Physicians Healers, Healthcare Heroes—A Video Story
by Mary Rorro, DO
Chair of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) Music and Medicine program, part of the Medical Humanities.
As the impact of Covid-19 played out around the county, the enormous physical and emotional toll faced by physicians, nurses, and the many healthcare providers inspired the creation of this video—Physicians Healers and Healthcare Heroes— to honor their valiant efforts and compassion. They desire to be recognized for giving so much, especially in the early days, to so many patients and their families.
Music in Medicine is a Gift to Healers
The creative arts have the power to add a unique dimension to our work as physicians and to create a special bond between doctor and patient. As chair of the AMWA Music and Medicine Committee, I seek to encourage and mentor AMWA students and physicians to consider incorporating music and the arts in their personal and professional lives. I am committed to engaging women physicians and aspiring medical students in pursuing their creative endeavors.
Following a performance on viola for the AMWA gala in Philadelphia, Eliza Chin, AMWA Executive Director, asked me to compose a theme song for the Centennial the following year. I dedicated “Physicians Healers” to recognize this organization’s one hundred years of advocating for women in medicine.
Honored to compose music for this historic event, I reflected on the history of early women physicians to promote women in medicine, as inspiration for the lyrics. Leaders who yearned to break down barriers to pursue careers in medicine. They challenged the prevailing system that barred women’s entry to earn eventual acceptance. Persevering to achieve their purpose to serve others in a vocation to heal and save lives; a calling that must be answered.
These trailblazing women paved the way for all women in medicine. The lyrics “Leaders of our dreams” refers to the impact of our founding female physicians, including Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, and Ann Preston, the first woman dean of the Woman’s Medical College of Philadelphia, as well as their “doctor descendants.”
The lyrics also speak of “Doctors of the world, united,” as thousands of physicians from AMWA and the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA) convened in New York to mark this incredible milestone in the organization’s impressive history as we carry on the vision of pioneering women leaders, and fulfill our dream as physicians.
Honoring Our Physician Heroes, Physician Healers
We have all been moved by images of doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers in the United States, and around the world as they struggle to help patients stricken with the novel coronavirus. Many essential frontline workers have faced considerable physical, psychological, and traumatic experiences during the pandemic. Women now represent a significant percentage of the global healthcare workforce, in addition to being an integral part of the COVID-19 response. As I see it, our frontline workers have inspired so many, placing themselves in harm’s way for the betterment of humanity—That is what heroes do.
Witnessing the impact the pandemic is having on on physicians and the vast number of healthcare workers at risk, I was inspired to create the song “Healthcare Heroes,” to honor the remarkable courage and compassion of physicians, nurses, and healthcare providers who have been treating patients with Covid-19, and to recognize their service to patients every day.
I felt compelled to honor them through music, and adapted the lyrics to the melody of “Physicians Healers” to honor all healthcare providers through “Healthcare Heroes.” This song is a testament to the ideals of all “healers of the world,” working tirelessly both on front lines and “behind” the front lines.
Then, I was inspired to create a video that combined both songs into a visual musical and artistic tribute to the selfless work of our healthcare heroes, including so many women physicians. I invited several AMWA members to collaborate with me in producing this video production. In particular, premedical student and physician singers as well as Studio AMWA artist Karen Poirier-Brode, MD, CM, contributed to the success of this project.
“Physicians Healers and Healthcare Heroes,” features AMWA, MWIA, and other national and international physicians, nurses, and healthcare providers who contributed photos depicting their roles as women in medicine.
Our video bridges the centuries by honoring trailblazers from past generations and women physicians of our time. We are empowered to continue the enduring legacy of leaders who came before us, as we carry out the meaningful mission of all physician healers and healthcare heroes- transforming the lives of our patients.
I wish to acknowledge the talented members of the AMWA Music and Medicine committee and Studio AMWA, who graciously agreed to join me in producing this video. They are
- Sydelle Ross, MD, Hospice and Palliative Medicine Attending Physician, New Jersey VA Healthcare System and podcast host of Prescriptions In Song, singer
- Joselyn Mercado-Abadie, MD, Commander, Medical Corps, United States Navy, singer
- Caitlin Cavarocchi, University of Pennsylvania post-baccalaureate student, singer and video audio engineer
- Singer Lori Horhor, secretary of AMWA’s National Premedical Student Division from the University of California, Berkeley
- Professionally-trained singers from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, Shelby Jackloski and Becca Rice Fitzpatrick enriched our choir
- And accolades again to our Artist-in-Residence (2020-2021): Karen Poirier-Brode, MD, who contributed her distinctive and lovely artistry to the photo images and video artwork direction. Photographs highlight physicians, nurses, and healthcare providers from the global healthcare community, including members of AMWA and the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA).
- Nurses and additional photos were provided by AtlantiCare Health System of New Jersey. Sincere thanks to Jennifer Tornetta, Vince Maione, Susan Gallagher, Harold Kudler, MD, and Robert T. Sataloff, MD, for their contributions.
Dr. Rorro invites all members of AMWA and MWIA to join the Music and Medicine Committee and become “Music Ambassadors.
Are you ready to bring together your medical talents and your creative gifts? Then Join Us.
Together, we are changing the world!