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Alec Ohanian

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Masters in Public Health
Huys Scholar 2022

Headshot of Huys Scholar Alec Ohanian

Good health is elusive. We strive to create an equitable world where healthcare resources are shared in a just manner; however, as I’ve come to learn, this is yet another moral quest without substantial action. Due to this inaction, good health remains a luxury for most. As an aspiring physician approaching my 4th year of medical school training, I have been exposed to various career paths in this field. A major crossroad presented itself when deciding on which populations I would like to serve.

There were two options, the first being to advance medical knowledge and technologies, and the second to share and implement existing knowledge with underserved communities. Seeing the immoral distribution of resources across our societies, the obvious choice for me was to fill that discord between wanting to create an equitable society, and actually working to make it a reality. For this reason, I will be taking a gap year in my medical studies at the UCSF School of Medicine to pursue a Masters in Public Health (MPH) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a concentration in Health Systems & Policy, and certifications in Global Health and Evaluation of International Health Programs. Following the completion of my MPH, I will apply into an Internal Medicine residency with the goal of specializing in Hematology/Oncology. Long-term, I intend to repatriate to Armenia once my educational loans are at a manageable amount.

I have spent most of my medical school career with underserved communities, such as my medical rotations at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, the only safety net hospital in San Francisco, and at clinics for homeless communities across the city. I will continue to serve these populations in the U.S. throughout my training and career. With regards to my work abroad, much of it has been in reaction to geopolitical realities we face, stemming from the devastating Artsakh war to the pillaging of resources that keeps nations broken. Now, I have learnt to be proactive, addressing issues upstream. With the right leadership and collaborative environment, I truly believe that positive, sustainable, and needed change can be achieved.

I continuously strive to understand the Armenian healthcare system and focus my projects to create a steppingstone for others to get more involved, because collectively – we can do more. I have already made connections with medical professional in-country and from the diaspora for fruitful long-term collaboration. For the immediate term, these connections will facilitate my ability to dedicate the MPH capstone project at Johns Hopkins to strengthening the Armenian healthcare system. Specific projects I am working on are a global Armenian population health survey to better characterize our needs, and various initiatives to improve access to care for children with type 1diabetes in Armenia. One thing I am certain of is that our fate is in our hands. I intend to do my part to ensure a better future for our country and for our people.

I am aware that Huys Foundation is granting the Huys Scholarship to me with the anticipation of my good faith pursuit and implementation of the projects and undertakings described in this letter, to which I hereby commit.