For over 40 years, pediatrician Dr. Lisa Wong has been a trailblazer at the intersection of the arts and health. A deep believer in the power of the arts to heal individuals and communities, she applies her expertise across her clinical practice, teaching, nonprofit management, and community engagement. From her practice at Milton Pediatric Associates for 37 years, Dr. Wong has cared for hundreds of patients and developed a deep understanding of the needs of patients, their families, and communities, as well as the systemic barriers they face. She connects and applies these lessons to her work in higher education. She is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital and associate co-director of the Arts and Humanities Initiative at Harvard Medical School. She also teaches an undergraduate course on the role of music in education and health at Harvard College and participates in the Harvard Professional Development Week course for medical students on the integration of the arts into clinical practice. She is a frequent lecturer in arts and health nationally and internationally, including at Harvard Medical School’s Media and Medicine master’s program, as well as several US medical schools, a residency at UC Santa Barbara and a guest lecture at Cambridge University, UK.
Dr. Wong is deeply committed to arts-based community engagement. A violinist and violist, Dr. Wong served as the President of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra for 21 years. During her tenure, the LSO, a symphony orchestra primarily made up of medical professionals, grew to prominence in part because of its long-lasting partnerships with community health organizations. Its “Healing Art of Music” program, which Dr. Wong co-designed, served as a model for other medical orchestras across the country. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Wong helped to create and lead Boston Hope Music which provided music and music education to patients, caregivers, and front-line workers and virtually and in person at vaccine centers.
In 2023, Dr. Wong was an inaugural recipient of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s "Common Good Award" for her tireless efforts to strengthen the intersections between the arts, health, and education. She currently serves on the boards of Conservatory Lab Charter School, A Far Cry ensemble and BPS Arts Expansion. She is a co-founder of Boston Arts Consortium for Health (BACH). She was a committee member of the 2018 National Academies Board of Higher Education that published a consensus report on the essential role of arts and humanities in STEM. She recently served on the 2022 Massachusetts Cultural Council Task Force on Social Prescription, Culture Rx.
Dr. Wong is the author of Scales to Scalpels: Doctors who practice the healing arts of Music and Medicine and contributor to Music as Care: Artistry in the Hospital Environment (Hoover, 2021). A lifelong learner, Dr. Wong plays the guitar, ukulele, piano, violin, viola, and has recently picked up the cello. Understanding that a delectable meal brings people together as much as a memorable performance, she is always on the lookout for new recipes that can feed a crowd.
Dr. Wong with her family. Photo by Michael Murowchick