Dr. Tehrany shared his story on becoming successful orthopedic surgeon
Recently, Dr. Armin Tehrany was a guest in an online panel discussion titled “How I got here?” held by Poly Prep Country Day School. As an honorable alumnus of the school, Dr. Tehrany was pleased to share his own story of becoming an orthopedic surgeon with the new generation of students attending the school.The Associate Head of School at Poly Prep, Kyle Graham, introduced the event as an attempt to help kids navigate the college process as they often don’t understand the different paths available to them. According to Kyle, Dr. Tehrany’s story was the perfect example that college students can pursue different interests for the rest of their lives, the same way Dr. Tehrany nurtured his passion for both arts and medicine. Doctor Tehrany sat on the panel alongside Minya O., a writer, radio host, and long-time contributor to the world of Hip Hop.As participants from such different backgrounds, Dr. Tehrany and Minya brought a wealth of information. They both attributed their level of success to the hard work and the example shown to them by their immigrant families.Dr. Tehrany attended Poly Prep for 8 years and graduated in 1987. He started his story by stating that Poly Prep brought his best friends into his life.
“I want to start by saying that my best friends in life are from Poly Prep. It’s how I was raised at Poly that gave me the confidence to achieve whatever it is I put my mind to.
He continued by sharing what gave him the strength and helped him focus on becoming one of the top New York orthopedic surgeons:
“My attitude was to do the best I can to be the best in the field. It was just an attitude of having to work hard and having to strive to go as far as I can.”
Dr. Tehrany also expressed his gratitude to be enrolled in an institution that genuinely helped him achieve high goals in life and his career.
“What I love about where I went to school is that there was an expectation to do the best I can and it was really well fostered. When you have a group around you that not only believe in you but can provide what it is that you need and understand your weaknesses, it’s wonderful.”
He then continued sharing the important role his parents played in everything he did in his life.
“My parents played a big role, as well. We are from Iran, Persian Jews, and for me to have seen what my father and mother had to go through played a big role in me going to where I want to go.
Going up the ladder, I had to sacrifice a lot because I knew I wanted to be a doctor when I was seven, and I wanted to be like my dad. He came from another country, brought the family, took care of them, operated on people, saved lives, and I said: this guy is amazing, I want to be like him. And to be like him, I had to be honorable, and I had to work hard, I had to do the right thing.”
Dr. Tehrany gladly admits that his father’s honorability, ethics, and authenticity greatly impacted his education and growth.
“I think that to get to a higher level it is important to learn the value of authenticity, learn the value of how to communicate in an honest way. And as a physician, you are being trusted with people’s lives. They are coming to see you to get your opinion about a field that they don’t really know really well. WebMD is not going to give you a scoop on what your issue is. You need a human being to listen to what you are saying, empathize with you, and be able to trust you. It’s really important to understand the value of trust.”
On the question of the best and the most challenging part of his work, Dr. Tehrany explained that communication with other people, building trust, and helping them feel empowered is what he loves the most and what keeps him motivated.
“I’d say the best part of what I do is being able to give anyone my measured opinion, meaning, I can tell people the upsides and downsides of what I think they need. I can just tell them honestly: this is your problem, and if you want it fixed, you can be aggressive, and these are the benefits and drawbacks to that, or you can be conservative, that’s ok, these are the benefits and drawbacks to that. You can decide!
I enjoy the ability to have that dialog and help and let them feel empowered. That I love, that really feels good. And the comradery, I’m a people person, I love to be around people, and I love to help, and I love the energy of working together.
The most challenging thing for me is when there is miscommunication, and when there is fear that is associated with: can I rely on what he is saying, is this going to go the direction I want? I like the challenge of when I’m working with someone to figure out what it is they are not telling me, what it is they are worried about, what it is they are trying to say? That is a great challenge, and the further up that I go, the more excited I’m about how to overcome the challenge.”
According to Dr. Tehrany, there is more in life than just becoming famous.
“It’s important that you accomplish and to feel good about what you have accomplished. If it is authentic and honorable, that’s how you get known. That’s how you get “famous”, maybe not on a large scale but in your own community. That’s what I wanted.”
In his early ages, Dr. Tehrany developed an interest in the arts. He tried different forms of art, but his love for medicine was stronger. He pursued his career in orthopedics, and he still nurtured the artist in him.
“I played in a rock band in high school, I worked in a theatre, I played sports, but I knew that I couldn’t do it simultaneously if I wanted to be a physician. I kept the artist in me. I highly recommend to the audience that whatever it is you are going to do, be involved in the arts in some shape or form because it’s the art that moves the world. The movies, the music, those are things that change and move the world. Physicians are artists, and medicine is an art. It’s not a science. We try to make it scientific, but it is the art of healing others and knowing how to talk to them and how to understand.”
The discussion further led to Dr. Tehrany sharing his mentor’s impact and the role she played in his development as a person and a physician. He also shared powerful advice for the Poly Prep students as they think of their next steps.
“Considering the year we had, I think it’s important to realize that this has got to be the toughest thing you’ve been through in your life. Take the time to understand what life is about now.”
Try to keep yourself level-headed, to understand yourself better. Try to keep yourself busy and keep your mind moving. Try to be kinder. Pursue whatever your passion is. Life can be short, so enjoy what you can, and stay focused. This is a very unusual time, and I think it’s important to take the time with your family and close friends and get deep about what really matters to you. Now is the time to slow down a little bit and figure yourself out.”
At the end of the panel, the students had an opportunity to ask Dr. Tehrany about success story with famous athletes, what vitamins should people take to be strong as those athletes, and most interestingly, they asked if he ever experienced Imposter’s syndrome and how did he overcome it.The learn more about Dr. Tehrany’s story, watch the video, and enjoy the meaningful and interesting discussion.