Dr. Jorge G. Camara
Combining medicine with music is what Dr. Jorge G. Camara does best. As an internationally renowned ophthalmologist and classically trained pianist, Camara has infused what he says are clinically proven relaxing properties of classical music with medicine to produce a recently released album, Live from the Operating Room.
“The CD was recorded in the operating room of then St. Francis Medical Center (now Hawaii Medical Center East) when I played live classical piano music for my patients before I operated on their eyes,” says Camara, who works at the Camara Eye Clinic and is a self-proclaimed researcher, educator, humanitarian as well as musician.
“My co-researchers and I found that playing live classical music for patients significantly brought down their blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate. We published the study to share the information with other physicians, and I decided to release the music from the study so that other people could benefit from the music without necessarily having to undergo surgery,” he explains, adding that the album includes many recognizable pieces, including Chopin’s Nocturne In E Flat (To Love Again), Etude in E Major (No Other Love) and Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, to name a few.
Camara completed his residency in ophthalmology at the Baylor College of Medicine Cullen Eye Institute and was awarded the Louis Girard Award as Outstanding Baylor Ophthalmology Alumnus in 2004. He also continues to take piano lessons from Elena Smolina, a graduate of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Music.
“I was fortunate to have parents - especially my father Augusto Camara - who believed in the importance of a musical as well as a formal education,” says Camara, who as a boy would accompany his father on medical rounds and house calls in the Philippines.
Camara appeared on MidWeek‘s cover in April 2001 and has since continued to publish original works in peer-reviewed medical literature, and has discovered a new eyelid condition called involutional lateral entro-pion - afflicting mostly Asians - where the outer lashes turn in and rub against the eye. He’s also been elected president of the Aloha Medical Mission and has used his musical talents to produce and perform in three sold-out concerts to benefit the mission. “I think we are only touching the surface of the healing properties of music,” Camara notes. “As more studies are done, hospitals and operating rooms will judiciously use music to assist patients undergo and recover from their illnesses and surgeries faster. The bond between music and health will continue to grow stronger, and I feel privileged to be a part of this movement.”
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