Dr. Navin Arora is a twelve-year US Army veteran who is passionate about medicine, dermatology, and helping those in need. In collaboration with NYITCOM medical student Viktoria Taranto, he is providing virtual dermatology consultations for Ukrainian nationals through online video communication.
Andrii Panasiuk was a Ukrainian soldier during Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014 when his entire team was gunned down by enemy forces. The sole survivor, Panasiuk, was captured by the Russians and held captive for several months before being exchanged as part of a prisoner exchange between the two countries.
Nearly a decade later, Panasiuk, who lives in western Ukraine during another horrific war with Russia, continues to suffer battlefield injuries, including the effects of having part of his intestines removed, scarring on his lower back, and traumatic damage to his right foot. He is not alone. U.S. military officials estimate that there have been about 100,000 Ukrainian casualties since the war began in late February.
As a U.S. Army physician, Dr. Arora practiced medicine to soldiers around the world, including during deployments in Egypt and Baghdad. As a result, he learned that Ukrainians living in war zones or displaced in Europe needed help with simple and acute skin conditions. For example, Panasiuk’s right foot was severely contracted and deformed, and shrapnel also caused him to lose his big toe.
On Thursday, Panasiuk and his wife Bogdana met with Dr. Arora and his medical student for a virtual consultation as part of a unique free program to support Ukrainian citizens and refugees who cannot access specialized care in their home country.
Dr. Arora, working with medical student Viktoria Taranto, has met on Zoom with over 20 patients in the past four months, examining their ailments and recommending treatment.
“We have a special skill and there’s a need… these civilians are in an unfortunate situation. Between the displacement of home facilities, loss of life, and so forth, we have an opportunity to do something. And I think that’s really important.” – Dr. Arora
Dr. Arora will continue to meet on Zoom with patients where he and Ms. Taranto will examine patient injuries or ailments, discuss discomfort levels and recommend a course of treatment to be employed by their primary physician.
Taranto joined Borealis Dermatology in 2022, which has offices in Garden City and Syosset, while pursuing a degree at NYIT’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Old Westbury. She grew up in western Ukraine and moved to Levittown five years ago to continue her medical studies, however, most of Taranto’s family still live in Ukraine.
When Dr. Arora learned of Taranto’s background and connections to Ukraine, they conceived a plan to help underserved or displaced patients whose conditions are not immediately connected to the ongoing war.
According to Taranto, many Ukrainians have trouble accessing specialized health care while others are afraid to visit hospitals that the Russian military has targeted. In other cases, a patient’s regular dermatologist may not have electricity or could have fled the country.
“We have patients who are still in Ukraine. We have Ukrainians who are abroad, mostly in Europe,” Taranto said. “So this is very important because they don’t have access to good care, especially such specialties as dermatology.”
“What’s 20 minutes out of my day if we can make an impact in someone’s well-being…” Dr. Arora said of the program. “And that’s something special and fortunate that we can do.”
Dermatology is a specialty that can provide relief for many common concerns and complex conditions. Many Ukrainians suffer unnecessarily from these conditions because access to dermatological expertise is no longer available. As the skin expert in Garden City and Nassau County, Dr. Arora had a unique opportunity to reach out to people in need across the globe and provide medical assistance. The Borealis Dermatology team is proud to have a caring veteran leader and support his efforts in providing care to anyone in need.
To find out more about Borealis Dermatology or Dr. Arora, visit our website or call our office at
(516) 246-8800 to schedule your appointment.
Read the full Article – Newsday: “How this Garden City dermatologist and NYIT student are helping Ukrainians”