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Dr. Priscilla Yee

Dr. Priscilla Yee

Medical personnel, researchers and first responders are sacrificing their health and wellbeing every day for the safety of our community. And while their bravery rarely goes unnoticed, what the public may not see are the personal lives behind the heroes, the talents and passions that fuel their lives beyond the bounds of their professions. Talents and passions like music. Learn more about these community connections in our Summer 2020 Newsletter

As an experienced geriatrician and the current Medical Director of Acute Care for Elders program at the Sacramento VA in California, Dr. Priscilla Yee is an expert on all things senior care. She’s also an incredibly talented musician with experience in wind ensembles, marching bands, symphonies, jazz band, and even a SKA band! After learning piano at a young age, Dr. Yee joined Band  at Iolani School, where she gravitated toward percussion. “Perhaps it was the discipline, technique and precision required, or just the plain fun of banging on things and the potential to drive my parents crazy with my practicing at home!” Either way, Dr. Yee pursued her passion for percussion, which led her to join HYS.

“I spent two years in YSII with Mr. Nakasone before gaining the courage to audition for YSI with Mr. Miyamura,” said Dr. Yee. “I loved that the versatility of percussion and piano allowed me to be a part of so many different types of music groups, and I made so many great memories and friendships during those days.”

Now in the era of coping with COVID-19, Dr. Yee, like so many other medical professionals, turns to music as an escape from and expression of her emotions. “However you choose to enjoy it, whether it’s continuing to play an instrument, listening to a playlist during a workout, or using it to relax and calm down at the end of a stressful workday, music can be an integral part of wellness and mindfulness.”

Through her Acute Care for Elders team, Dr. Yee provides music for older patients to listen to while hospitalized, which helps to stimulate their minds in a positive way and can distract them from the pain they may be experiencing. “Just last week, I was taking care of a man with progressive dementia and very poor short-term memory,” reflected Dr. Yee. “When I asked about his earlier life and learned more about who he was as a person, we ended up bonding over our love of music. Without hesitation, he then belted out the full chorus to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony—in German! It was a major chicken skin (and “Band Geek”) moment for me.”

“Just last week, I was taking care of a man with progressive dementia and very poor short-term memory . . . Without hesitation, he then belted out the full chorus to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony—in German! It was a major chicken skin (and ‘Band Geek’) moment for me.”