2013 California Meeting
Executive Committee
Ablin Lecture
Cloward Award
Forms & Documents

2011: Volker Sonntag, MD
Volker Sonntag
Volker Sonntag
Born in West Prussia, Volker Sonntag, MD, spent his toddler years in a West German refugee camp. He came to America in 1957 not knowing a word of English. He learned to speak English by watching television. Dr. Sonntag worked his way through medical school and was in the first class to graduate from the University of Arizona Medical School in 1971.

for the past 30 years, Dr. Sonntag has performed surgery on thousands of patients and made significant contributions to the understanding of spinal disorders. He has co-edited five major books, made more than 800 presentations around the world, and written more than 90 textbook chapters and 460 papers. He is consistently recognized as one of the Best Doctors in America. In 2002, Dr. Sonntag was named the Honored Guest of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the highest honor paid to a neurosurgeon by his peers.

His colleagues and friends are very proud of what Dr. Sonntag brings to the group. According to Dr. Robert Spetzler, Chairman of BNA, “He always gives his best to his patients, his residents, fellows and his family. There is not a single false fiber in his body.”

When not at work, Dr. Sonntag can be found spending time with his family or hiking the Grand Canyon, rim to rim. He would like to be remembered as “somebody who attempts to strike the perfect balance, with passion for work (especially research and the residency program), passion for family and passion for life.”

Dr. Sonntag retired in January 2010, from practicing neurosurgery but remains at the Barrow Neurological Institute as Vice Chairman. The Barrow Neurological Institute is constructing the Sonntag Education Pavilion to honor Dr. Sonntag’s contributions to neurosurgery and especially spinal neurosurgery. The educational pavilion will be state-of-the-art with electronic audio and video equipment to accommodate lectures, live surgery demonstrations, and educational conferences.