Elise Boghossian, Acupuncturist In A War Zone
Elise Boghossian, Acupuncturist In A War Zone –
One woman’s quest to help refugees and victims of war
Elise Boghossian has always known that she would dedicate her life to helping others. Her Armenian grandparents brought her up with stories of how they had been persecuted and exiled. Years later, from the comfort of her home in Paris, Elise saw what was happening to millions of Syrian civilians in the media and felt compelled to take action.
A mother of three young children and a successful acupuncturist in Paris, Elise first went to Jordan to one of the largest refugee camps in the world. She had to talk her way in, but armed with her needles and unflagging determination, she was able to start alleviating the pain of patients. During the next few months, her individual initiative grew into something bigger, and she founded an NGO.
Elise quickly realized that the camps in the region were overcrowded and only able to take in 10% of the refugees, while the other 90% were left to live in squalor, without access to medical care. Single-handedly, she raised the money to launch two mobile dispensaries and multipurpose medical units. Every day these buses travel across the region to reach refugees and to provide comprehensive medical care. Each bus is equipped with a doctor, pharmacist, nurse, surgeon, acupuncturist and psychologist, administering 7,000 treatments per month in 28 different sites, to patients that include soldiers, the elderly, young children, and women who have escaped from ISIS.
Elise Boghossian is a French doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She studied in China at Nankin University, obtaining a PhD in gynaecology and obstetrics. Later, in Vietnam, she specialised in neurosciences under the direction of Professor N’Guyen Taithu, studying pain mechanisms and treating soldiers and children affected by Agent Orange.
Strongly attached to her Armenian origins, Elise decided in 2002 to take action in Armenia, and provided acupuncture care to soldiers harmed during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflicts. Years later, in 2013, she went to the Syrian border in Jordan to treat Syrian soldiers who were amputees or had been critically burned in the conflict.
Elise is currently fundraising for her NGO, Shennong & Avicenne, to enable her to take a truck that she’s converted into a mobile clinic to Iraqi Kurdistan, where she plans to treat people in the least accessible refugee camps.
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