From her early days in Armenia as a contractor with the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), Marianne Hess knew that her skills would be put to good use and that she would make a difference in the lives and health outcomes of those committed to her care. It was at the Plastic Surgery Hospital that I first met Marianne in 1993; the situation in the Republic of Armenia was challenging with limited healthcare supplies, a lack of heat and hot water, and a vulnerable, yet proud, population.
The chance to make that difference, for Marianne and for myself, was what kept her in-country and what kept me coming back for more. Over the course of 20+ years, we have seen significant change. Yes, the fountains now have running water, the restaurants have food, and the banks have currency. Hospitals have been renovated to modern standards; staff has been educated locally and abroad; baccalaureate programs for nurses are now a reality; the nursing association has expanded; two hospitals participated in the ANCC Standard of Excellence Research Program, and everywhere you look, you see pride!
The opportunity to partner with our colleagues in the Republic of Armenia has been personally and professionally rewarding. Our relationships have grown and allow us to co-sponsor educational programs for our colleagues from multiple countries in the Motherland of Armenia. From the early days following the dissolution of the former Soviet Union and the evolution of new countries in Eastern Europe, growth has occurred on both sides of our borders. What a privilege it has been to collaborate with our partners, our friends, our peers. What a privilege it will be to continue to meet and exceed our goals for the next 20 years!