By Nancy McCann
Editor’s note: We’ve started a new occasional blog series! Do you ever wonder what our super-docs and super-staff do on the weekends, during their downtime? Well, our Research Communications team did, and we created “Off Campus” to discover what our amazing Research Institute employees do for fun, recreation, and the good of their communities. Get a glimpse into their lives once they take off their capes … umm, we mean lab coats and business shoes. And if you know someone in your department or lab with a fascinating hobby or interest, we’d like to hear about it!
As a senior emergency medicine physician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Joel Fein, MD, MPH, embodies these words by caring for the urgently and critically ill, teaching and mentoring new Emergency Department doctors and young researchers, and co-directing CHOP’s Violence Prevention Initiative. But when the figurative end-of-work whistle blows, our CHOP doc exchanges his scrubs and stethoscope for faded jeans and electric guitar.
Dr. Fein plays guitar, saxophone, and shares his vocals with the CHOP-based Beatles cover band, Osler Circle. The group’s name pays homage to the Fab Four’s penchant for titling songs after roads such as “Penny Lane,” “Abbey Road,” and “Blue Jay Way.” Osler Circle is a street that loops in front of several CHOP research buildings at University City Campus.
Music has been a part of Dr. Fein’s life from an early age. He started piano lessons at age 7, guitar at 9, and saxophone in junior high school.
“I had an embarrassingly bad, but very inexpensive, wedding/bar mitzvah band in my teenage years,” he admitted with a laugh. And in college, at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., he played in both jazz and rock-and-roll bands. “I’ve grown up playing music, so joining Osler Circle has been a fantastic opportunity for me to continue.”
Many of his OC bandmates are CHOP employees too, including two singing ED colleagues: Jeannine Del Pizzo, MD, (vocals/percussion), and Lauren Von Holtz, MD, MPH, (vocals/percussion/flute). Jim Steven, MD, (percussion) is a cardiac anesthesiologist, and Frank Wartinger, AuD, ABAC, (guitar/keyboards) is an audiologist. The founder of the band, Jeff Fine, PsyD, (drums) is on the Foundation Board of Overseers that is dedicated to bolstering the mission of CHOP through philanthropic support.
“What we try to do is create really good music and have fun at the same time,” Dr. Fein said. “It’s been a nourishing experience for all of us in the band, as we have very stressful jobs. As we age through these jobs, it makes us feel healthy and younger and excited to play with each other.”
The band members not only share their medical expertise and research knowledge with Children’s Hospital, but also all the ticket sales proceeds from their concerts. To date, they’ve donated close to $30,000.
Osler Circle is performing this weekend: 7 p.m., Sunday, July 14, at Ardmore Music Hall. Next, they’ll rock World Café Live in West Philly at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21. Visit OslerCircle.org to learn more, sign up for their mailing list, and buy tickets. And get a preview of their performances by watching this video.
“I think it’s important for people to have something in their lives that allows them to be creative and have different experiences that use their talents,” Dr. Fein said. “And for us, this is what we do. Music is such a healing entity.”
Just like a Beatles song.