Dr. Najarian

AAHPO President Receives Ellis Island Medal of Honor


NEW YORK — Dr. Lawrence V. Najarian, a physician and humanitarian, received the 2019 Ellis Island Medal of Honor this spring. He has been President of the Armenian American Health Professionals Organization (AAHPO) since 2006.

Awarded annually to a group of distinguished American citizens who exemplify a life dedicated to community service and extraordinary accomplishments in their field, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor ranks among the nation’s most renowned awards. The Ellis Island Award of Honor recognizes the contribution of Americans of all backgrounds to strengthen the country and represent the diversity found in the immigrant experience of Ellis Island. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have officially recognized the Ellis Island Medals of Honor, and each year the recipients are listed in the Congressional Record.

Najarian is not the first member of the AAHPO family to receive this prestigious award. The following AAHPO board members, officers and honorees have received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in previous years for their work on behalf of AAHPO and other highly respected organizations:

* Harout Mekhjian, MD, (AAHPO Honoree)

* Raffy Hovanessian, MD (AAHPO Honoree)

* Vicki Shoghag Hovanessian (AAHPO Service Award)

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* John Bilezikian, MD, PhD (AAHPO Honoree)

* John Nercessian, MD (AAHPO Founder, First President)

* Annette Choolfaian (deceased, AAHPO Honoree)

* Roger Ohanessian (AAHPO Honoree)

* Edgar Housepian, MD (deceased, AAHPO Honoree)

* Louise Simone (deceased, AAHPO Honoree)

* Nazar Nazarian (AAHPO Honoree)


Sponsored by the Ellis Island Honors Society (EIHS), the organization’s 34th awards ceremony medal presentation was held May 11, in the historic Great Hall, the original registry room and the gateway for 12 million immigrants to the US, and where guests celebrated the evening in front of the iconic view of the Statue of Liberty.

“Tonight, we celebrate an extraordinary group of Americans. They are educators, healers, scientists, artists, thinkers and leaders of industry – all of whom are free to follow their passions and dreams to benefit America and the world,” said Nasser Kazeminy, chairman of the Ellis Island Honors Society.

Najarian accepted the Ellis Island Medal on behalf of his grandparents who came through Ellis Island in 1921. Like other survivors of the Armenian Diaspora, they were forever grateful for the opportunity to flourish in a new country and were honored to become American citizens, a fact that is gratefully acknowledged by every succeeding generation.

Commenting on his award, Najarian said, “I am humbled by this recognition. I am deeply grateful and accept this award on behalf of so many people. For my grandparents who came to this country through Ellis Island with the hope of opportunities creating a new life for their family and community. And, for the many volunteers I am privileged to work with who have committed themselves and use their talents to do so much for so many people. I truly believe when people work together, we can accomplish so much more than we would accomplish individually.”




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