CLERMONT – For Michael Wolak, PhD, MD, a board-certified neurosurgeon with the Orlando Health Neuroscience and Rehabilitation Institute Neurosurgery Group at Orlando Health South Lake Hospital, healthcare should be personal.
“I want to know my patients,” Wolak said. “And I make no compromises when it comes to spending time with my patients and getting to know them.”
It’s this interest in the human side of medicine that drew Wolak to South Lake Hospital and Clermont.
Wolak grew up in a rural community in the Midwest, and when he came to Florida, he wanted to be in a place that has the close-knit connections he found in Lake County.
“I like smaller communities,” he said. “I like getting to know the people in the community. There is a level of familiarity and accountability in a smaller town.”
Developing a bond with his patients is important to Dr. Wolak, but it was pure science that first drew him into medicine.
He attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for his undergraduate study in Biology and then attended the Chicago Medical School where he earned his Medical Degree along with a PhD in Physiology and Biophysics and a master's degree in Pathology.
He completed an internship in general surgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Wolak also commenced his neurosurgery residency training at Dartmouth and went on to complete his training with the University of Missouri Hospital and Clinics in Columbia, Missouri.
Dr. Wolak focuses primarily on non-traumatic neurosurgery involving the spine. Many patients come to him when they need treatment for matters such as degenerative spine disease, disc herniations, or tumors that affect the spine.
Orlando Health Neuroscience and Rehabilitation Institute Neurosurgery Group is a highly specialized practice, and the first of its kind to offer expedited care for neurosurgery patients. The group promises to take patients within 24 hours for urgent cases or within two days for non-urgent cases.
Orlando Health offers a full range of neurosurgical services, including cerebrovascular surgery, radiosurgery, epilepsy treatment, spine and spinal cord surgery, pediatric neurosurgery, brain tumor surgery and the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia and hemifacial spasm.
“Neurosurgeons are relatively small in number,” Wolak said. “So, it’s exciting to be part of Orlando Health and to be able to extend world-class neuroscience and neurosurgery to a smaller-but-growing community.”
Wolak emphasizes, “I really want to ensure that my patients receive the same level of care that I would provide to my family or friends.”
And that’s one of the things he enjoys about South Lake Hospital. “It’s been a wonderful collaboration with Orlando Health,” he said. “We’re able to keep that balance between being part of a world-class healthcare system and of being a true community hospital.”