Allen Bishop, M.D., thought he'd had this whole work-life balance thing pretty well licked. An orthopedic hand surgeon for Mayo Clinic, Dr. Bishop had been spending his time away from the operating room scratching his life-long musical itch by performing with the Rochester Symphony Orchestra. The side gig dates back to his early days at Mayo. "I started playing with the Rochester Symphony the year I graduated from college in 1975," Dr. Bishop tells us. "I was working as a lab technician in the molecular biology lab here at Mayo Clinic at the time, and I continued playing once I started at Mayo Medical School in 1977."
He hasn't stopped since — not even through five years of residency training at Mayo Clinic or his early days on staff as a newly minted orthopedic surgeon. "I was away for one year from the fall of 1986 to the fall of 1987, but all in all, I've been a member of the Rochester Symphony for more than 40 years," Dr. Bishop tells us.
And all in all, it gave him a nice balance. But then retired Mayo Clinic neurologist Shelley Cross, M.D., changed up the tempo by telling Dr. Bishop about an orchestra she'd been playing in. It was made up of physicians, medical students and dentists from all over the world and called, appropriately enough, the World Doctors Orchestra. "I went to their website and looked at their mission statement, and it was just ideal for me because their goal is to promote world health and the availability of health care," he tells us. "And they do that by playing benefit concerts all over the world."
It is his forte, after all. So it's no surprise that Dr. Bishop just returned from Poland, where the group played a series of concerts to raise money for DKMS Foundation Poland, an organization that helps register bone morrow donors.
"The orchestra is doing some good for health care and it also enables me to do what I love to do outside of surgery, which is play music," Dr. Bishop says. It also allows him to share a little of his medical expertise along the way. "I generally try to arrive at each site before or stay after each concert so that I can give some lectures at a local university," he says. "That's allowed me to make connections with colleagues throughout the world that continue to serve me well in my work at Mayo Clinic. It also helps build Mayo Clinic's reputation throughout the world." (Call us biased, but we like the sound of that tune.)
Dr. Bishop and the World Doctors Orchestra crew (including fellow Mayo Clinic physicians Rafael Jimenez, M.D., Benn Smith, M.D., and Dr. Cross) will be at it again in February in Israel. If you can't fit that into your plans, you can see Dr. Bishop play with the Rochester Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m. inside Mayo Civic Center's Dr. Charles H. Mayo Presentation Hall.
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