Dr. Umar Burney – Orthopaedic Surgeon at Orthopaedic Specialists of Dallas

Always be honest. People value honesty in any industry. Once they see that you’re motivated by something beyond the “almighty dollar,” they’ll send their friends and family your way.

Dr. Umar Burney is an orthopaedic surgeon at Orthopaedic Specialists of Dallas, an orthopaedic surgery practice with three locations near Dallas that specializes in general orthopaedics, sports medicine and arthroscopy, partial and total joint replacement, trauma and fracture management, and pediatric orthopaedics.

A native of Madison, Wisconsin, Dr. Burney attended St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada. He completed his orthopaedic surgical residency at Louisiana State University, Shreveport, where he received multiple awards for excellence. Among other professional associations, he belongs to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery, the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, and the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

The idea was borne from my team’s desire to provide honest and transparent orthopaedic care to our community of East Dallas. We felt our education and communication skills could put the patient back in the driver’s seat when it comes to making decisions about musculoskeletal health. We wanted to be the patient’s trusted advisors on the journey. To this day, that remains our modus operandi.

What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?

My typical day starts before sunrise. I spend 15 to 20 minutes in prayer and meditation, either individually or as part of a congregation. I then commute 25 minutes to the office, which I make productive by reflecting on the day’s goals and objectives, strategizing with our chief administrator, or simply catching up on phone calls with friends and family out east (where the day is already underway). Once at work, my clinical responsibilities take center stage for 10 to 12 hours. Throughout the day, I do my best to multitask and maintain a positive, tireless attitude.

How do you bring ideas to life?

If ideas don’t come to me with a practical implementation strategy, I usually shelve them. Frequently, however, my ideas inspire me and I rush to vet them with my mentors, colleagues, and administrators. From there, the good ones usually take a life of their own, but I try to nurture them along.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I believe the trend toward cost efficiency in healthcare is extremely exciting, and it challenges me daily. How do we do what we do today, only better and cheaper? I’m a strong believer that healthcare is a basic human right, and we must all do our part to maintain a sustainable healthcare environment.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I’m constantly seeking ways to improve myself and my organization. I avoid personal or professional stagnation at all costs.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Work from a solid business plan. Looking back, I’ve realized that many of my company’s decisions have been reactionary, and I often wonder what could have been if my colleagues and I had been more proactive in our approach.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

Every living thing has a purpose. We must find our purpose to succeed in life.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Self-evaluate. You must be your own worst critic. This breeds humility and a hunger to become better.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Always be honest. People value honesty in any industry. Once they see that you’re motivated by something beyond the “almighty dollar,” they’ll send their friends and family your way.

What is one failure you’ve had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I didn’t do adequate homework on some of my company’s biggest decisions. Over the years, I’ve become more methodical about educating myself before making key business decisions.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Someone should develop user-friendly interfaces that allow consumers to see how they’re spending their healthcare dollars and who’s responsible for each dollar spent.

What is the best $100 you recently spent?

I rented a luxury vehicle on an out-of-town trip, and I thoroughly enjoyed the drive. Beforehand, I’d never put much thought into what car I was picking up at the airport — but not this time.

What is the one book you recommend our community should read?

“Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson. It’s a story of resilience and compassion that provides a life lesson on what greatness can be achieved when we courageously step out of our comfort zone.

What is your favorite quote?

Sometimes, it takes a rock to find a window of opportunity.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Dr. Farhat Burney, my late father. Farhat was a devoted son, brother, husband, father, and friend until his last breath. He was brilliant, committed to his chosen cause, unflinchingly loyal to his friends and family, and honest to the bone.

Key Learnings

  • Be your customers’ advisor, not their master.
  • Be your own worst critic.
  • Be unwaveringly honest.
  • Enjoy life’s luxuries from time to time.
  • Read Greg Mortenson’s “Three Cups of Tea” for a dose of compassion and empathy.


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