Lovers’ Park lunch

By Ani Ginosyan

Lunch with AUA public health team
On my last day of work, we went to have lunch at a beautiful café at Lovers’ Park (Siraharneri Aigi), which is located right across the street from AUA. This park has a smoke free playground for kids to play at, which was made possible by AUA’s Tobacco Control Team. This was amazing for me, as it was the only outdoor location I had been to in Armenia where smoking was not allowed. Some indoor restaurants had smoke free sitting areas; however, it was nice to see that the outdoor café we went to at the Lovers’ Park also had a smoke free sitting area. I applaud AUA Tobacco Control Team’s efforts in making this possible, and I hope that I can help them with such endeavors in the future.

Having the opportunity to conduct this research project at AUA has been a wonderful experience for me in various ways. I have met and worked with some amazing people here that I hope to have the opportunity to collaborate with in the future. They have been extremely helpful and supportive every step of the way.
I also greatly enjoyed applying all the skills I learned in my MPH classes and putting them into practice in a real world setting.  I got to experience first hand how difficult recruiting study participants can be; however, I do think that my phone skills improved throughout the weeks and I became better at convincing people to participate in my study.
Smoke-free playground for the kids
Traveling to Armenia in itself was a unique experience for me because I got to experience living and working in a completely different country with very different conditions for the first time in my life.  During the first week of my stay, I lived with my cousin in a city called Armavir, about 45 minutes away from Yerevan. I took the “marshutka” to AUA, which is a small bus and a very common mode of transportation in Armenia.  After the first week, I moved to stay with another cousin in Yerevan.  This was more convenient as I had more time to work and explore the city. I took the metro from the Republic Square to AUA each morning, which was extremely convenient.  I definitely enjoyed being able to use public transportation and take a break from all the driving we do in LA!

At the smoke-free playground with Arus (left) and Narine (right)

I would like to thank Dr. Movsisyan, Dr. Petrosyan, and Dr. Harutyunyan for hosting me at the AUA and helping make my time there productive and enjoyable. I want to thank Dr. Movsisyan and Dr. Petrosyan for working with me during the months before my travel, and giving me useful feedback and recommendations on my grant application.  I would like to thank Dr. Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati, who was my USC mentor and was also very willing to review my grant application and give useful feedback. Lastly, I would like to thank Heather Wipfli and Jonathan Samet for providing me with the grant to make this project come to life.

In front of AUA