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Double Doctor
Health Gerontologist



DR. ALISON BALBAG, PhD, DMA is a double doctor, musician, and gerontologist specializing in

health and aging across the lifespan. An outlier in our world, she’s been fortunate to achieve the rare feat of

two doctorates in separate fields: Music and Gerontology (i.e., human development and aging).

Her diverse background — along with being a multiracial first-generation college graduate — grants her unique insights into connecting the dots.

Always thinking outside the box, Dr. Alison looks at music’s connections with health, the mind, and humanity. A pioneer bridging music and health across the lifespan, her research has found that music is linked to keeping us healthy and sharp — even protected from dementia and cognitive decline — and advocates for making music accessible to everyone. 


A trusted expert across disciplines, Dr. Alison Balbag is a featured expert on TV's Dr. Phil (CBS). Her media appearances also include National Geographic, Psychology Today, Psychiatry Advisor, and the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.


An award-winning harpist, she’s soloed with orchestras, premiered new works, performed in numerous symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles, and recorded for film scores. Her TV and radio music performances have appeared on ABC, FOX, PBS, Netflix, Hulu, Peacock, and Classical KUSC, and include Modern Family, Glee, and Great Performances.


A few of the artists she’s performed with are Stevie Wonder, Pink Martini, Natalie Cole, Bobby McFerrin, Burt Bacharach, Itzhak Perlman, Nancy Wilson, Patti Austin, Josh Groban, LeVar Burton, Quincy Jones, and Will Ferrell. She’s also created award-winning music apps and is the harpist on Google's MixLab.


An acclaimed educator recognized for her versatility and innovative teaching, Dr. Alison has taught students of all ages – from kindergarteners, to college students, to lifelong learners. Her interdisciplinary faculty posts range from professor roles at the University of Southern California (USC) and Portland State University (PSU), to the Los Angeles Philharmonic (LA Phil) where she taught music in underserved elementary schools.


A champion for music, well-being, and fostering future generations of creativity, her leadership tenure includes serving as Arts Commissioner, along with multiple civic leadership roles.


Stay tuned for more information on her upcoming book.

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