TV, restaurants & video games: 8 spine, orthopedic surgeons with careers outside their practices


Here are eight spine and orthopedic surgeons investing in careers outside of their practices:

Markus Chwajol, MD, a neurosurgeon with Chicago-based UI Health, opened a European-inspired restaurant in the city in February. Czech, German, Hungarian and Austrian cuisine are offered at the restaurant, as well as some local and European specialty beers and ciders. Previously, Dr. Chwajol owned a similar themed restaurant in downtown Chicago, which closed in 2018.

Oren Gottfried, MD, a professor and neurosurgeon at Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C., serves as a medical consultant for several TV medical dramas. Dr. Gottfried has worked on 35 shows, including "Chicago Med," "The Good Doctor," "Royal Pains" and "Elementary." Last year, he made his first cameo on "Chicago Med," where he played an assistant neurosurgeon.

Neurosurgeon Brian Gantwerker, MD, of Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles, also works as a consultant for medical video game company Level Ex. The Chicago-based company creates augmented reality and virtual reality games for physicians, which are available on iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

Jeffrey Dugas, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Andrew Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center in Birmingham, Ala., also cofounded Dread River Distilling in the city, which produces whiskey, vodka, gin and rum, as well as small batches of craft beer and wine.

This year saw an increasing number of physicians jumping into politics.

Georgia-based neurosurgeon and conservative Republican John Cowan, MD, is campaigning for the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Republican orthopedic surgeon Knute Buehler, MD, of Bend, Ore.-based The Center: Orthopedic & Neurosurgery Care and Research, is seeking to replace Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Nashville-based orthopedic trauma surgeon and conservative Republican Manni Sethi, MD, is running for Tennessee's open U.S. Senate seat.

Orthopedic surgeon Al Gross, MD, is running as an independent, challenging Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska. 

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