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Joseph Schlesinger

Associate Professor of Anesthesiology
Associate Professor of the Practice of Biomedical Engineering
Associate Professor of Hearing & Speech Sciences

Biomedical Engineering

Research Focus

Dr. Schlesinger’s research interests include multisensory integration, human factors, aural perception, temporal precision, alarm development, patient monitoring, medical education, and biomedical engineering-based device design to improve patient safety.

Publications with BME Students:

Sweyer B, Pradhan A, Reynolds E, Schlesinger JJ. Frequency-selective silencing device for digital filtering of audible medical alarm sounds to enhance ICU patient recovery. Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Conference of Auditory Display - Sound in Learning 2017 Jun.

Pradhan A, Reynolds E, Sweyer B, Schlesinger JJ. SLAAP - Silencing loud alarms to attenuate PTSD. Conference proceedings of the 10th meeting of the DESFORM - Conference on Design and Semantics (Dutch Design Week) - 2017 Oct;209-216.

Schlesinger JJ, Combs T, Holmberg M, Jorgensen S, Kultgen S. Novel sonification and haptic displays of physiologic variables to improve patient safety. J Acoust Soc Am 2018 Oct;144(3):1889-1889.

Burdick KJ, Jorgensen SK, Holmberg MO, Kultgen SP, Combs TN, Schlesinger JJ. Benefits of sonification and haptic displays with physiologic variables to improve patient safety. Proc. Mtgs. Acoust. 35, 020001 (2018); doi: 10.1121/2.0000941

Burdick KJ, Jorgensen SK, Combs TN, Holmberg MO, Kultgen SP, Schlesinger, JJ. SAVIOR ICU – Sonification and Vibrotactile Interface for the Operating Room and Intensive Care Unit.  J Clin Monit Comput. 2019 Aug – e-pub ahead of print. PMID: 31456073.

Burdick KJ, Bell AS, McCoy MC, Samuels JL, Jolly AS, Patel SS, Balas JB, Patten KJ, Schlesinger JJ. Using multisensory haptic integration to improve monitoring in the intensive care unit. Auditory Perception & Cognition. 2020 July;2(4):188-206.

Burdick KJ, Gupta M, Sangari A, Schlesinger JJ. Improved patient monitoring with a novel multisensory smartwatch application. Journal of Medical Systems. 2022 Oct;46(12):83. PMID: 36261739.

 Media Coverage 

Pam Coyle, (Joseph Schlesinger, MD). BME team develops device to remove ICU alarm noise, improve patient sleep ( 2017 Jul.

Amy Wolf, (Joseph Schlesinger, MD). Cut the noise! New research making hospital alarms smarter and quieter - VU Inside. 2017 May.

Michael Nedelman, (Joseph Schlesinger, MD). Solving the problem of sleep in hospitals [CNN Health]. 2017 Jul.

Kristen Skovira, (Joseph Schlesinger, MD). Noise-Cancelling Device May Give Patients Peace [WTVF News Channel 5 - CBS Nashville]. 2017 Jul.


Dr. Joseph Schlesinger is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Division of Critical Care Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine – with appointments in the School of Nursing, School of Engineering, and the Department of Hearing & Speech Sciences; and also an Adjunct Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. After earning his Bachelor of Arts in Music with a concentration in Jazz Piano Performance from Loyola University in New Orleans, Dr. Schlesinger earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. He completed residency training in Anesthesiology followed by a fellowship in Critical Care Medicine at Vanderbilt University. While in training, Dr. Schlesinger became a B.H. Robbins scholar. Dr. Schlesinger’s work on multisensory perceptual training and improving pitch perception of pulse oximetry led to the prestigious 2014 Education Specialty Award from the Society of Critical Care Medicine. He has been funded by the province of Quebec and the Department of Defense. Besides his publication history in high-impact scientific journals, Dr. Schlesinger is a patented inventor and has been featured on the podcast “99 percent invisible,” CNN Health, WIRED, NPR (The Pulse – WHYY), and the New York Times.