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The Music of Medicine: Physician Playlists 2

Sterile is the perfect word to describe how you want your physical surroundings when you’re seeing your doctor or having surgery. But it’s not the word you want to describe the mood.

Music helps doctors and their teams connect and create the right energy for getting their jobs done. A few months ago, some of our physicians shared their playlists and why they love listening to music while they work.

We asked a few more to share the songs they use to set the mood for great medicine.

Dr. Kelly Wright
Cedars-Sinai minimally invasive gynecologic surgeon Kelly Wright, MD

“It may surprise some that my surgery playlist and my running playlist are the same,” says Dr. Wright.

She’s a 9-time marathoner and one of the first 1,000 people in the world to complete the World Marathon Majors circuit, a series of the 6 most celebrated races in the world.

“I think surgery demands the same type of training that marathoning does: endurance, muscle memory, precision, and skill. A good playlist with a low, constant beat, minor tones, and a rising chorus keeps me focused on the long road (or surgery) ahead,” she says.

Many of her colleagues agree. More than one doctor we asked to share their playlist with us said they like to listen to Dr. Wright’s list on Spotify.

  • Honey — Robyn
  • Swish Swish — Katy Perry featuring Nicki Minaj
  • Feel the Love — Rudimental featuring John Newman
  • Warm — SG Lewis; "I love the dissonant piano chords overlaid with the bass. It has an unexpectedly driving beat. I would probably say that about all of the songs!"
  • Blame — Calvin Harris featuring John Newman
  • Paris — The Chainsmokers
  • What About Us — P!nk; "I love how P!nk’s powerful voice builds into the instrumental interlude. It’s inspiring!"
  • Secrets — OneRepublic
Dr. Azadeh Dashti
Cedars-Sinai supportive care medicine Azadeh Dashti, MD

“It’s really important for us, especially in supportive care, to process our emotions and to appreciate life,” Dr. Dashti says. “Music is like a conduit of human emotions and storytelling. It helps lift you up and helps you be present in the moment, which is crucial.”

Her playlist features an eclectic mix of music, including soul, classical, and international music.

Dr. Allan Silberman

Dr. Silberman brings a mix of familiar classic rock favorites to keep focused and moving while he works.

Dr. Natasha Trentacosta
Cedars-Sinai orthopaedic surgeon Natasha Trentacosta, MD

Dr. Trentacosta bravely sets her phone on shuffle and plays whatever songs come up.

“It’s something we used to do in residency,” she says. “I’ve learned to embrace my quirky, atypical-for-an-orthopaedic surgeon playlist.”

Dr. Karen Zaghiyan
Cedars-Sinai colorectal surgeon Karen Zaghiyan, MD

Music helps her team work efficiently, focus better, and feel more at ease, Dr. Zaghiyan says.

"I love having upbeat tunes that keep the tempo going," she says.

She doesn’t tie herself down to any particular genre either.

Dr. Anca Barbu
Cedars-Sinai otolaryngologist Anca Barbu, MD, FACS

The human voice is an amazing instrument and one that is dear to Dr. Barbu. Singers from all over the world trust their voices to her when they need surgeries that could affect their vocal cords.

When she’s in the OR, it’s a team effort and that includes the music selection. She will frequently let her anesthesiologist pick the music.

"That’s what teamwork is all about," she says.