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Jason D. Buchwald, M.D. ’97, Found Success in Both Medicine and Music

Dr. Buchwald, The Founder Of The Arrythmias and Grammy Award Nominee, Has Always Intertwined His Two Passions

September 06, 2022
Jason D. Buchwald, M.D. ’97
Jason D. Buchwald, M.D. ’97

What made you choose New York Medical College?

As I am from Brooklyn originally, I loved the idea of being close to the city and eventually living in the city—which I did for my clinical years—one block away from Saint Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center. I have so many good memories at that hospital.

What is your fondest memory of New York Medical College?

There are many great memories, but perhaps the pinnacle was graduation at Carnegie Hall.  As someone who has long led a double life as both a musician and a physician, I can’t think of anything more “me” than not only reaching graduation from medical school after four years of hard work—and as the founder of the Arrhythmias nearly four years prior—but being in a position to arrange a five-part rendition of the National Anthem and singing with my fellow Arrhythmia classmates in Carnegie Hall.  So now I can always say I sang at the iconic Carnegie Hall. Even on graduation day, I still was both a physician and a musician. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Briefly describe your current role:

On the physician side, currently I work as a Locums hospitalist after being with established groups previously. Though I originally started doing that in Arizona, I re-activated my New York license and was actually working in New York during the height of the pandemic. It was great to be able to contribute in what I consider my home state. I also work with hospice and nursing homes, separate from my hospital work. On occasion, I also do some medical legal work where I help defend physicians. On the musician side, I have contributed to a number of albums, one of which was nominated for a Grammy Award, I am in process of finishing up some of my own compositions, and have been fortunate to do some shows with Foghat, the Goo Goo Dolls and members of AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Boston and Steely Dan. I also write for a music magazine as the senior keyboard editor.

What do you love most about your field of medicine?

Well, that’s tough to answer, as there have been so many changes to medicine since I first started medical school in 1993. At the end of the day, it is still about helping others and making a difference. There are some days that is tougher to navigate, but that’s still what it is all about.

Who or what inspired you to pursue your field?

My father, now retired, was a physician, so I grew up looking at all sorts of slides under the microscope where he worked as a pathologist. I liked science, and in school I was good at it, even taking Advanced Placement (AP) biology in high school and getting a nearly perfect score on the AP test. But again, I was drawn to helping people. I liken medicine to music—with medicine, you are using science, physical exams and medications, while with music you are using sound—but both are similar in that you are reaching out to make a difference in someone’s life.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

I have been fortunate in many ways over the years, but I am quite proud of an award I got during the pandemic. Although I was previously a professor of medicine at an affiliate of The Mount Sinai Hospital and did quite a bit of teaching early in my career after residency, during 2019 and 2020, I was working as a Locum hospitalist in New York during the pandemic and one of my responsibilities was to be the ward attending. Much to my surprise the residents awarded me the Golden Apple Award, which is a teaching award. Despite me being “the Locums guy”, I was the only medicine attending who received this—not even their regular employees got it. I have the plaque hanging in my office and I am very proud of it.

Based on your experiences, what advice would you give to future students and/or future alumni of New York Medical College?

Time management is key. It is possible to "do it all,” but you have to manage your time very well as there are only 24 hours in a day. Also, make sure you make time to do things you enjoy. I admit I was much happier at NYMC once I had a music outlet like the Arrhythmias. Balance is important and can make you more productive.

When you're not working, where are you most likely to be found/what are you most likely to be doing?

I ran the New York City marathon once and still like to run even when they are not marathons. I also enjoy travel and cooking—I lived in Japan during college so that cuisine is my specialty. Besides that, I will be in my professional music studio writing and recording music, and writing articles for the magazine. Hopefully I will get back to playing live more often now that the pandemic is over. Of course, I will also be spending time with my wife, on different adventures somewhere, sometimes simply in our backyard.