Innovating Healing Through Music

By Raffi Tachdjian M.D., MPH (CH'87) 
Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, UCLS School of Medicine 
Innovation keeps us young, healthy, and fulfilled. I have always tried to push the envelope in order to come up with new solutions, whether they be in medicine, on the sports field, or in the music studio. Campbell Hall gave me the liberty and tools necessary to explore possibilities and develop the skills needed to go to the next steps. As an adult and pediatric allergist, I treat allergies and asthma, but I’m also the consulting physician for a number of rare (orphan) diseases in Los Angeles. I’m kept me on my toes to diagnose, treat, and hopefully improve the lives of these patients who are often told by others that there’s nothing more that can be done for them. As a musician and founder of Children’s Music Fund (TheCMF.org), I’ve enjoyed growing an idea that started 15 years ago when I saw patients becoming anxious and fearful from procedures in and out of the hospital. At the time, I was a pediatric intern seeing chronically ill kids at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Since that time, we have grown this organization to serve over 2,000 kids in nine states and counting! We bring music therapy into the lives of these sick children to knock out fear, pain, and anxiety so that they can focus on knocking out their disease. We raise money to pay for music therapists who empower patients over the course of 10 weeks. We also purchase an instrument of choice for any kid in the program who wishes to have his/her own tool for getting stronger. Lastly, we measure the improvement and the changes that music therapy brings about in the patient so that we can accelerate the process towards becoming a healthy kid again. Our fundraising is mainly through gifts in kind and via music events. Our last fundraiser was at the Village Recording studio in Santa Monica, where the likes of Coldplay and Elton John just finished their latest albums. I’m also proud to have two Campbell Hall champions on our board. The first is Jean Grasso ’89, a lifelong friend from my high school days and an energetic executive board member from early on. The other is Mike Post, a prolific musician whose compositions I grew up hearing on TV shows and whose daughter was a friend of mine while at Campbell Hall. Interestingly, he is both a father and grandfather at Campbell Hall. I’m proud to say that we are innovating and optimizing health care for children from any walk of life and with any condition. Our latest project involves setting up a mobile laboratory that kids can keep under their pillow. This system records biometric measures and can give us insight into not just the illness but the quickest path to health and a normal life. We are committed to knocking out fear, pain, and anxiety while empowering the patient through the common language of music we all speak. After all, how did you learn your ABCs?
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Campbell Hall is an independent coeducational day school for grades K-12, located in Studio City, CA. We are affiliated with the Episcopal Church and its 500-year history of academic excellence, and are also one of the most religiously and racially diverse schools in southern California.

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