Joseph J. Schlesinger, MD, FCCM

Anesthesiology, Division of Critical Care Medicine
(615) 343-6268
(615) 343-6272

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FOCUS: HIT, alarm development, multisensory integration, music perception and cognition

Dr. Joseph Schlesinger is a Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Division of Critical Care Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Professor of Music at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University, and Adjunct Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. After earning his Bachelor of Arts in Music with a concentration in Jazz Piano Performance from Loyola University in New Orleans, Dr. Schlesinger earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. He completed residency training in Anesthesiology followed by a fellowship in Critical Care Medicine at Vanderbilt University. While in training, Dr. Schlesinger became a B.H. Robbins scholar. Dr. Schlesinger’s research interests include multisensory integration, human factors, aural perception, temporal precision, alarm development, patient monitoring, and medical education. This work led to the prestigious 2014 Education Specialty Award from the Society of Critical Care Medicine. He has been funded by the province of Quebec, the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, and served on the study sections for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Science Foundation. Besides his publication history in high-impact scientific journals, Dr. Schlesinger is a patented inventor and has been featured on the podcast “99 percent invisible,” CNN Health, WIRED, NPR (The Pulse – WHYY), Scientific American, and the New York Times.

Education & Training

BA – Music, Loyola University, New Orleans
MD – University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston
Anesthesiology Residency – Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Critical Care Fellowship – Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Research Information

