AIHA Nursing Initiative in Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia

“The first AIHA nursing conference I attended sparked the beginning of remarkable changes in my attitude toward my chosen profession. We who have worked together through the partnership program are pioneers in the field of nursing in our respective countries.”  – Lia Mamaladze, Chief Nurse, Ministry of Labor, Health, and Social Affairs (Tbilisi / Atlanta partnership)

From 1992 to 2008, AIHA championed the development of nursing as an independent and vital profession in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia following the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Through our USAID-supported partnership projects and regional initiatives, we focused on not only strengthening nursing education and clinical training, but also on shifting health system paradigms, individual and collective mindsets, and longstanding traditional roles to elevate the qualifications and status of nurses in this part of the world. 


AIHA’s efforts to strengthen the nursing profession through specific programmatic activities in this region included:

Healthcare Partnerships (1992-2008)

Through exchange programs, international nursing conferences, and workshops, AIHA partnerships continually addressed the need to enhance the professionalism of nurses and nurse administrators, reforming undergraduate and graduate nursing education and developing and strengthening regional and national nursing associations.

The development of nurse leaders at AIHA partner institutions evolved into effective nursing leadership at local, national, and regional levels. Perhaps most importantly, partnerships, by example, demonstrated that significant improvements in the quality of patient care and in health sector productivity can be achieved through upgrading and expanding the scope of nursing education, practice, and administration.

At some level, every AIHA partnership in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia worked to advance nursing as a profession. The following partnerships placed special emphasis on improving the quality and scope of education and professional development opportunities for nurses, as well as expanding their role in patient care:

  • Central Asian Regional Nursing Education Project
  • Baku (Azerbaijan) / Richmond (Virginia)
  • Donetsk and Kramatorsk (Ukraine) / Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania)
  • Dushanbe (Tajikistan) / Boulder (Colorado)
  • Gegarkunik (Armenia) / Providence (Rhode Island)
  • Kiev (Ukraine) / Philadelphia (Pennsylvania)
  • Lori (Armenia) / Milwaukee (Wisconsin)
  • Mtskheta-Mtianeti (Georgia) / Milwaukee (Wisconsin)
  • Sakhalin (Russia) / Houston (Texas)
  • Slovakia / Scranton (Pennsylvania)
  • St. Petersburg (Russia) / Atlanta (Georgia)
  • Stavropol (Russia) / Cedar Rapids (Iowa)
  • Tallinn (Estonia) / Washington (District of Columbia)
  • Tbilisi (Georgia) / Atlanta (Georgia)
  • Tirana (Albania) / Grand Rapids (Michigan)
  • Tomsk (Russia) / Bemidji (Minnesota)
  • Tuzla (Bosnia and Herzegovina) / Buffalo (New York)
  • Yerevan (Armenia) / Boston (Massachusetts)
  • Zadar (Croatia) / Franciscan (New York)
  • Zagreb (Croatia) / Lebanon (New Hampshire)

Central Asia Regional Nursing Education Project (2004-2006)

In 2004, AIHA launched a new type of partnership designed to improve the quality of nursing education on a regional scale in Central Asia. With funding from USAID, this partnership linked U.S. healthcare and nursing experts from the University of Minnesota School of Nursing and the Bemidji (Minnesota)-based North Country Health Coalition with a number of Central Asian institutions that provide undergraduate and graduate nursing education.

AIHA sent a team of six faculty members from University of Minnesota School of Nursing to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan in May 2004 to conduct site assessments prior to selection of the Central Asian partner institutions. With input from USAID’s mission in Central Asia, the following schools were selected to participate:

Tasked with the overall goals of updating undergraduate and graduate-level nursing curricula, as well as enhancing the leadership skills of nurses, the partners identified faculty and curriculum development, the provision of technical and equipment support, and the linkage of theoretical education with clinical education and training as key priorities for their collaboration. Specific objectives included:

  • Enhancing basic level nursing curricula (post 11th grade) at the State Medical College of Astana and Bishkek Nursing College;
  • Enhancing nursing curricula at the advanced level (including master’s degree level) at Bukhara State Medical Institute in 2005 and at Almaty Medical College and Kyrgyz State Medical Academy in 2006;
  • Increasing the nursing and pedagogical knowledge and skills of nursing faculty;
  • Increasing access to educational and informational resources in support of curricular and faculty development objectives; and
  • Enhancing the professional independence and leadership capacity of partner faculty.

International Nursing Leadership Institute (1999-2003)

In 1999, AIHA launched the International Nursing Leadership Institute, a year-long learning experience designed to help nurses from our partnership institutions in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia develop the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful leaders in today’s healthcare environment. Many of the INLI graduates went on to achieve leadership positions in respective their countries, ushering in many positive changes for the nursing profession.

