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Sharon Chekijian, M.D. '01, M.P.H. '11 receives Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to Republic of Armenia for emergency systems and curricular development

June 15, 2020
by Cat Urbain

The Yale Department of Emergency Medicine (DEM) is pleased to announce that Sharon Anoush Chekijian, MD, MPH, has received a J. William Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award for her work in emergency systems and curricular development in the Republic of Armenia. Dr. Chekijian will base her work, conduct research and lecture at the School of Public Health at the American University of Armenia (AUA), as part of a project to establish a post-graduate program in emergency medicine, to expand and develop emergency services, and to perform research capacity building in emergency services provision and evaluation. Along with the School of Public Health at the AUA, the National Institutes of Health of Armenia and the Yerevan Municipal Ambulance Service, she intends to develop a comprehensive plan to improve emergency care for citizens of and visitors to the Republic of Armenia. Dr. Chekijian has previously worked in Armenia in the areas of organ transplantation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, traffic safety, and stroke program development as part of the Stroke Initiative Advisory Task-Force for Armenia (SIATA). Internationally, Dr. Chekijian has also served as a consultant for the World Bank, the U.S. Department of State and USAID.

One of a hand-selected group of U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research, and/or provide expertise abroad for the 2020-2022 academic years through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, Dr. Chekijian is excited about the opportunity to transfer knowledge and strategies gained from implementing successful projects in the U.S. to Armenia. “We know that emergency medical systems development is key to addressing and reducing mortality in a variety of acute conditions such as heart attacks, strokes and trauma. The current pandemic has reinforced the importance of a robust emergency response system. Armenia has become a center for the tech industry as well as tourism. The improvement of emergency medicine will be a major contributor to ongoing development in these areas. Having a dedicated group of emergency medicine trained doctors in Armenia will mean we can expect a multiplier effect on the healthcare of the country. I am excited to work as part of a team dedicated to making this happen in Armenia and at the Yale Department of Emergency Medicine.” Dr. Chekijian said.

A “renaissance” clinical scientist, Dr. Chekijian has multiple roles in the DEM, at Yale and with national and international organizations. Clinically, she works as a supervising physician, caring for patients in three extremely high-volume emergency departments. Administratively, she is the Medical Director for the Emergency Medicine Physician Associate and Nurse Practitioner (PA/NP) group, the inaugural Medical Director for the Yale New Haven Hospital PA/NP Residency Program, which she developed, she is a faculty Member in the Division of Global Health and International Emergency Medicine, Medical Director of Patient Experience and Chair of the Patient Experience Forum. She is involved nationally as the Chair of the Society of Academic Medicine’s (SAEM) Academy of Women in Academic Medicine’s awards committee as well as the Chair of SAEM’s APP Medical Director’s interest group and SAEM Board of Directors’ Advance Practice Provider’s Task Force. She has also been nominated as Lead Ambassador to Armenia from the American College of Emergency Physicians.

An excellent administrator, educator and global researcher, Dr. Chekijian is uniquely poised to enhance emergency medicine development in Armenia. “Dr. Chekijian demonstrates an outstanding spectrum of experience, professionalism, sensitivity and dedication for her work” says DEM Chair, Dr. Gail D’Onofrio. “As the founder of our highly successful PA/NP residency program, now graduating its fifth class, I am confident that her expertise, compassion, dedication and determination will achieve similar results in Armenia, advocating for physicians who would like to practice emergency medicine and improving healthcare practices. Using internationally recognized guidelines and standards for emergency systems development, her project promises to have an enormous impact on emergency care in Armenia. Our department is proud to support Dr. Chekijian’s work.”

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Recipients are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide and has given more than 390,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals of all backgrounds and fields the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Submitted by Justin Laing on June 15, 2020