Team Member Spotlight: Dr. John Olson

Get to know John Olson, Sound’s Primary Care Medical Director

Tell us something about yourself that we’d be surprised to learn.

I played guitar, saxophone, sang and wrote music semiprofessionally in sloppy punk bands continuously since high school. This came to an abrupt end when I had kids, but my eldest is a drummer and my youngest is a piano prodigy. If you look hard enough, my music is still out there on the internet somewhere.

Do you have a favorite book, tv show or movie? What makes it your favorite?

I really loved “The Good Place” which was a surprisingly good exploration of modern ethical principals, in addition to being hilarious.

Heard any good jokes lately?

I am more likely to be telling them.

Do you have any advice for new team members?

This is a place where patients’ lives are changed. Maybe it doesn’t happen often enough, maybe it’s hard to see, but I promise, if you come to work with an open heart, full of compassion, you will see it. Often when you least expect it.

Sound appreciates our rich diversity of team members. Feel free to tell us about your cultural, ethnic, or racial background! What does Sound’s Diversity and Inclusion statement mean to you?

If there’s one thing a 30-year career in health care has taught me, it’s that human beings are amazing! You can miss that if you let your bias stand in the way of getting to know someone. My family has deep roots in a small midwestern lumber town, and I understand the comfort of having a common history with your community and a distrust of the unfamiliar. But I grew up in the big city, I’ve traveled the world, I have biracial children, and I’ve held the hands of patients from every background conceivable during the most intimate moments of their lives. Our humanity connects us, especially at the difficult times, and I believe with all my heart that an awareness of our sameness, in spite of our differences, is how we survive.

Who at Sound has had a big impact on you? Briefly explain how they had an impact on you.

It’s really hard to pick just one. I could mention Tony Watson at Auburn who recognized that the two of us had made a connection with a very challenging client and came by to acknowledge that we both had been affected by this client and that we had better put our heads together if we wanted him to do well. I could mention Fern Feldman, whose compassion for people who use drugs is endless, and who really solidified to me what low barrier patient centered treatment means. But ultimately, it was an interview with Paul Eisenhauer that I did for grad school that convinced me Sound was for real. It’s rare in a healthcare organization to have executive leadership who are connected to the work on the front lines and it makes all the difference in the effectiveness of the organization. We are fortunate to have such a large group of well-intentioned and experienced people working here and I am so humbled to be a part of Sound.

What is your favorite thing about working at Sound? 

I love being able to use my training and experience to shape the development of a truly innovative medical home that serves the needs of people who are often left behind.

Thank you for choosing Sound, John! We’re so happy to have you on our team!

Would you like to join the team? Sound is hiring!

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