Arnold Henry MD, of Indiana University Health is no stranger to struggle. Growing up, the African-American physician had a lot on his plate. His formative years, by his own admission, weren’t easy. “They could make a movie about my life,” he explains. Dr. Henry grew up in the inner city of Baltimore, Maryland, a rough neighborhood, he says. “I got into a lot of fights—fighting on the way to school, at the bus stop, coming home from the store. It was a regular thing,” he says.
Even though things were rough around him, the seed to be a doctor was planted early in his life. “My mom was ill when I was young and she was in and out of the hospital and I saw that everyone—doctors, nurses, the admitting staff—was really nice,” recalls Dr. Henry. Dr. Henry’s interactions with doctors growing up were positive, so it wasn’t a surprise that he went into the profession.
By middle school, his life took a different direction. “I got into band and learned how to play the trumpet and the drums. I also got into track and field in high school and soon discovered that I was really good at sports. All of these activities were a good way for me to get away from the streets,” he says. Music and sports also played a big role in keeping him out of trouble.
After high school, Dr. Henry enrolled in Morgan State University in Baltimore. He then decided to attend medical school at Meharry Medical College in Nashville TN, and then participated in a residency in family medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, before completing a fellowship in sports medicine at Indiana University Health in 2014, where they offered him a position.
“I enjoy my job at IU Health and living in Indiana,” says Dr. Henry. “Initially, I wasn’t sure how invited I would be into a predominantly white environment, with the background I had.” But he explains that he’s always felt very welcomed. “Doing sports medicine at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital, it’s a diverse office, both in staff and patient population,” he explains.
He’s also very involved in outreach for at-risk-youth, targeting young people who may be getting into trouble and need some guidance getting on the right path. “Outreach is an important part of my calling as a doctor,” he explains. In fact, he has an adopted son that he mentored as part of the big brother program when he was in medical school, that led to Dr. Henry taking partial custody of him. That son is now 24 (Dr. Henry took him in when Dr. Henry was only 24 and his now son was 13).
“I had a lot of obstacles in my life that I had to overcome,” Dr. Henry says. But, nothing is impossible if you work hard, he explains.
In addition to being a physician, mentoring kids, and being active in his church, Dr. Henry is also a runner. “I love working out, I’m in the gym all the time,” he says. “I run on the master’s level at USATF (USA Track & Field Indiana) I won the state championship,” he proudly explains.
But at the end of the day, Dr. Henry genuinely enjoys his role at IU Health. “I love helping folks, seeing them get better,” he says.
-- By Judy Koutsky