Dr. Varant Hagopian Remembered
by Current NEEC-Cambridge Office Director

By Christopher Robinson, MD

BOSTON, MA Month 01, 2014 – Dr. Varant Hagopian, long-time Chief of the Division of Ophthalmology at Mt. Auburn Hospital and a member of the New England Eye Center passed away in January of this year (2013). He was an accomplished physician, community leader, Air Force veteran and devoted husband, father and friend. Dr. Hagopian was a pillar of the Mt. Auburn surgical service and the standard-bearer of ophthalmology in Cambridge for 50 years. He embodied the values of his home institution, "Compassion with Excellence."

There was no more accomplished local leader in Ophthalmology. Many know him as the longstanding Chief of Ophthalmology at Mt. Auburn, a position which he held for 50 years. He also served as the President of the Middlesex South District Medical Society. He would later be recognized as the "Community Clinician of the Year" by the 1700 members of that organization. He served as president of the Massachusetts Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons. He was elected the Speaker of the House of Delegates for the Massachusetts Medical Society in 2003 after more than 40 years in the organization. He was a tireless advocate for the physicians and patients of our community and the state of Massachusetts. Dr. Hagopian had an uncompromising standard of clinical care and expected the same from his colleagues. 

Despite this long list of achievements and service, I knew few of these things in my first years working with him. Varant would be the last person to make you aware of his accomplishments. He preferred to have the focus on the care of his patients, who always came first. He was able to deliver tremendously thoughtful and high level care while imparting a unique sense of empathy and compassion to his patients. As I finally begin to meet many of his longstanding patients they universally mention how well cared-for they felt, recounting late nights or Sunday afternoons in his office. 

On a personal level, getting to know Varant was one of the highlights of my professional career. He was a man of admirable and rare integrity. He treated his patients with a dignity that I found unique to his great generation. He was a devoted family man who would have a sparkle in his eye as he talked about his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He had a warm and crisp sense of humor and a smile that was infectious. His kind energy buoyed our entire office. 

Dr. Hagopian will forever remain a role model to all of us at Mt Auburn Hospital and the New England Eye Center. His service, leadership, character and generosity of spirit will never be forgotten.

 

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