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From Basketball Dreams to Saving Lives
Dr. Donald Arnette
All it took was this simple, yet profound question: “How do you want to live when you grow up,” from his father to spark the dream of becoming a doctor for Dr. Donald Arnette. At the young age of 12, he knew he wanted to play basketball and, like most of us, become rich. It wasn’t until Dr. Arnette had to answer that question for his dad that reality set in, and he decided to redefine his life goals.
Born in New Orleans in 1973, Dr. Arnette moved to the Dallas, Texas area in 1979. He went on to earn a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology from the University of North Texas in 1997.
Dr. Arnette was the first African-American male to receive a Ph.D. from the Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Nobel Prize winning physicians, Drs. Mike Brown and Joel Goldstein, led his post-doctoral fellowship in cardiology in the department of Human Growth and Development.
Working to uncover the high rates of cardiovascular disease in the African-American community, Dr. Arnette joined the Dallas Heart Study and the American Heart Association for two years. He also led the Genetics of Longevity in African-American Study, and devoted countless hours developing effective drugs with minimal side effects, working for Bristol Myers Squibb, Onyx Pharmaceuticals and Dendreon. Currently, Dr. Arnette’s primary focus is in oncology. He now serves as the Senior Medical Liaison for Amgen Pharmaceuticals, a company that’s trying to advance technology in the area of cancer.
His book, I Am Supposed to Be Here, was the result of an interaction with law enforcement. The policeman told him, “You don’t look like you’re supposed to be here,” which provided the impetus to write the book to change how young people define success, to offer better ways to handle authority figures, and to share his practical methods for overcoming personal challenges.
Always on a mission to serve others, Dr. Arnette travels the country, doing motivational speaking and mentoring, while inspiring and informing his audiences, young and old. He doesn’t believe in letting the past dictate the future. He tells others to make the future whatever they want it to be by staying committed to their goals and dreams. He also teaches people that there’s always a right way to fight, and to choose discretion, which is the best part of valor.