David Buzzetti craves high-pressure environments. His career as a clinician began in the mid-’90s with roles as a respiratory therapist and certified anesthesiologist assistant. But he needed to satisfy a lifelong desire to serve the country. He joined the Navy in 1997 as an aerospace physiologist and spent three years overseas before becoming an active reservist by 2003.
Most people would be stressed by having to strike a balance between full-time civilian work and active duty assignments. But not Buzzetti. He wanted to keep moving up and pivot to the business side. He’d ascended to chief anesthetist of ApolloMD, but without additional training, that was pretty much his ceiling. So he enrolled in Robinson’s MBA/Master of Health Administration (MHA) dual degree program in 2015.
“My MBA/MHA degree sealed the deal,” Buzzetti says. “It gives me huge credibility when talking to lenders, healthcare administrators, business professionals, or medical practitioners.”
A couple years into the program, Buzzetti accepted a job as director of operations at national medical group MEDNAX, now called Pediatrix. He used an underperforming anesthesia provider within the MEDNAX portfolio as the basis of a case study. Buzzetti presented a financial analysis and transition strategy on resizing the practice to not only program faculty but also MEDNAX leadership who ended up implementing the plan with positive results.
Buzzetti completed his MBA/MHA in 2017 and currently holds down the fort as chief operating officer of Concordia Anesthesiology. Upon his most recent recall to active duty, he was promoted to the competitive rank of rear admiral and designated deputy chief of staff, Reserve Component, N093 within the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon. Under the James N. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023, Buzzetti is leading one of the most monumental transformations in the history of Navy Medicine. The charge? To realign the Navy’s healthcare operations model from a hospital-based to an expeditionary system providing services on ships and submarines as well as ashore in austere environments. The 5- to 10-year strategy involves a comprehensive life cycle management approach to expeditionary medical services including talent recruitment and retention, an aggressive overhaul of the training pipeline, global medical logistics and sustainment, and financial programming and execution. To pull that off within a military setting requires specialized chops.
“Because of the skills I built at Robinson and through civilian experiences, I’ve been able to contribute to the project in a meaningful way,” Buzzetti said. “I understand and can comfortably speak to the uniqueness of the military healthcare system as a subset of the U.S. healthcare system.”
Within a couple years, Buzzetti will hit the major milestone of 30 years of service to the Navy. If retirement lies in the cards, he’ll completely focus on growing Concordia as the preferred anesthesia provider in the Southeast and pursue other entrepreneurial goals. Since he remains calm in the face of uncertainty, his only option is to thrive.
“I’ve been so fortunate,” he said. “I’ve traveled to places and taken opportunities I never imagined possible as a clinician, service member, and now a businessman.”