On December 7 1998 a massive earthquake in Spitak, Armenia claimed more than 25,000 lives, leaving 19,000 people injured and over 500,000 homeless. The next day 40 Toronto-based health professionals formed the Armenian Canadian Medical Association of Ontario (ACMAO) to coordinate financial and professional resources to respond to the immediate needs of earthquake victims.
For over 25 years since, ACMAO’s contributions to the medical community in Armenia has been enormous, specifically in the fields of neurology, orthopedics, pediatric psychology, dentistry, health administration, and diabetes-education. Over the years medical/dental supplies and equipment have been purchased or donated and sent to Armenia and Karabagh including ventilators, ultrasound equipment, neonatal incubators, electromyography machines, hospital beds, dental x-ray units, and surgical equipment. ACMAO also established a medical reference resource center at the National Institute of Health in Armenia’s capital city Yerevan, with more than 3,000 medical textbooks and teaching videos.
in 1998, ACMAO established the first dental clinic in Shushi, Kharabagh, a town devasted from war and has subsequently opened and operated dental clinics in Hadrout, Mardagert and Marduni and a mobile dental clinic to cover remote villages in Karabagh. In 2004, ACMAO opened the Women’s Health Clinic in Karabagh’s capital city Stepanakert. These clinics provide services free of charge for their clients. In Toronto, Ontario, ACMAO organized the Armenian Medical World Congress in 2001, a Health Fair in 2005, and various public health lectures in the community. ACMAO is a membership-based organization of health specialists, which now counts close to 200 members and is supported by a large number of donors committed to its mission.