What People Say …
I first walked into Dr. Berger’s office (in 2004) …for my interview for a surgical research fellowship. Dr. Berger had a very busy and a well-funded surgical research lab at the VA Medical Center. I had recently arrived in the United States from Pakistan .... To become a surgeon in the US is a daunting task for any medical graduate and it’s a particularly uphill battle for an international medical graduate. In my meeting with Dr. Berger, I expressed my passion and commitment to research and acknowledged that with my mostly clinical background, I didn’t have much basic science research experience...The next morning at 6 AM, I received an email from Dr. Berger, offering me an opportunity to join his research team. From then on, Dr. Berger became my mentor and had a profound and lasting impact on my academic career. … My next two years under his guidance was the most productive and rewarding period of my early career. I learned tremendously from this experience… Dr. Berger would inspire and challenge me. … I am now an academic cardiothoracic and aortic surgeon at the University of Colorado, Denver. Now, when I mentor medical students, surgical residents and fellows in the surgical research lab and operating room, Dr. Berger remains one of my role models. The way he taught me to develop scientific thinking, never hesitate to ask questions, be an independent thinker, and bring novel ideas to the table every day, I hope to impart this to the next generation of academic surgeons. Dr. Berger provided me with his highly invaluable support and guidance in the early part of my career which allowed me to flourish. In short, Dr. Berger is a gem and a mentor of mentors. He has inspired a generation of academic surgeons and my story is just one of many. — Muhammad Aftab MD, FACS, FACC, Assistant Professor in Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
"Dr. David Berger’s mentorship and coaching helped set my career on a trajectory that exceeded what I could have achieved alone. Early in my career as a quality leader, David not only welcomed my participation in activities--he stood with me when I pitched an idea to our College president, lending his credibility to help me succeed. A well known academic leader in surgery and then as a COO at a large hospital, David has served as an example for me. He has the ability to give you feedback you need (and may not want to hear) so you are better able to make career decisions. Whether through one-on-one visits or informal chats before committee meetings, David would listen, synthesize what he knew about my career aspirations and the political landscape, and make suggestions that were ultimately beneficial. David’s willingness to share from his own experiences have been invaluable to me as I stepped away from the bedside and into a full-time administrative role." — Emily Sedgwick, MD, CMO, HCA Houston Healthcare West
“David is a brilliant clinician and excellent leader with a proven track record of driving great results. David has a nice balance of leading through influence and supporting those around him fully.. while ensuring a bias for action.” — Gay Nord, former Market President, Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center
“David is always looking for ways to improve the patient experience. He supports research and is the type of leader you want to work with in today’s ever-changing healthcare setting.” – Jennifer Nitschmann, former CNO, Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center
“David stands up for what is right and does what he says. He is trustworthy, resilient and effective.” – W. Keith Neeley, VP of Facilities, University of Tennessee Medical Center Knoxville
I have known Dr. David Berger for almost 20 years and our relationship has spanned all aspects of my medical career, from student, to resident, to attending surgeon. Over these years, the characteristics that have stood out to me are his authenticity, integrity, desire to advance the field of medicine and his love to mentor and professionally develop young surgeons. Dr. Berger offered me my first job as an attending straight out of residency and took me under his wing. I will never forget how he gave me an opportunity during a difficult time and mentored me during my most formidable years as a new attending. He would often come into my office and just sit down and talk to me. As we all have busy schedules, careers, and families, it is a testament to his impact in my life that even after 20 years, I still seek his professional advice and more importantly, treasure our friendship.
— Thu Ha Liz Lee, MD FACS, Breast Surgeon, Southwest Surgical Associates, and former Surgical Resident Baylor College of Medicine