He is just what the world needs right now: Dr. Elvis Francois, an orthopedic surgery resident whose beautiful singing voice is going a long way in healing the world’s broken hearts.
One recent day, as the coronavirus death toll mounted across the globe, he and his colleague, Dr. William Robinson, sat down at a piano in lobby of Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic, where they are both residents. Still in their surgical scrubs, the two filmed themselves performing John Lennon’s “Imagine,” with Dr. Elvis (as he’s known) singing, and Robinson accompanying him. The video has garnered more than 6 million views on Facebook.
Francois has been posting videos like this for two years, but this one has resonated like no other. “Across the entire world, we're dealing with this global pandemic, and you got people who are all faced with this, the most challenging part of their lives,” he told Yahoo Finance’s Jen Rogers. “This is the first time in a generation that we’re seeing one thing bring people together. And that song really speaks to imagining a world without the things that divide us, things like religion, politics and country, and finding a way to come together as one.”
‘The world will live as one’
Francois certainly recognizes the terrible toll of the coronavirus pandemic, but amid the devastation, he also sees moments of triumph: “You’ve got people in medicine, you've got scientists, you have Uber Eats drivers, you’ve got factory workers, literally people across the entire world across different professions coming together, and particularly at the hospital,” he said. “It's amazing to see everyone step up to the plate to say, ‘Hey, what can I do?’”
Francois, who was named after the legendary Elvis Presley, has been finding comfort in music since he was a child. He is self-taught and says music helps him celebrate the good days and overcome the bad days, particularly now amid the battle against COVID-19. “So I say that to anyone who's having a lot of stress, dealing with anxiety, find one or two things that can uplift your day,” he recommends. “Even though we're all trapped in quarantine here, there are many ways to get through this.”
‘You may say I’m a dreamer’
Francois was raised by a single father from Haiti, who often worked two or three jobs to keep food on the table. He credits his dad for passing on a sense of compassion, optimism and an ironclad work ethic. In the coming months, Francois will wrap up his surgery residency at the Mayo Clinic and will begin studies at another prestigious institution: The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.
“One of the things that I'm most passionate about is finding ways to make better opportunities or provide better opportunities for people,” Francois said. “My family's from Haiti, and so I have a plan on building a group of clinics in Haiti. That's the reason I'm getting my MBA and trying to get a better understanding of the business side of health care.”
Francois says he will continue to harness the healing powers of music. “What I've learned is that surgery can only go so far in helping people, and music goes places that medicine can't go,” he explained. “I hope to share music and medicine as ways that I can help uplift people, and I'm honored and happy to continue to do that as long as I can.”
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