Recent Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

  1. Burdick K, Courtney M, Wallace MT, Baum Miller SH, Schlesinger, JJ. Living and working in a multisensory world: From basic neuroscience to the hospital. Multimodal Technologies and Interaction. 2019 Jan;3(2):1-16.
  2. Schlesinger JJ, Shirley SA. Alarmed: Sensory approaches to improve medical alarm systems. Senses and Society. 2019 Mar;14(1):81-91.
  3. Salas B, Schlesinger JJ. Enhancing the sounds of urgency: lessons from music and aviation on human response to critical auditory stimuli. Anes Analg. 2019 May [in press].
  4. Bamikole PO, Theriault BM, Caldwell SL, Schlesinger JJ. Patient-directed music therapy in the ICU. Crit Care Med. 2018 Nov;46(11):e1085. PMID: 30312244.
  5. Schlesinger JJ, Mueller D, Bellomy M, MacDonald A, Chrouser K, Baum S, Chern A, Burdick K, Burger C. Rethinking clinical workflow. Anesthesiol Clin. 2018 Mar;36:99-116. PMID: 29425602.
  6. Schlesinger JJ, Baum Miller SH, Nash KW, Bruce ML, Ashmead DH, Shotwell MS, Edworthy JR, Wallace MT, Weinger MB. Acoustic features of auditory medical alarms - An experimental study of alarm volume. J Acoust Soc Am. 2018 Jun;143(6) PMID: 29960450.
  7. Edworthy JR, McNeer RR, Bennett CL, Dudaryk R, McDougall SJP, Schlesinger JJ, Bolton ML, Edworthy JD, Ozcan Viera E, Boyd AD, Reid SKJ, Rayo MF, Wright MC, Osborn D. Getting alarm sounds into a global standard: a case study with reflections. Ergonomics in Design: The Quarterly of Human Factors Applications. 2018 Oct;26(4):4-13.
  8. Greer JM, Burdick KJ, Chowdhury A, Schlesinger JJ. Dynamic alarm systems for hospitals (D.A.S.H.). Ergonomics in Design: The Quarterly of Human Factors Applications. 2018 Oct;26(4):14-19.
  9. Oleksy AJ, Schlesinger JJ. What's all that noise? - Improving the hospital soundscape. J Clin Monit Comput. 2018 Oct;28(1):1-6. PMID: 30390171.
  10. Sreetharan S, Schlesinger JJ, Schutz M. Designing effective auditory interfaces: Exploring the role of the amplitude envelope. Parncutt, R., & Sattmann, S. (Eds.) Proceedings of ICMPC15/ESCOM10. Graz, Austria: Centre for Systematic Musicology, University of Graz. 2018 Oct;426-431.
  11. Burdick KJ, Jorgensen SK, Holmberg MO, Kultgen SP, Combs TN, Schlesinger JJ. Benefits of sonification and haptic displays with physiologic variables to improve patient safety. Proc. Mtgs. Acoust. 35, 020001 (2018); doi: 10.1121/2.0000941.
  12. Edworthy JR, Schlesinger JJ, McNeer RR, Kristensen MS, Bennett CL. Classifying alarms: Seeking durability, credibility, consistency, and simplicity. Biomed Instrum Technol. 2017 Feb;51(s2):50-57. PMID: 28296464.
  13. Alirezaee P, Girgis R, Kim T, Cooperstock J, Schlesinger JJ. Did you feel that? Developing novel multimodal alarms for high consequence clinical environments. Proceedings of the 23rd Annual International Conference of Auditory Display - Sound in Learning. 2017 Jun.
  14. Sweyer B, Pradhan A, Reynolds E, Schlesinger JJ. Frequency-selective silencing device for digital filtering of audible medical alarm sounds to enhance icu patient recovery. Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Conference of Auditory Display - Sound in Learning. 2017 Jun.
  15. Pradhan A, Reynolds E, Sweyer B, Schlesinger JJ. SLAAP - Silencing loud alarms to attenuate PTSD. Conference proceedings of the 10th meeting of the DESFORM - Conference on Design and Semantics (Dutch Design Week). 2017 Oct;209-216.
  16. Gay-Betton D, Alirezaee P, Cooperstock J, Schlesinger JJ. HAPTIC - Haptic anatomical positioning to improve clinical monitoring. Conference proceedings of the 10th meeting of the DESFORM - Conference on Design and Semantics (Dutch Design Week). 2017 Oct;175-183.
  17. MacDonald A, Schlesinger JJ. Canary in an operating room: integrated operating room music. Conference proceedings of the 2017 meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Europe. (Rome, Italy). 2017 Nov;ISSN 2333-4959:79-83.
  18. Noyes EM, Schlesinger JJ. ICU-Related PTSD - A Review of PTSD and the Potential Effects of Collaborative Songwriting Therapy. J Crit Care. 2017 Jul;42:78-84. PMID: 28688241.
  19. Alberdi M, Schlesinger JJ. Burnout: Why Doctors Need Music. Music Med. 2017 Oct;9(4):241-246.
  20. Schlesinger JJ. Pulse oximetry: Perception, pitch, psychoacoustics, and pedagogy. Anes Analg. 2016 May;122(5):1253-1255. PMID: 27101486.
  21. Schlesinger JJ. Smart Operating Room Music. Anes Analg. 2015 Sep;121(3):836. PMID: 26287307.
  22. Brown Z, Edworthy J, Sneyd R, Schlesinger J. A comparison of linear and logarithmic auditory tones in pulse oximeters. Appl Ergon. 2015 Jul;51:350-357. PMID: 26154232.
  23. Schlesinger JJ, Stevenson RA, Wallace MT. Improving pulse oximetry pitch perception with multisensory perceptual training. Anes Analg. 2014 Jun;118(6):1249-1253. PMID: 24846194.
  24. Stevenson, RA, Schlesinger JJ, Wallace MT. Effects of divided attention and operating room noise on perception of pulse oximeter pitch changes: A laboratory study. Anesthesiology. 2013 Feb;118(2):376-381. PMID: 23263015.

Recent Peer-reviewed Case Reports

  1. Schlesinger JJ. Applications of a non-invasive respiratory volume monitor for critical care medicine. Respiratory Care 2014 Nov. PMID: 25628450
  2. Schlesinger JJ, Burger CF. Methylene blue for acute septic cardiomyopathy in a burned patient. Journal of Burn Care and Research 2014 Dec. PMID: 25798807.
  3. Burger CF, Schlesinger, JJ. Intravenous Warfarin and Heparin Induced Thrombocytopenia: Making the Diagnosis, Management, Modern Monitoring, and Multidisciplinary Care. Annals of Pharmacotherapy 2013 Oct;48 (2):286-291. PMID: 24259642.
  4. Pennington JD, Wall AE, Schlesinger, JJ, Higdon KK, Weavind L. Cryoamputation as a Temporizing Measure in Severe Burn Injury. Journal of Burn Care and Research 2013 Nov;35(4):273-275. PMID: 24978024.