By Dr. Bernd Bader, International Spine Fellow
My name is Bernd Bader, and I am a 35-year old orthopedic surgeon from Austria. Since 2011, I have worked at the Trauma Center Murnau in Germany, having earned my medical degree at Paracelsus Medical University (PMU) in Salzburg, Austria. During my research trimester and practical year, I spent a couple of months at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.
Having taken part in AO courses in Europe, I was granted an AO Spine Fellowship in Colorado two years ago after going through the application process, which is open in May every year. Due to the pandemic, I had to postpone it several times, but I was finally able to fly into Denver in November 2021 for a four-week spine fellowship.
I’ve always been enthusiastic about the United States, including the great people, the advances in medicine and science, and the beautiful landscapes. The fellowship at the Center for Spine and Orthopedics in North Denver had it all and combined it in a very special and fine manner. One of the main reasons for that was clearly the Center for Spine and Orthopedics’ founder and world-famous spine surgeon Dr. Michael Janssen, a one of a kind! From the moment we got in touch, he really supported and encouraged me and exposed me to as much surgical experience as possible. Dr. Janssen is the international luminary for total disc replacements, and I was able to see outstanding cases in neck and spine surgery. Besides that, the teaching during clinics was unprecedented. In addition to Dr. Janssen, I had the opportunity to work on cases with Dr. Jacob Rumley, also a spine surgeon, and the center’s American spine fellow, Dr. Christine DiPompeo. For further training, we used the center’s on-site cadaver lab.
On the weekends, I greatly enjoyed the awesome beauty of Colorado and the Rocky Mountains lying right in front of me. I encourage everybody to get out there and take a walk on the wild side. Dr. Janssen invited me to his home in Denver, and we also hung out and did some hiking at his place in Breckenridge and soaked in the hot springs at his Saratoga Hot Springs Resort in Wyoming.
Last but not least, I want to say thank you to the whole CSO staff for hosting me in an outstandingly kind and friendly way. I could not have wished for a better fellowship and am very grateful for my experience in Colorado.