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Dr. Arash Javanbakht | Psychiatrist, neuroscientist & award-winning humanitarian

Meet a humanitarian who has done so much for the community. Dr. Arash Javanbakht is a brilliant mind, dedicated to helping others and is an inspiration to us all. His research has been featured on and in CNN, Aljazeera, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, Smithsonian, PBS, American Psychiatric Association Press Briefing, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, among others.

As a clinician, Dr. Javanbakht works with displaced populations, survivors of torture and human trafficking, first responders and refugees. We were so grateful to meet such a wonderful and humble person. We asked him a few questions.

What is the most meaningful part of your job?

Helping people have a more prosperous, happy, and full life. It is great to see a patient suffering and very disabled from impact of horrible traumatic experiences, find their way back to the livelihood and functionality they had before. That truly gives meaning to my life. As well, mentoring the young curious minds into finding their true self, their talents, and the path they would want to pursue in their career.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t worry too much, you, and things will be fine. Follow what gives you joy, above and beyond the expectations of the family, teachers, peers, and the society.

What is one industry book that a newcomer must read?

This is not an industry book, but is a book that is the result of decades of my own life and career. The book “AFRAID: Understanding the Purpose of Fear and Harnessing the Power of Anxiety” that is coming out later this year, covers many aspects of fear and anxiety, including evolution, brain and body, why we love to be scared, fear and bravery, meaning, creativity, diseases of fear and trauma and how we treat them, and politics of fear and media. I believe it is important learning as fear guides and distorts much of what we do in our lives, and is used by many parties that influence our lives. Knowing how it works in us, and how to manage it, can be pivotal to a fulfilling life.

What gives you fulfillment in life?

As cheesy as it might sound, seeking happiness and sharing it with others is the main goal of my life. Being able to enjoy, truly, what is in life, and helping others find and maintain joy, is an important compass that guides not only my personal life, but also my career as a psychiatrist.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“I'm not afraid of dying. I'm afraid I haven't been alive enough.”

- From the movie “Mr. Nobody”

This quote is very close to my heart as very often our ambitions and ability for truly enjoying life get tainted by the expectations from within and without, and we get used to boredom and a lack of livelihood, a passion for life, and living every day to its fullest. If one truly lives the life, death will not be much of a problem.

Find him on social media:

Instagram: arash_javanbakht

Twitter: arjavanbakht


1000 Spotlights: Why We Give reflects our mission of giving back, to mentor and to inspire those around us. Through a series of interview questions, we explore intrinsic motivations behind why we give, and talk with those inclined to make a difference in the lives of others. If you are involved in charitable activities, volunteer and paid academic engagements or in community service, we want to talk to you.

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