Steven G. Eisenberg, DO ’96


August 28, 2017

Co-founder and Staff Oncologist, California Cancer Associates for Research and Excellence; and DrSteven.com, San Diego, California

[as told to David McKay Wilson]

Steven G. Eisenberg, DO ’96 “My dad [Barry Eisenberg, DO ’71] believed in the connection between artistic expression and healing. During medical school, I found my dad’s old guitar and taught myself to play. After I moved to San Diego, and the practice I’d joined broke up in a contentious divorce, I was feeling down. I entered a contest held by one of my favorite musicians in which I wrote about how his song, ‘Mission of My Soul,’ had influenced me. That song helped get me through the long, arduous days and nights of work. When I’d get paged in the hospital at 3:00 a.m., I’d recall the mission of my soul—to bring empathy and compassion, the very reason I chose medicine. . . . Well, I won the contest. The prize was having the musician write a song about me. I listened to it, and the more I listened, the fog around me started to lift. I could hear my own life reflected back to me. I heard what moved me, what inspired me. I could see the light at the end of my tunnel. I decided to do this for my patients. . . . I’ve co-written more than 100 songs for my patients. In my office, I ask each patient: ‘What inspires you? What is your legacy? What makes your heart sing?’ I let the answers marinate in my head for a week or two, and then I write my patient’s song. I share it with my patient and his or her family and friends in a celebration of life. . . . The whole idea is to nudge my patients back to who they are. These songs are my patients’ stories, the ones that push them towards love, urge them to let go of their fear. . . . This has become the mission of my oncology practice: one patient at a time, transforming the way doctors and patients can create a healing environment. I give them a little piece of art that lives on forever.”