Lara Mamikonian, M.D., is a Benjamin District 25 alumni and one of the many shining stars for whom Benjamin District 25 provided a solid educational foundation and helped lay the roots for blossoming careers.
Dr. Mamikonian and her husband, Mitchell Block, M.D., met during their medical residency, have been married seven years, and are the parents of two-year-old twins, Andrew and Samuel. The family resides in Virginia Beach, VA., Brother, Alex, a 1991 Ben25 grad, is active military in the Navy, and her parents have relocated to Williamsburg, VA.
A member of the Benjamin class of 1993, Dr. Mamikonian is a graduate of Leysin American School in Switzerland (1997); and received her bachelor’s degree in French and Russian from Dickinson College, in Carlisle, PA (2001). After changing career goals during her senior year, she then spent a year completing pre-med classes at Bryn Mawr College. She graduated medical school at University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry (2006), completed a three-year pediatric residency in Rochester, and a pediatric critical care medicine fellowship at Duke University (2012).
Six years ago, Dr. Mamikonian joined the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) as a pediatric intensivist at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, the only free-standing children’s hospital in Virginia.
“Our PICU is a combined unit, multi-disciplinary and cardiac critical care,” explains Dr. Mamikonian, who in addition to clinical time and residency education serves on the hospital’s resuscitation outcomes committee and is medical director of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)---a form of lung or heart and lung bypass for respiratory or cardiac failure.
“I chose critical care because I like inpatient medicine and taking care of a broad patient population,” says Dr. Mamikonian, who sees patients from newborn age into their mid-20s with a wide variety of medical issues. “It suits my personality as I am very meticulous and detail-oriented. I like the hands on work which requires me to place central lines, chest tubes and breathing tubes.”
“At Benjamin and Evergreen I distinctly remember our music teacher, Gussie Williams, very fondly, and second grade with Jan Newingham when we worked on several fun plays,” she recalls. Benjamin teachers who made a lasting impact include Mark Mason, social studies, Mark Bradbury, science, and Diann Gerrity, reading/language arts.
“Although I remember liking science, I was a huge bookworm and am still an avid reader,” she states. “The wonderful Benjamin 25 teachers helped lead me to my first chosen career of teaching. But I realized I was not cut out for the classroom and developed a passion for medicine only when I was nearing the end of college.”
Dr. Mamikonian says she was never athletic during her Benjamin and Evergreen days, but she does fondly remember when the new gym was built at Benjamin and attended a sock hop dance which helped to kick things off. She was part of the Benjamin spelling team and says she suspects every eighth grade girl was on the pom-pom squad that year. In addition, she fondly recalls the outdoor education trip and 8th grade trip.