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Learn about Armenian folk medicine

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Dr. Carolann Najarian will speak at the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research Center in Belmont, on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m., on “Healers, Holy Books, Mountains, and Gardens: Armenian Folk Medical Beliefs and Practices.” The lecture will be co-sponsored by NAASR and the Armenian International Women’s Association.

Every culture has a belief system regarding health care. Many of the belief systems that affect the practice of health care in Armenia today are also familiar to diaspora Armenians. Others may not be as familiar as they come from the Soviet Armenian experience.

Armenian society today is undergoing tremendous upheaval and changes that challenge long-held values. How are these changes affecting health care and its practice? One of the answers is that people are returning to traditional forms of health care as a way of coping with uncertainty. Many of these practices are rooted in Armenian traditional medicine – which is a product of Armenia’s history and location and is supported by aspects of what we might call its “national character.”

Dr. Carolann Najarian, stepping out of her role as a medical doctor, has sought to understand this phenomenon through the eyes of a medical anthropologist. Medical anthropology is the study of health-care beliefs and practices. She will present her findings and illustrate them with the many stories she has heard – some of miraculous cures, all of Armenians struggling to survive despite the uncertainty of their lives today.

Najarian is the founder and president of the Armenian Health Alliance, and her work in Armenia and Karabagh has brought her numerous honors. A graduate of the Boston University School of Medicine, she has been a practicing internist in the Cambridge-Watertown area and an instructor in clinical medicine at Harvard Medical School. In 2004 she completed a master’s degree in medical anthropology with a thesis on Armenian folk medical practices.

Admission to the event is free (donations appreciated). The NAASR bookstore will open at 7:30 p.m.

The NAASR Center and Headquarters is located opposite the First Armenian Church and next to the Post Office. Ample parking is available around the building and in adjacent areas. The lecture will begin promptly at 8 p.m.

More information about the lecture is available by calling 617-489-1610, e-mailing hq@naasr.org, or writing to NAASR, 395 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA 02478.

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