LIVINGSTON, N.J./YEREVAN—On Tuesday, April 7, Dr. Vahe Tateosian successfully moderated the broadcast of a live interactive kidney transplant from St. Barnabas Medical Center in New Jersey to Arabkir Medical Center in Yerevan, Armenia. This was a novel and revolutionary approach to international medical training in Armenia. The surgery was streamed live and interactive between Dr. Tateosian, the anesthesiologist and Dr. Stuart Geffner, the Director of Transplant Surgery at St. Barnabas Medical Center, to an audience of medical professionals in Armenia. Dr. Geffner performed the surgery and illustrated in detail his approach to not only kidney transplant surgery, but also the most cutting edge techniques in his field of expertise, while Dr. Tateosian described his approach to transplant anesthesia.
The target audience in Armenia were mostly transplant surgeons, anesthesiologists, intensivists, medical residents and students. There was real-time communication with Dr. Geffner and Dr. Tateosian, where students and other physicians in Armenia were able to interact and ask questions throughout the entire 3 hour surgery.
The physicians at Arabkir were inspired by the surgery as well as their ability to interact with their American colleagues and ask questions regarding the procedure as well as how to tackle various problems that may arise within their own practices. Arabkir Medical Center is the nation’s only kidney transplant center and is directed by Dr. Ara Babloyan, an accomplished and well known transplant surgeon himself.
Apart from the surgery, Dr. Geffner was asked about the medical educational system in the United States. Dr. Geffner emphasized not only the rigors of medical training but also how sub-specialized physicians in the United States have become; where surgeons and anesthesiologists quite often complete additional training after residency within a fellowship program to advance further in a particular field of expertise.
Armenian American Health Professionals Organization President Lawrence V. Najarian, M.D., said Dr. Tateosian was the driving force behind an idea first put forth by the late Bob Dorian, M.D.: “Dr. Tateosian made this event happen. He picked up on Bob Dorian’s idea, traveled to Armenia, met the contacts there, and has done a splendid job of implementing the idea.”
Dr. Tateosian noted that this was the start to a new style of teaching program for surgeons and anesthesiologists in Armenia. “This has the potential to become revolutionary, both in collaboration with Armenia as well as establishing a framework for future similar endeavors. I would like to thank all participants that have been vital to the process thus far, continuing to put Armenia on the forefront of international medical collaboration,” Dr. Tateosian said.
Dr. Tateosian is a staff anesthesiologist and a pediatric anesthesiologist at St. Barnabas Medical Center, as well as Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. He has demonstrated his own commitment to Armenia by personally participating in several medical missions to Armenia. St. Barnabas has only successfully televised a kidney transplant internationally once before, to China,and supports one of the largest kidney transplant programs in the United States, directed by Dr. Geffner, performing more than 300 kidney transplants each year, including adult and pediatric kidney transplants.