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Julia Hoveyan: Maybe tomorrow that brain tumor will be curable, and we need to do our best to achieve that
28/10/2023 16:09

Julia Hoveyan: Maybe tomorrow that brain tumor will be curable, and we need to do our best to achieve that

Julia Hoveyan, Pediatric oncologist at the Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Armenia, shared on LinkedIn:

”Proud to be a part of this fantastic program. The virtual fellowship provides a life-changing opportunity for early career specialists and significantly contributes to capacity building in low- and middle-income countries.”

Quoting the article by Rhonda Franz on Saint Jude Blog:

Dr. Julia Hoveyan describes herself as a young scientist. Driven by deep curiosity and a desire to improve pediatric oncology services in her country, she is eager for as much continued education and training as she can get. Her determination serves her patients well in her work as a pediatric hematologist-oncologist at the Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Armenia.

After graduating from a state medical school in 2019, Dr. Hoveyan underwent a fellowship at her institution and recently completed a one-year, postgraduate clinical research program with Harvard Medical School. She is a research fellow at the Immuno-Oncology Research Institute in Armenia and a fellow in the first cohort with the St. Jude Virtual Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Fellowship.

With each piece of education and training, her interest in neuro-oncology grew, as did her awareness of her country’s need for better services for children with cancer. Her interest and focus feed into her conviction on a greater role and responsibility that extends beyond her job.

”Pediatric oncology is a new, rapidly developing field in Armenia. There is a lot of work in different fields to establish more competitive pediatric oncology services, implement research in our setting and provide better care for children.”

A desire to help people is one of the main reasons Dr. Hoveyan pursued a study of medicine. However, she became a physician because of her fascination with the human body.

”I am thrilled to understand and discover more in medicine. When I do, it becomes more and more interesting. It’s amazing to learn how everything is going in the human body on a molecular and cellular level. That’s why medicine is an extremely good field for me.”

Her decision to become a neuro-oncologist happened four years ago after one of her patients died from an incurable brain tumor. He was 10 years old.

The experience showed her how much she didn’t know and fueled her desire to learn and focus her training in the field. She talks about how new discoveries are made every day and holds hope for science and research to help other children.

”The science and medicine develop rapidly. Maybe tomorrow that brain tumor will be curable, and we need to do our best to achieve that.”

Her immersion in the field of neuro-oncology led her to the Virtual Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Fellowship, part of the St. Jude Global Neuro-Oncology Program. She was accepted into the first cohort in 2022. The innovative fellowship offers the opportunity for mentorship, support, education and collaboration in the treatment context where fellows practice.

The fellowship is designed for physicians with certain criteria. Fellowship co-director, Dr. Zeena Salman, says they seek pediatric oncologists in low- and middle-income countries who are motivated, proactive and who can look at a team holistically and serve as leaders in building up a program at their hospital or even on a national or regional level.

That is precisely what Dr. Hoveyan is doing.

While she saw the program as an opportunity to gain more knowledge and experience, she is in tum using it to help patients – and the larger institution – where she works, The Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Armenia is the only specialized center in the country providing care for 80 to 100 pediatric cancer patients each year.

”My interest in the virtual neuro-oncology fellowship was important for me personally, and for my institution. We need someone who will practice in neuro-oncology and who will coordinate these services.

She’s excited about what she’s gained in the first year, including insight into collaborating with her local team of professionals. Physicians must work together as a multidisciplinary neuro-oncology team – the oncologist, surgeon, radiation oncologist, and other specialists – and the fellowship has helped them achieve the best possible collaboration. She and her institution receive virtual, international support from her mentors and program directors who are always available for questions and who help her as she treats patients. They also assist her in generating research ideas and establishing services in her country.

“When we started fellowship one year ago, I had no idea how it could change my life and career, and how it can affect my work. The program changes the way I am thinking and collaborating… and helps us achieve the best possible results for children.’

It’s clear Dr. Hoveyan plans to be a part of that work.”

Source: Julia Hoveyan/LinkedIn