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'Dr. Rap' is in the house

Posted: November 21, 2008 9:37 p.m.
Updated: November 22, 2008 4:59 a.m.

An EKG machine monitors Ochoa's vital signs while Kojoglanian performs an angiogram, which is essentially an X-ray test to monitor blood flow in an artery.

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Dr. Samuel Kojoglanian delicately snaked a catheter through his patient's arteries and up to his heart. Alex Ochoa's spirits lifted when the doctor later confirmed he had a strong heart.

Two days later, Dr. Rap busted a happy anniversary rhyme for two grateful patients. Ang and Sheryl Pascolla of Valencia said if it weren't for the doctor repairing Ang's dangerously clogged artery just months earlier, they wouldn't have a 50th anniversary to celebrate.

Whether he's repairing hearts in the operating room or rapping a message of compassion in a high school auditorium, Dr. Kojoglanian, otherwise known as Dr. Rap, is consistent in his mission to "heal hearts, mend souls and rock this very planet by God's good grace."

On Nov. 7, colleagues honored Kojoglanian, of Newhall, as Santa Clarita's first board-certified Interventional Cardiologist.

"I think you can get all the drugs you want and all the stents you want, but if I lack in compassion and encouragement, and if I lack in building up my patients, I'm just average," Kojoglanian said. "I want to really touch the heart and souls in my patients and I think that makes an incredible difference in their lives."

Chuck Luttrell of Sylmar can attest to Kojoglanian's medical expertise and uplifting attitude.

"I do believe he saved my life," said Luttrell.

Luttrell went through four doctors before finding Kojoglanian, who discovered Luttrell's congestive heart failure. "He's got the know-how, but he also has a personality that glows," Luttrell said.

But it's not only his patients that Kojoglanian's heart pumps for. He also has a special passion for kids.

Rapping to connect
"I see kids across the nation on drugs, shooting, killing, bullying each other and my heart is broken," Kojoglanian said.

As someone who was bullied as a child, Kojoglanian understands what it feels like to feel trapped, isolated and unaccepted.

"I moved from an Armenian community of Jerusalem to Chattanooga, Tenn., when I started fourth grade," he said. "I was called the foreigner, I was bullied, pushed down the stairs, came home with bloody noses and told ‘you look, dress, smell, talk funny, you can't even speak English.'"

Fighting his instinct to quit, Kojoglanian learned the Golden Rule, "to treat others as you want to be treated."

"On the way to all this I learned how to rap," he said. "Because I see a lot of hurting students across the states, a lot of insecurity, depression and pain and I want to be a part in reaching out to these students. And that's why I speak their language. It's an incredible feeling to be in an auditorium full of students and these kids are yelling back at (me) and we're bouncing off each other."

Most kids can hardly believe they're rapping back and forth with a real doctor, he said.

He's released three CDs since 1996, the most recent titled "Outrageous Healer."

Writing to connect
As if rapping to hundreds of kids around the nation were not enough, Kojoglanian recently finished "Tommie Bear Goes to School," the second in his series of children's books that tackles the issue of childhood bullying.

"It's a beautiful book about loving your neighbor and honoring your friends," he said. "It's a beautiful way to teach our kids. We can't bully each other. It's not acceptable."

For Kojoglanian, dealing with the issue starts with the basics, he said.

"If we're to teach the kids to treat each other as we want to be treated, I think you'll see bullying go down significantly," he said. "I do believe you can infuse hope instead of antibiotics. Infuse gentleness and compassion and I believe you can infuse love into these kids and see a different outcome.

"The hope that they'll get better drives me to spend more time in trying to somehow reach them."

He is the author of three books for adults that discuss topics such as dreams, forgiveness of the past, looking ahead and facing fears. His Web site is www.drrap.com.

Licensed to heal
As a doctor, a rapper and an author, he wears many different hats.

But for Kojoglanian, it all ties together.

"Medicine has given me the platform to do what I have to do," he said. "I have an incredible compassion for people and that drives me. I want to heal them and I know I can't reach everybody and I think that's why I used different mediums to try to reach them."

Kojoglanian is motivated by the Bible verse Matthew 14:14: "And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick."

"I'm here to serve," he said. "That's it, that's the bottom line."

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