Dr. Saroyan became interested in end-of-life care when he was 15 years old, after his favorite high school teacher’s son died at the age of five. Dr. Arthur Ablin, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco, was assigned to be Dr. Saroyan’s mentor the following summer in a program for high school students interested in medicine. Dr. Ablin’s influence extended far beyond that summer. An early proponent of terminally ill children with cancer dying at home, Dr. Ablin became a mentor and friend that influenced Dr. Saroyan’s every word and movement in hospice, palliative, and end of life care.
Dr. Saroyan pursued training in pediatric palliative care after a residency in pediatrics at U.C.S.F.-Fresno. There were no formally accredited programs, so he helped create his own with the faculty at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan. A second year of fellowship was spent at the Children’s Hospital of New York, where he went on to become faculty in the Departments of Anesthesiology and Pediatrics.
Dr. Saroyan was the founding Program Director of the ACGME-accredited Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship at Columbia. He also engaged with members of his own departments as well as the School of Nursing and the New York State Psychiatric Institute to publish clinical research, case reports, and chapters. “Assessing Resident Knowledge of Acute Pain Management in Hospitalized Children: A Pilot Study” was published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Managementin 2008 and has been referenced by many authors since with inquiries into the underappreciated subject.
Dr. Saroyan was an attending Pediatric Palliative Care physician for the Pediatric Advanced Care Team at Columbia and attended to children from the neonatal period to young adulthood from 2008 to 2013. Dr. Saroyan was also a sought-after clinician for management of post-operative, disease-related, chronic and psychosomatic pain in infants, children and adolescents.
In 2013, Dr. Saroyan became the first full-time Hospice Medical Director for BAYADA Home Health Care’s hospice practice, based out of its office in Norwich, Vermont. Drawn to the physical beauty of the Green Mountain State and the opportunity of seeing hospice patients in their home, he left his position as an Associate Clinical Professor. Under his medical leadership, the BAYADA Hospice Program has grown from a census of just over 100 in Vermont and the bordering counties in New Hampshire to over 300 with new offices in both states.
Dr. Saroyan is an active runner and skier. He lives in Norwich, Vermont with his wife, a law student at Vermont Law School, and their sons, Joe and Mark. He brings his love of old-time, country, and bluegrass music to the homes of hospice patients who have an ear for banjo and guitar-accompanied singing.