Barry Bittman, MD
Medical Advisor & Trainer
Dr. Bittman is the CEO and President of the Yamaha Music & Wellness Institute. His peer-reviewed published scientific research focuses on stress reduction from psychosocial to genomic levels utilizing novel creative music expression strategies.
Dr. Bittman is a neurologist, author, international speaker and researcher. As Senior Vice President - Chief Population Health Officer, Highmark Allegheny Health Network, Dr. Bittman leads innovative interdisciplinary teams in the development of protocols, algorithms and comprehensive integrative strategies that enable an integrated delivery network to optimize care and achieve Triple Aim objectives.
With the goal of extending outreach to the community, Dr. Bittman has developed the first of its kind interdisciplinary Community Healthcare curriculum with Allegheny College. Presented by a faculty that includes key members of the hospital medical staff, counselors, nutritionists, an ethicist and an attorney, this unprecedented credit-based program prepares pre-med students for an internship in which they serve as Health Coaches in the hospital's coordinated Community Care Network.
Dr. Bittman's medical perspectives have been presented in his book, Reprogramming Pain, written to help individuals transform pain and suffering into health and success. His book, Maze of Life, co-authored with Anthony DeFail, is a soul-searching parable about restoring hope, meaning and purpose amidst life’s challenges.
As the former host of the first nationally-syndicated integrative medicine weekly Public Radio program, Mind-Body Matters, Dr. Bittman interviewed 115 of the world's leading visionaries. His program featured cutting-edge in-depth perspectives that scientifically substantiate the utilization of integrative strategies within conventional healthcare. Dr. Bittman's more than 250 articles on a host of integrative medical topics have been published in his newspaper column, Mind Over Matter.
His work has been featured on CNN Headline News and in numerous leading publications throughout the world, including USA Today, Business Week, Time, Prevention, Discover, O (Oprah Magazine), the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, Scientific American, Men's Fitness and others.
Dr. Bittman has been awarded three patents for his invention, Mindscope®, introduced in 1992 as the world’s first clinical tool linking the nervous system to a multimedia environment. Bittman’s innovative biofeedback technology has been successfully utilized in clinical settings throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.
Based on his conviction that Recreational Music-making is an effective therapeutic strategy in various medical settings, Dr. Bittman led a team of researchers who investigated the biological effects of the HealthRHYTHMS group drumming protocol he co-developed. This foundational study correlated group drumming with increased activity of Natural Killer cells, specialized white blood cells that seek out and destroy cancer cells and virally-infected cells. Along with Karl T. Bruhn, acknowledged as "Father of Music Making and Wellness," his research team also demonstrated substantial reductions in burnout and mood disturbances in long-term care workers, as well as significant cost savings using a Recreational Music-making protocol . A similar approach was also shown to benefit nursing students.
With a focus on the aging continuum, Dr. Bittman led a team of researchers to document the impact of Recreational Music-making in the long-term care continuum. His extensive compilation of data from two long-term care centers documented multiple psychosocial benefits across the aging spectrum). Dr. Bittman's 2-phase study demonstrated for the first time that playing a musical instrument reverses multiple elements of the human stress response on the genomic level. His team included researchers from Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Applied Biosystems, the developer of the original technology that led to the successful mapping of the human genome announced in June, 2000. Stress-reduction was far greater for individuals participating in their first group keyboard lesson (Yamaha's Clavinova Connection) than for subjects who simply relaxed and read newspapers and magazines. In addition, the researchers introduced the concept of individualized genomic stress induction signatures, which uniquely demonstrate biological diversity in action.