Nursing Quality Improvement Initiative (2004-2006)

AIHA’s Nursing Quality Improvement Initiative was designed to move nursing programs in our original hospital partnerships beyond basic improvements to the establishment of exemplary models of professional nursing practice approximating international standards of excellence.

Four leading medical establishments in Armenia and Russia—Erebouni Medical Center and St. Grigor Lusavorich Medical Center in Yerevan, Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow, and Sokolov Medical Center in St. Petersburg—were selected to replicate quality standards of the ANNC accreditation program for nursing care excellence. Each Eurasian hospital was paired with a US hospital that has been acknowledged as a center of nursing excellence through the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program.

The increased role nurses are now playing in patient care at the four hospitals is evident in the number of new initiatives to restore patient privacy and improve quality of care spearheaded by the nursing staff. One of these initiatives at Erebouni Medical Center involved designing and sewing curtains to separate patients in admissions areas and intensive care units modeled on privacy curtains observed by the nurses during their visits to North Shore University Hospital.

Another was the installation of electronic physician call systems in ICUs so that nurses do not have to leave the patient’s side during emergency situations to fetch a physician as they had previously done. Other initiatives worth mentioning include the introduction of mandatory reporting forms for monitoring both patient complications and cases that required the use of physical restraints; the latter was reported to significantly reduce the instances of such restraints. The result of these and other innovations that the Russian and Armenian nurses reported was most rewarding for them was the positive response of physicians at their respective institutions who—having observed the increased contributions nurses made toward improved patient care—began seeing them as equal professional partners.

Distance Learning in Nursing Project (2002-2004)

AIHA’s Distance Learning in Nursing project is an Internet-based shared learning experience between graduate students from Erebouni College in Yerevan, Armenia, and students enrolled at the University of Nebraska Medical Center School of Nursing.

Initiated in 2002, AIHA’s pilot Distance Learning in Nursing project was designed to test the feasibility of distance learning as a vehicle to further enhance the capacity of professional nursing through faculty development and enhanced educational programs.

Through the project, 10 baccalaureate-prepared nursing faculty from Erebouni College completed six graduate courses from the University of Nebraska Medical Center School of Nursing, primarily through online distance learning technology. Participants completed courses such as: “Advanced Practice in the Health Care Delivery System,” “Nursing, Health and Culture in Organizations and Communities,” and “Curriculum Design for the Future.”

The project ended in September 2004 at the conclusion of AIHA’s programs in Armenia.

Nursing Resource Centers (1997-2003)

With the goal of providing nursing faculty, students, and practitioners with resources to support ongoing evidence-based forms of learning, AIHA has established some 24 Nursing Resource Centers at partnership institutions overseas, supplying each with computers, textbooks, videotapes, and anatomical models. These centers are linked to the Internet, which fosters a supportive community of nurse leaders connected to their professional counterparts the world over.


Erebuni Institute of Nursing

Titogradian 133
Yerevan, Armenia
Alina Koushkyan, Dean
Tel: 3742-45-17-38
Fax: 3742-15-13-45 or 15-17-33 (AT&T fax lines)

Emergency Scientific Medical Center

Abovian 35-3
Yerevan, Armenia 375009
Ruzanna Ginosyan, Director
Tel/Fax (3742) 15-13-90 (AT&T)

Bosnia and Herzegovina

University Clinical Center Tuzla NRC

Trnovac bb,
75 000 Tuzla, BIH
Safija Kalajlic, Head nurse
Tel: (387 75) 238 357
Fax: (387 75) 238 359


General Hospital Zadar NRC
B. Pericica 5
23 000 Zadar, Croatia
Zorica Zorz, head nurse
Tel: (385 23) 315 677
Fax: (385 23) 312 724

Mihaljevic Infectious Diseases Hospital NRC

Mirogojska 8
10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
Barbara Brnin, head nurse
Tel: (385 1) 460 3222
Fax: (385 1) 425 907

Czech Republic

Palacky University Institute of Nursing Theory and Practice NRC
Medical Faculty
Olomouc, Czech Republic
Lenka Spirudova, MA
Tel: (420 68) 563 2802
Fax: (420 68) 563 2966


Nursing School
39 Kazbegi str.
Tbilisi, Georgia
Maya Gogashvili, Director
Tel/Fax(8832) 39-67-74


Republican Medical College
54, Sh. Kaldayakova Str.
Almaty, Kazakstan
Talapkali Izmukhambetov, director
Elena Kashina, Coordinator
Nagima Bizhanova, Assistant Coordinator
Tel: (3272) 91-38-28
NRC Web Site:
College Web Site:


