Physician Educator Spotlight: Barbara Orlando, MD, PhD


Barbara Orlando, MD, PhD

Title and Faculty Appointment:

Clinical Base Year Director
OB Anesthesia Research Director
Wellness Champion
Department of Anesthesiology
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center

Undergraduate & Graduate Medical Education:

University Hospital Pitie-Salpetriere, Paris, France (medical School and French Residency in Anesthesiology and ICU)
Montefiore Medical Center (Anesthesiology Residency)
Roosevelt Hospital in NYC (Obstetric Anesthesiology Fellowship)

Brief Educational Biosketch:

I initially graduated in France from my first anesthesia and ICU residency. After working for a few years as an attending, our family moved to US where I decided to retrain. This was a challenging experience with 3 small children and the nature of the training in the US. The residency at Montefiore Medical Center was a very enriching and challenging experience. Later, as an obstetric anesthesiologists working on the busy labor floor at Mount Sinai West, I became more aware of the growing problem of physician fatigue and burnout leading to my interest in physician wellbeing. 
The combination of long hours, pressure to perform well academically and the competition encountered in the medical field exposes physicians to intense stress often overlooked by their peers.
I have been given the opportunity to work with our anesthesia interns with the goal of making sure they feel a part of our “anesthesia family” and are comfortable sharing their concerns. 
This work has led to an article recently published in the JEPM: Streiff A, Mahoney B, Orlando B. A Program Director Survey of the Clinical Base Year in Anesthesiology Residency Programs. After events that occurred within Mount Sinai St Luke West’s health care system, I grew more interested in physician well-being within our residency program. I created a study designed to evaluate and improve wellness for our anesthesia residents incorporating Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). 

Society/Committee Memberships:

Society for Education in Anesthesia:

  • Publication Committee (co-chair)
  • Educational committee (member)
  • Advancement of Technology within Educational Committee 

Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology:

  • Education Committee (member)
  • Co-chair of the clinical resources task force
  • SOAP educational committee task force for wellness and burnout 
  • SOAP Media Committee
  • SOAP app brainstorming committee

American Society of Anesthesiologists: 

  • ASA Abstract Review Subcommittee on Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology
  • ASA Educational Track Subcommittee on Obstetric Anesthesia 
  • ASA Committee on Residents and Medical Students
  • ASA Committee on Physician Well-Being    
  • Co-chair of the Working Group on Education and Endeavors within the committee

New York State Society of Anesthesiologists

  • NYSSA Bylaws and Rules 
  • NYSSA Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Committee
  • NYSSA Committee on CME and remediation appointment

What drew you to a career in anesthesiology education?

I had two amazing mentors in France who really helped me build my academic and research career and they showed me what mentors can do for their trainees. Since that time, I have met many other powerful educators such as our chair and our PD and they only reinforced me in my belief that education is key to help the next generation be a better and stronger version of themselves

What are a few facts about you people may not know?

I played soccer in France and was the only girl in a boys’ team. As such, I became extremely competitive and this was probably one of the most useful experience to build resilience. I am also fluent in French, Spanish and English and can understand Italian and German

What is your advice to an aspiring, young anesthesiologist educator?

Some of the best advice I ever received is to try on different teaching roles to see what fits: different learners Resilience is the key to a successful and healthy career. I always tell my residents to try to manage expectations to be able to deal with stress and decrease burnout. I hope I can show the way to some of them and maybe help change the future for our incoming generations.

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