From right, Sossy Yogurtian RPH (President) Tanya Iliadis PharmD(Chair) Nairi Gazarian pharmD (award recipient) Ripsime Guyumdzhyan PharmD (Vice President) Elizabeth Bekelian PharmD(AAPA member).

Nairi Demirchian-Gazarian Receives Armenian American Pharmacists’ Association 2019 Member of rhe Year Award


By Sossy Yogurtian

BELMONT, Mass. – During my 20 years working at Osco Pharmacy in Belmont, I had the privilege of training many student pharmacists and one student stood out to me the most, Nairi Demirchian-Gazarian.

Demirchian-Gazarian started to work at Osco Pharmacy at the age of 18 as a technician. Nairi always wanted to be a pharmacist. She attended the Massachusetts College Of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University (MCPHSU), graduated, and became a pharmacist herself at Osco Pharmacy.  She also joined the Armenian American Pharmacists’ Association (AAPA) as a member and held the position of secretary for 2 years.

At Osco Pharmacy, she was an excellent pharmacist and a team player. She provided great customer service (still does), and was an asset to the pharmacy.

Several years passed and Demirchian-Gazarian transferred to Osco Pharmacy in Waltham, where a technician named Elizabeth Bekelian , had a Bachelor’s Degree in science and wanted to work in healthcare, yet was undecided. Demirchian-Gazarian realized her potential as a pharmacist and suggested she consider the accelerated pharmacy program at MCPHSU in Worcester. Bekelian was not sure if that was the path she wanted to pursue, so Demirchian-Gazarian offered to drive her to Worcester for an interview with an advisor. Three years have since passed and Bekelian is currently studying to take her pharmacy board exam to be a licensed pharmacist. Demirchian-Gazarian’s guidance, mentorship and offer to help secured a future for Bekelian.

Demirchian-Gazarian is a good example of how a small act of commitment and faith in another person can change a person’s life.

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Demirchian-Gazarian’s work did not end there. Varteni Aroyan , another pharmacy student working at the same pharmacy, was having difficulties getting hired  after graduating due to the saturation of the market. Demirchian-Gazarian took it upon herself to meet Aroyan outside working hours to help her with other possible options. She advised her to apply for internship and fellowship programs instead, which the latter did. In the end Aroyan got hired by Osco Pharmacy, as it was her preference to work in a retail pharmacy setting helping customers.

Both former students, now pharmacists, are very thankful to Demirchian-Gazarian for the mentorship and all the advice and help she gave them through the years.

From left, Sossy Yogurtian, Nairi Demirchian-Gazarian and Elizabeth Bekelian

On October 16, the AAPA committee members awarded Demirchian-Gazarian the organization’s very first recognition award, the Member of the Year Award, because of her commitment and dedication to help lead future pharmacists. We hope her story will inspire more pharmacists or other professionals to mentor students and guide them to help make their journey successful.

The AAPA was founded in 1981, and is a charitable, cultural and educational organization with more than 30 members practicing in all fields of pharmacy — retail, academia, research, clinical, hospital, corporate — and includes the next generation of pharmacy students.  With the ongoing changes in the pharmacy profession, AAPA provides professional programs and continuing education opportunities.  The organization is focused to help future Armenian American pharmacy students with mentorship, networking and scholarship opportunities.

The AAPA is committed and proud to participate in a number of Armenian community outreach programs and annually donates to an orphan in Armenia.  In April 2019, AAPA was one of the greater Boston community sponsors of the benefit gala for Armenia’s Children Cancer Clinic, City of Smile. For the past six years, the AAPA has also been sponsors of and participants in the  annual Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry, raising funds and awareness of the donor registry.

On October 12, the AAPA also hosted their annual event entertaining the residents of the Armenian Nursing Home in Jamaica Plain with pianist Levon Hovsepian.

The members of the Armenian American Pharmacists’ Association (AAPA)

Any Armenian-American pharmacy students and pharmacists interested in becoming a member of AAPA is encouraged to visit:

(Sossy Yogurtian, a registered pharmacist (RPH), is president of the Armenian American Pharmacists’ Association.)


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