Music and Medicine Meet at Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Over the past six months, antibiotics, vaccines, and IV fluids haven’t been the only medicines dispensed at the Martinsburg Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center. Thanks to the work of dedicated staff and volunteers, local musicians provided music therapy to Veterans and VAMC staff with a series of six summer concerts.
This concert series began when Stephen “Wade” Crounse, a VA IT professional and country music artist, brought together local musicians to play a lunchtime series of concerts to lift the spirits of both Veterans and medical center staff.
The inspiration for the concert series was personal — Mr. Crounse often went with his father to his medical center visits, finding a profound sense of community. These visits helped him realize the importance of providing care not just for the body, but for the mind and soul as well. As an Army Veteran himself, Crounse described his personal experience using music to ease his homesickness and how that might help those receiving treatment.
“It’s nice to have a little piece of America when you’re in the hospital trying to get better,” he said.
Just as a team of doctors, nurses, and pharmacists coordinate a patient’s medical treatment, Mr. Crounse and his band of fellow musicians, including other VA employees, orchestrate the music selection process for these concerts. The musicians follow physician guidance and are mindful of selecting music that listeners will appreciate and that is appropriate for a medical setting.
Crounse hopes that this concert series expands to other VA medical centers to provide a connection between performers, Veterans, and their caregivers. This series is a stellar reminder that care doesn’t always mean medication or physical therapy. Care — especially in VA — means providing exemplary customer service, making meaningful connections, and giving back to those who gave the most for the freedoms we enjoy.