Our annual list of the Valley’s finest medical men and women — as chosen by their fellow M.D.s
(page 3 of 8)
John Bosso, M.D.
Allergy and Immunology
West Nyack. 845-353-9600
Back when he was in high school in New York City, Dr. John Bosso discovered the magic of science that ultimately led him to a medical career.
“I loved science and did very well in science classes,” he recalls. “And after one advanced biology course that was primarily focused on human anatomy and physiology, I realized I wanted to be a physician. That was the first inclination.”
He went on to graduate from SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine and complete his internal medicine residency at Staten Island University Hospital and SUNY Downstate Medical Center, as well as a fellowship in allergy/immunology at the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in California.
Dr. Bosso specializes in allergies and immunology. “I began to gravitate to that field during my medical residency,” he says. “It was partly because I like diagnostic challenges; the detective work of a difficult diagnosis. With asthma, for instance, I like the process of diagnosing someone with a specific sensitivity based on various clues in their medical history and laboratory tests. There’s a combination of science and a bit of art to making a diagnosis.”
Studying with experts also fired his love for the field as a medical student. “I had some great mentors, people like the late Elliott Middletown, Jr., who was editor of one of the standard textbooks on allergies. He was a giant in the field.”
Dr. Bosso, who is board certified in internal medicine and allergy and immunology, says the pace of immunology studies really started to take off in the 1980s. “It was when the AIDS epidemic started. A lot of immunology research was being done, which also helped the allergy field become more understandable.”
He has been in practice for 19 years in Rockland County, and serves as medical director of Allergy and Asthma Consultants of Rockland and Bergen, with offices in West Nyack and Westwood, N.J. He and his wife and three daughters live in New City. When he’s not busy in the office, Dr. Bosso can often be found on the tennis court; he’s also a “devout Mets fan, for 40 years” and collects baseball memorabilia.
For many years, Dr. Bosso, who also serves as chief of the Allergy and Immunology Department at Nyack Hospital, has used an innovative process called aspirin desensitization to treat some asthma patients.
“When I was at the Scripps Clinic in the 1980s, it was the national referral center for aspirin desensitization.” He explains that aspirin desensitization is used primarily for patients with adult-onset asthma and severe sinus polyps. “These people are really uncomfortable; they have frequent sinus surgery, and their asthma tends to progress. When they take aspirin or any substance in the aspirin family, they tend to have an acute asthma attack.”
By gradually exposing them to increased doses of aspirin over a few days, Dr. Bosso says, patients no longer react negatively to it. “And we found that if they continued to take aspirin, it actually helped decrease asthma and sinus inflammation.” Once considered an experimental procedure, it’s now a widely used treatment.
In 2004, Dr. Bosso set up a regional referral center for aspirin desensitization at Nyack Hospital, which has treated about 300 patients in five years. “We have received referrals from as far north as Albany; as far east as Montauk, Long Island; as far west as Lancaster, Pa.; and as far south as Atlantic City.”
What’s the wave of the future in the allergy field? “It’s not available yet, but I hope we’ll see a treatment for potential food allergens like peanuts in the next few years. It’s not ready for prime time yet, but some exciting progress is being made.”
Such a breakthrough would no doubt be welcome — for patient and doctors alike. “That’s because, for many years, all physicians could do for food-allergy patients was basically diagnose what they’re sensitive to — which is important — and arm them with emergency medication to have available in case of accidental exposure. That, and just educate them about avoidance.
“So it would be a lot more satisfying, as a physician, to be able to treat the disease, as opposed to just being able to tell people to avoid the substance they’re allergic to and be prepared for emergencies.”
Dr. Bosso says his field is truly rewarding when he “cracks” an especially tough case. “When you treat someone with a difficult chronic allergy or severe asthma — somebody who’s been through a lot — and you’re able to help them in diagnosis, treatment and really change their quality of life, you feel the professional rewards. But you also feel great about the human side.
“So for me, the two factors in medicine that are the most interesting are the medical challenges and the personal satisfaction in seeing people do well.”
Next appointment: Dr. R. Clifford Mihail, Fishkill