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Jun 19, 2023

Sometimes life puts you in tough situations. Since civil war erupted in Sudan in April of 2023, OMI fellow Dr. MohammedElhassan M. A. Abdalla could not return to Khartoum after participating in the OMI Clinical Research Methods seminar. The OMI team in Salzburg helped to make the best of this unfortunate situation and promptly arranged for an observership at a local hospital. Thanks to Dr. Christoph Griessenauer, Head of the Department of Neurosurgery at the Christian Doppler Clinic, and his team for facilitating this placement, which allowed Dr. Abdalla to enhance his skills and gain valuable experience.

MohammedElhassan M. A. Abdalla, MD

MohammedElhassan M. A. Abdalla, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon from Gezira Traumatology and Neurosurgery Specialized Center in WadMadani, Sudan


“My participation in the OMI seminars over the last three years provided me with new knowledge and skills in the areas of spine surgery and medical informatics. I attended the clinical research methods seminar in April 2023, where I learned vital information and techniques for designing, conducting, and analyzing clinical research.

Unfortunately, a civil war in Sudan began before I returned home, which made it impossible for me to travel back. On very short notice I was registered and accommodated at Schloss Arenberg. Moreover, I had been offered an observership in spine surgery at the Christian Doppler Clinic.

I want to express my sincere gratitude for this opportunity given to me by Dr. Wolfgang Aulitzky and Ms. Stephanie Faschang, and their understanding of my current situation in Sudan.

I am truly grateful for the invaluable experience and knowledge that I gained, and I extend my sincere appreciation to Dr. Christoph Griessenauer, head of the neurosurgery department, and his entire medical team for their guidance, expertise, and unwavering support throughout my observership. Their dedication to patient care and commitment to teaching and mentoring was truly inspiring. Their professionalism, kindness, and willingness to answer my questions and engage in meaningful discussions greatly contributed to my learning experience. Furthermore, I am grateful for the hospital’s emphasis on technology and advancements in the field of spine surgery. The opportunity to attend meetings, presentations, discussions, and operations allowed me to stay updated on the latest developments and breakthroughs in the field, which will undoubtedly influence my future practice. Lastly, I would like to extend my appreciation to the hospital administration for their efforts in organizing and coordinating my observership program, especially Ms. Elisabeth Graf.

This observership has been a transformative experience, and I am honored to have been a part of such a prestigious institution. I am confident that the knowledge and skills I have acquired will have a positive impact on my professional growth, and I will always cherish the memories and lessons learned during my time at the hospital.

After the conclusion of the observership, the OMI arranged for my participation in the AO Global Spine Congress in Prague, Czech Republic. At the congress, I could meet with world-renowned spine surgeons, amongst others OMI faculty members Dr. Roger Härtl (Weill Cornell Medicine, New York) and Dr. Claudius Thomé (Medical University of Innsbruck). I could also exchange with OMI fellow Dr. Rodrigo Uribe-Pacheco from Mexico who was granted an OMI observership with Dr. Claudius Thomé at the Medical University of Innsbruck.

On June 6, 2023, I arrived in my home country and city safely, after 48 hours of travel (3.736 miles, two flights, two busses, and two minivans). I was very happy to cross all this distance to finally join my lovely family.

I am in debt to the OMI because all this would not be possible without your support and help!”