The singing surgeon

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It was an unusual thing for a doctor to do, but one day this spring, Paul Bryson ’00 took to the field at a Cleveland Indians home game and belted out the national anthem. “I was nervous,” he says, “but I would do it again.”

Music and science—those have been Bryson’s favorites for a long time. As an undergrad, he was a Hilltopper and a Denison Singer while majoring in biology. Then he went on to the University of Pittsburgh Medical School and while there, he joined the Mendelssohn Choir, the chorus of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, practicing between classes and labs.

It was during a med school lecture on the history of laryngology, the study of the voice box and the larynx, that Bryson decided to put those passions together in his career. That path led him to a surgical residency in otolaryngology at North Carolina Chapel Hill and to his current position as a surgeon at Cleveland Clinic’s Head and Neck Institute.

His singing gig at the Indians game was his way of bringing recognition to World Voice Day, a day designed to raise awareness about voice disorders and diseases, like vocal chord paralysis and vocal chord cancers, and to encourage vocal health.

The doc’s advice? Avoid irritants, like cigarette smoke, and foods that can cause acid reflux, like alcohol and hot wings.  And if you must scream at the referee or beg Lady Gaga for One more song! One more song! be sure to rest your voice in the days that follow.

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