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News Archive - Progress Newsletter Spring 2001 Online

Dr. Joe Gets Love Letters

Once a month, Joe Graziano, M.D., walks over from C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, where he is a pediatric cardiology fellow, and sits down at the baby grand piano in the Cancer Center. For one hour, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., "Dr. Joe" is the featured performer for the Healing Arts program's Music Mondays. Strains of his light jazz carry over to patients, their families and staff, and move them beyond the limits of their day-to-day experiences. Dr. Joe's music has the ability to convey relaxation and healing directly to the hearts of his listeners.

One case in point is a patient who was leaving the Infusion Center after treatment. As she neared the elevators to take her down to Level B2 and parking, she heard the music. It pulled her toward the Pharmacy area. She sat and listened. Then, not wanting to interrupt, she wrote a note and placed it on top of the piano. "I'm not feeling very well but you have truly made my day."

Research tells us that music can change physiological states. Music helps slow the heartbeat and warm the hands. It allows one to breathe deeply and release body tension. Benefits of music also include decreased perception of pain and increased tolerance and endurance for procedures such as chemotherapy. Music also reduces nausea, fatigue and emotional distress.

Dr. Joe, who grew up in New York City, began playing the piano at age 12 and studied with a famous jazz musician. He says that he loves playing in the Cancer Center because he enjoys watching people's reactions to his music. Sometimes the applause comes from Dr. Joe's cardiology buddies and his wife, Kathy, a U-M surgery resident. No matter who is in the audience, everyone says they wish they could sit and listen for the entire hour.


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