HSC dedicates musical tribute to healthcare heroes


Published: July 21, 2020

By Sally Crocker

Stephan Davis Aupha

Layer upon layer, a music video is developed, as is a heartfelt message of utmost respect and gratitude.

Such was the case when the HSC School of Public Health planned a special tribute to the healthcare industry, recognizing the many challenges that hospitals, providers, staff and support workers have faced over the long months since the COVID-19 pandemic first barreled into states and communities across the U.S.

“Now, with COVID-19 resurging to unprecedented highs over the summer, it is an even more important time to thank the nation’s healthcare leaders and providers who are working in difficult and dangerous situations to fight the pandemic and help stop the spread of this highly infectious disease,” said Dr. Stephan Davis, Director of HSC’s Master of Health Administration program.

Working with staff from the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA), Dr. Davis and Dr. Arthur Mora, Chair of the HSC Department of Health Behavior and Health Systems, pulled off a surprise opening to this year’s AUPHA annual conference, which was moved to a virtually-attended and recorded event this year.

The AUPHA network includes colleges, universities, faculty, individuals and organizations dedicated to the improvement of health and healthcare delivery in healthcare management and policy education.

Making a music video isn’t an easy process, or a quick one, but as this year’s AUPHA Conference Tribute Sponsor, HSC wanted to do something very special to show how much healthcare professionals are valued in these challenging times.

“The HSC School of Public Health is lucky to have a very talented musician on our faculty, and Dr. Davis was more than willing to select and arrange a well-known song we could make our own for this event,” Dr. Mora said.

A longtime composer and saxophone performer, Dr. Davis found just the right musical material, creating his own version of “Hero,” originally made famous by Mariah Carey.

After finding a high-quality background track, securing copyright approval and scheduling time at a local recording studio, he consulted with a videographer he had worked with before.

With in-studio social-distancing protocols in place, Dr. Davis played saxophone over the background to create the first musical layer. Additional layers of embellishment were then recorded over the song’s final chorus, to build on the melody and create the sound of multiple saxophones playing together.

The audio file was mixed and emailed to Dr. Davis, allowing him to develop the third layer – the video portion – from his own living room at home.

“Even though we weren’t recording for sound at that point, I upped my speakers and played along with the studio mix so the visuals could be realistically captured, as though actually playing live in that moment,” he said.

This method of visually “playing along” enabled Dr. Davis to shed the neck strap, headphones and microphone typically needed for audio production.

Overall, the video was produced in record time – less than two weeks from top-secret idea to finished product.

“We wanted to create a storyline highlighting the roles and sometimes competing priorities of various frontline healthcare workers, so in the finished video, you see different characters, including a wife, mother and professional as she goes through different aspects of her day, caring for others both on the job and at home,” Dr. Davis said.

The story unfolds through cinematic background footage, with the musician’s face as the only live performer recorded.

Dr. Daniel Gentry, AUPHA President and CEO, said the video both moved the organization’s members and took them by total surprise.

“I can’t think of a better way of opening our virtual meeting than with HSC’s tribute to healthcare heroes everywhere,” he said. “We thank HSC, Dr. Mora and the entire team, and especially Dr. Davis, for this tribute and sponsorship of our Annual Meeting.”

The amount of work that goes into an endeavor like this, Dr. Davis noted, “is far exceeded by the emotions and deep gratitude so many Americans are feeling right now for our nation’s healthcare workers.”

“I haven’t felt this moved and inspired in a very long time,” he said.

View the video: Healthcare Heroes