Neonatologist Uses Talents Outside Hospital to Inspire Others

April 23, 2020

Credit: Video Provided by Dr. Alfonso Vargas

Dr. Alfonso Vargas, a neonatologist at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital and medical director of St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital’s Therapeutic Hypothermia Programs, is not only a rock star in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), he’s also an actual rock star who is part of the Tampa Bay area acoustic duo SweetLick. Along with bandmate, Keith Schwier, Dr. Vargas wrote the song “Stronger” to bring a ray of hope during these trying times.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected all of our lives,” said Dr. Vargas. “As we struggle to come to terms with this unprecedented global event, we particularly feel for all of our local small business owners and their employees.”

Dr. Vargas’ love of music began at an early age and at 5 years old he started piano lessons. His taste in music turned more toward rock and roll in his teen years and at age 15 he switched from piano to guitar. 

He also knew from a young age that he wanted to become a doctor, just like his father. “I initially was interested in being a surgeon but after rotating through pediatrics during medical school I realized I didn’t like being in the operating room as much as I enjoy working with children.” 

He adds that his interest in the critical care aspect of pediatrics led him to become a neonatologist 14 years ago. “The very first month that I rotated through the NICU I knew that was where I belong.”

Shortly after moving to the Tampa area in 2011, he began performing during open mic nights at several establishments in his free time. He met Keith during one of the performances and after just one jam session together they formed SweetLick. Because of Dr. Vargas’ busy work schedule, the band keeps their performance to just twice a month and mainly play close to home in the Clearwater and Safety Harbor areas. 

“I love Tampa Bay and its amazing people, and I know together we’ll get through this,” Dr. Vargas said. “I’m looking forward to the day when SweetLick can perform our new song on stage.”