I was inspired to become a pediatric anesthesiologist by my late mentor, Dr. Mark Rossberg, who provided me with an exciting and educational experience during my residency training at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Rossberg showed me what a privilege it is to take care of children and infants at some of the scariest moments of their lives. Earning their trust, and their parent’s trust, and putting their minds at ease while they prepare for a surgery or procedure with anesthesia is the essential foundation of getting to a successful outcome.
I believe a little extra attention and time spent communicating with the child, instead of the parents, makes all the difference for the special needs of the children in our care. I treat every patient as if they are part of my own family.
In addition to taking care of children in the operating room, I also specialize in intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM) for children undergoing complex orthopedic and spine procedures. IONM is used to monitor the integrity of a child’s nervous system (the brain, spinal cord, and nerves) during surgery. Any changes in the monitored signals can be an early warning sign of a potential neurological injury. I guide our surgery and anesthesiology teams to avoid those injuries by adjusting their surgical or anesthetic technique as needed.
The main focus of my research is the expansion of IONM services at our institution. I explore the pathophysiology of the nervous system under the stress of anesthesia and surgery. As we grow our monitoring practices, I hope we can provide better outcomes for our pediatric patients.
My other role in the department is to serve as a mentor and advocate for our trainees in the fellowship program. I was honored to be recognized by our fellows as someone who “always has their back.” As a clinical director in the operating room, one of my many responsibilities is ensuring our fellows receive clinical experience of the highest quality. I believe our trainees are our future colleagues and work family, and they deserve to be treated with respect.
In my free time, I enjoy doing yoga and riding my Peloton bike. I’m also fond of making homemade gifts with crochet, cross-stitch, and needlepoint. Sometimes it’s hard to keep my craft game going strong with two small children and two 50-pound fur babies in the house.
Speaking of fur babies, many people know of my love for animals. I used to do animal research before medical school and rescued a research dog. Her name was Luna. She lived with my parents in Florida, where she ate lobster for Thanksgiving and built a huge fan base of neighborhood children.
My friends often tell me I should write Luna Baduna Badanga Busso’s (Luna’s full name) stories as children’s books. Luna used to go everywhere with my Dad, including the bank. She would jump out of the car window, wait patiently for someone to open the door to the bank and go find my Dad. The teller started keeping treats for Luna’s visits. I am the first physician in my family, and my Dad still says the best thing I ever did was save Luna.
Assistant Professor, UC Department of Anesthesia