June 25, 2015, Washington, DC. — Iranian American physician, Arshya Vahabzadeh, was recently named as one of MedTech Boston’s 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovators—a list of forty accomplished young professionals working to better the United States healthcare system.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Dr. Vahabzadeh is currently a physician in child and adolescent psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital. He is also a Clinical Fellow in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the health strategy lead at Brain Power, a technology startup focused on autism.
After witnessing the disadvantages facing children with developmental disabilities in our healthcare and educational systems, the 34 year-old committed himself to improving the U.S. healthcare system, specifically in regards to neurological diseases like autism. While he is an advocate for the autism community overall, his special focus is on children affected by autism.
“I think that if you want guaranteed returns, you must invest in children,” Dr. Vahabzadeh told PAAIA in an interview. “The ability to intervene and provide assistance in the earliest years of life can allow for a radical improvement in the trajectory of a person’s life.”
Dr. Vahabzadeh’s Iranian roots have had a large impact on his life and career. The consistent encouragement of his family and the Iranian community has been incredibly helpful in overcoming the challenges he has faced. He points to the community’s “collective pride in the achievement of its individual members,” which helps to drive him and other Iranian Americans toward excellence.
When thinking about his heritage in the context of his career, Dr. Vahabzadeh concludes that there needs to be a broader discussion about mental health within the Iranian American community. He proposed that many Iranian Americans feel unable to get help with mental health issues due to fear of stigmatization, and he advocates for the Iranian American community to work together to change this.
Dr. Vahabzadeh’s innovative spirit and continued perseverance are gaining the attention of the medical community and making a difference in people’s lives. He serves as an excellent example to the Iranian American community on how to change the world for the better.
“Be curious, and live in the grey zone of life,” Dr. Vahabzadeh advises young Iranian Americans. “The process is sometimes more important than the outcome. Whether you “win” or “lose”, you must understand “why”; that’s the only way to improve. Have good mentors who allow you your own space to grow.”
Click here to read MedTech Boston’s spotlight on Arshya Vahabzadeh.
Click here to access Arshya Vahabzadeh’s website.