice but also to disseminating cutting-edge medical knowledge globally. He actively works to bridge the gap in medical knowledge among surgeons worldwide. In recognition of his commitment to education, he was honored with the faculty teaching award early in his career. He holds certifications from the American Board of Surgery in General Surgery and Pediatric Surgery, with recertifications in 2016 and 2018, respectively.

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Dr. Tsoline Kojaoghlanian


Dr. Tsoline Kojaoghlanian, MD obtained her Bachelor of Sciences degree with honors and her Medical Doctor degree at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. She subsequently moved to the United States to complete her pediatric residency in Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. She then proceeded with pediatric infectious diseases fellowship at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx, New York, the only children’s hospital in the borough, where she stayed as faculty for 15 years. She has extensive expertise in treating a variety of infections in healthy as well as immunocompromised children, and she is a specialist in pre and post- travel counseling. She holds leadership positions at hospital and departmental level committees which include infection control, evidence-based treatment guidelines and housestaff education. Her basic research has focused on adenoviruses and she has been the principal investigator of multiple clinical trials; her work in both has been published in premier medical journals. She has won a faculty teaching award and is a strong advocate for quality assurance in medical care. She recently moved to Maimonides Children’s Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, the only children’s hospital in that borough, and has been tirelessly working in all aspects of COVID-19 at her organization, including publication of their pediatric experience. She volunteers as a board member of the Armenian American Health Professionals Organization and has informed the Armenian community about the new COVID-19 disease in a timely and thorough manner.

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Dr. Udeme D Ekong, MD

Pediatric Gastroenterology and Transplant Hepatology

Udeme D Ekong, MD, is specialized in transplant and pediatric hepatology treating babies and children with a wide range of liver diseases including autoimmune diseases, biliary atresia, progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis syndromes, other genetic/metabolic liver diseases, non-cirrhotic portal hypertension, and chronic hepatitis B and C. She is triple-board certified in general pediatrics, pediatric gastroenterology and transplant hepatology, in addition to being a member of the Royal College of Physicians of the United Kingdom. Dr. Ekong attended medical school at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. She then earned her Master of Public Health degree at Northwestern University in Chicago and did a pediatrics residency at Lincoln Hospital, Bronx, NY. She completed a fellowship in pediatrics/pediatric gastroenterology at Columbia University in New York and a fellowship in pediatrics/transplant hepatology at Northwestern University. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Ekong is an active researcher. Her laboratory focuses on developing ways to improve the long-term function of the transplanted liver in children and investigates the pathogenesis of autoimmune liver diseases both before and following liver transplantation. She has published several articles in the American Journal of Transplantation, Hepatology, Liver Transplantation, Pediatric Transplantation, Journal of Immunology, as well as several book chapters on pediatric liver transplantation. Dr. Ekong is a member of several national societies including the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Nutrition (NASPGHAN), American Society for Transplantation (AST), Society of Pediatric Liver Transplantation (SPLIT) and American Association of Immunologists (AAI). She is also an Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Gastroenterology/Hepatology) at Georgetown University.

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Dr. Vahe Badalyan, MD

Pediatric Gastroenterology

Dr. Vahe Badalyan, MD, is director of Children's National Celiac Disease Program and a pediatric gastroenterologist in Washington, District of Columbia and is affiliated with Children's National Hospital. He received his medical degree from Yerevan State Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

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