Doctor has passions for song, surgery

He was singing at 2, enrolled at Harvard at 16

Credit: Phil Skinner

Credit: Phil Skinner

Dr. Christian Strong has a song in his heart and a head for taking on challenging brain, spinal and cancer surgeries.

New to the Atlanta area, the 34-year-old board-certified neurosurgeon is known as “the singing doc” to colleagues at Piedmont Eastside Medical Center in Snellville.

He’s long been passionate about singing and neurosurgery but jokes that he hasn’t figured out how to merge the two and still seem professional. The moniker “singing doc” stuck after he put his vocal talents on display in a 2022 episode of the Fox medical drama, “The Resident.”

Strong, a Los Angeles native, has been singing all his life.

“I’ve been in recording studios probably since before I was even 4 years old,” he said.

A wiz in math and science, Strong became intrigued with the brain when he was about 10 and read “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story.” Strong’s interest in the brain would go beyond understanding how Carson, a 2016 presidential candidate, performed the first known separation of conjoined twins.

Strong dually enrolled in high school and college at 11.

By 16, he was a student at Harvard University. He earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed his neurological surgery residency at the medical school’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He then completed a complex spine fellowship at New England Baptist Hospital.

He’s been performing operations for about 10 years and moved to metro Atlanta in 2022 for the job at Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center, which shut down in November. He started at Piedmont Eastside in May.

His gifts

Strong’s mother, evangelist Bobbie Strong of Los Angeles, said her son Christian likely came by his talents naturally. On her side of the family, everyone excelled in math and sciences, critical skills for a doctor.

His singing talents came from his father’s side of the family, which is full of music lovers. His father Chuck Strong is a singer and songwriter, as was his grandfather, Bobbie Strong said.

“He said his first words, something like, ‘How are you?’ at 6 months and was singing at 2 years,” she said.

He always has a song going in his head.

“He sings in the shower and when he’s walking down the street,” Bobbie Strong said. “His first love is the Lord, then singing and people. He’s very compassionate and a very humble young man.”

Strong had his choice of universities, including Harvard, Yale, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). After a visit to Harvard, he came home and announced that’s where he would be heading for college, his mother said.

In the summer before starting medical school, he taught calculus at Harvard. “He taught himself calculus in grade school before taking it for class credit in high school,” mom Bobbie said.

In college and medical school, Christian Strong sang acapella. Since then, he’s been singing any time his schedule permits. Besides singing on “The Resident,” Strong, a first tenor, has performed at weddings and funerals and in videos.

He said he’ll be on another Fox show in September. But he said he could not discuss the details. He has made a couple of singles and hopes to complete an album shortly.

Some of his patients tell him they have found him on social media and watched him perform.

He grew up singing gospel but also loves R&B, alternative rock, and ballads. He’s a fan of soul singer/songwriter Peabo Bryson, the late singer/songwriter Luther Vandross, singer/producer Labrinth, and superstars Beyonce and Mariah Carey.

Strong said he would love “music to be a little more at the forefront of my life. It truly is the one thing I can remember I’ve always loved doing,” he said.

Credit: Photo courtesy of Christian Strong

Credit: Photo courtesy of Christian Strong

Strong said he gets a great sense of satisfaction in doing both music and medicine. He said he’s happy when people tell him how much his singing means to them.

Likewise, he said he’s happy when his patients have positive outcomes and a better quality of life because of his care.

“I feel blessed in that I have the opportunity to affect positive change in people’s health but also to uplift people with music,” he said.