Republican Center for Continuing Education
144-A Bokonbaeva
Bishkek 720040
Tamara Saktonova, Director
Zhyldyz Barikova/Aisulyu Shimeeva (coordinators)
Tel:(9962) 22-36-36


Nursing Resource Center
Kapselu # 23
Riga, LV 1004
Jolanta Zalite, President of Latvian Nurses Association
Mara Lagzdina, Secretary of Latvian Nurses Association
Tel/Fax: (371 7) 602 464


Fdatia “Iatrika”
Centrul de Informare si Documentare pentru Asistentii Medicali
Str. Oravia, nr.3
3400 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
NRC Board of Directors
Fax: +40-64-130234

Russian Federation

Nursing Resource Center
Volinskaya Hospital
Starovolinskaya Str.
Tatiana Blinokhvatova, Chief Nurse and Director
Tel: (7 095) 146-95-00

NRC at Stavropol Regional Clinical Oncology Dispensary

182-a Oktyabraskaya St.,
Stavropol 355047
Tel: (8652) 38-35-30
Fax: (8652) 38-32-05

Pavlov Medical School

L. Tolstoy 6/8
St. Petersburg, Russia 197089
Galina Bazurkeva, Coordinator
Olga Lebedeva, Chief Nursing Educator
Tel: 7(812) 234-09-89 or 346-34-36
Fax: 7(812) 234-27-49

Postgraduate School of Nursing

Lunacharsky av. 41
St. Petersburg, Russia 194291
Third floor, Suite N33
Edward Osyannikov, Deputy Director
Tel: 7(812) 558-98-10
Fax: 7(812) 559-96-73

City Clinical Hospital No. 2,.

57 Ruskaya str.
Vladivostok, Russia 690105
Natalia Lada, Director
Tel: 7(4332) 32-62-89
Fax: 7(4332) 32-49-86


Trnava University NRC
School of Public Health and Nursing
Hornopotocna 23
918 00 Trnava, Slovakia
Alex Brestovansky
Tel/Fax: (421 80) 551 1575

NRC – Fakultna nemocnica s poliklinikou (FNsP)

Trieda SNP 1
040 66 Kosice, Slovakia
Maria Mazakova


Dushanbe Nursing Resource Center
Samash 59
Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Zoya Nabieva


Birth House #6
Petra Zaporozhtsa str. 26
Kiev, Ukraine 253125
Svetlana Puriy, Director
Tel: 38(044) 512-51-05
Fax: 38(044) 512-36-38

Danylo Galytsky L’viv National Medical Center

Pekarska str. 69
L’viv, Ukraine 290010
Vira Pirogova, Professor and Director
Tel: (0332) 72-26-60
Fax: (0332) 76-79-73

Odessa Oblast Hospital

Akademician Zabolotny str. 27
Odessa, Ukraine 270117
Ludmila Kapitonova, Director
Tel: 38-0482-56-12-07
Fax: 38-0482-55-10-24


Second Tashkent Medical Institute
2 Farobi Str.
Tashkent, Uzbekistan 700109
Anvar Tursunbaev, Director
Tel/Fax: (998 71) 46 34 19

Primary Care Nursing Steering Committee (2000-2003)

In late 2000, AIHA convened the Primary Care Nursing Steering Committee consisting of partnership nurses from Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the United States. The committee was tasked with designing a curriculum for primary care nurse training and conducting a series of workshops using this curriculum.

AIHA’s Primary Care Nursing Steering Committee developed two separate curricula: one that included modules on physical assessment, communication, health promotion, and patient education; and a second that focused on topics such as time management, mental and adolescent health, asthma, gerontology, and dental health. Nurses from institutions participating in AIHA’s primary healthcare partnerships attended these professional development workshops, putting much of what they learned to use in their day-to-day practice.

Members of the Primary Care Nursing Steering Committee were:

  • Ruzana Davtyan (Armavir / Galveston)
  • Barbara Fisher (Dushanbe / Boulder, Odessa / Boulder)
  • Olga Gilgenberg (Astana / Pittsburgh)
  • Sevinj Hashimova (Baku / Portland)
  • B. Kay Oliver (Samara / Iowa)
  • Jacqueline Paulson (Uzhgorod / Corvallis)
  • Irina Popova (Sakhalin / Houston)
  • Anna Puginskaya (Uzhgorod / Corvallis)
  • Saule Shataeva (Astana / Pittsburgh)
  • Sevinj Veliyeva (Baku / Richmond)
  • Darlene Weis (Mtskheta-Mtianeti / Milwaukee)


  • Sheila Ryan, AIHA Board of Directors
  • Emily Fedullo, AIHA Program Officer (retired)