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A hands-on approach: Big Sky welcomes Dr. Maren Dunn



By Abbie Digel, editor

After seven years as a frequent visitor, Maren
Dunn, D.O., has finally moved to Big Sky.
“It’s a dream come true,” she says.
She first came here in 2004 as a fourth year
medical student to work with Dr. Jeff Daniels at
the Medical Clinic of Big Sky. At that point in
her training, Dunn was unsure which path she
wanted to take as a physician. But when she drove
into Big Sky on a beautiful Memorial Day weekend,
she realized this was the type of place she
wanted to live.
“Doc Daniels showed me what type of lifestyle
I could have as a physician,” Dunn said. She fell
in love with the idea of becoming a rural family
medicine doctor.
Dr. Dunn will be opening her own private practice,
Gallatin Family Medicine, in Big Sky at 18
Meadow Village Dr. across from the post office.
Its projected opening is late December.
GFM will have operating hours from 9 a.m. to 5
p.m. on weekdays. Hours will adjust according to
the needs of the community. Previously scheduled
appointments and same day appointments
will also be available.
As a rural family medicine physician, Dunn focuses
on many areas of health including: pediatrics;
women’s health including contraception and
prenatal care; treatment for chronic conditions
such as heart disease, high blood pressure and
diabetes; preventive medicine such as wellness
exams and vaccinations; in-office
procedures such as neonatal circumcision, vasectomy and skin lesion removal; and osteopathic manipulation,
a hands-on treatment for physical pain and other illnesses.
As a doctor of osteopathic medicine, or a D.O, Dr.
Dunn’s approach to healing is similar to that of a
M.D. with an added emphasis on treatment of the
whole person, not just the complaint at hand.
“Osteopathic medicine includes a personal element.
I want to know the patient’s family and
social history and what their life is like,” Dunn
She says it’s important to understand a person’s
lifestyle and how it can affect illness.
“I educate patients so they can assist in their own
healing,” Dunn said. “It’s not enough to simply
hand a patient a prescription and send them on
their way.”

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Dunn received her bachelor’s degree from University
of California-Santa Barbara in 1998. She
graduated from Kansas
City University of Medicine
and Biosciences as a
D.O. in 2005. Becoming
a D.O. includes the same
rigorous training as an
M.D., with additional
training in Osteopathic
Manipulative Treatment,
or OMT.
As opposed to traditional
methods where a
patient might be given
medication or an x-ray, a
D.O. like Dunn will use
her hands to diagnose
and treat medical issues.
Using OMT, a D.O. will
move muscles and joints
while stretching and
adding gentle pressure
and resistance to a patient’s
body. It’s literally
a healing touch.
Dunn said osteopaths
“visually and physically
address a patient’s stature
and muscle imbalances,”
not unlike a chiropractor
or a massage
therapist. Osteopaths
look at the structure of
the body and help put it
in a position to heal itself, she says.
After her college education, Dunn worked three
years in San Diego and New York City in the biotech
field and as a
personal trainer.
Her hands-on
work as a trainer
coupled with experience
as a long
distance athlete
helped Dunn
expand her career
into medicine,
including manipulative treatment.
Upon completing medical school, Dunn chose
a three-year family medicine residency at Idaho
State University in Pocatello, Idaho. Following
her residency in 2008, Dunn worked for a year in
rural Cascade, Idaho, and two years in rural Prineville,
Ore doing family medicine and in-patient
hospital work.
When Dunn visited friends in Big Sky last
spring, she noticed that despite the downturn of
the economy, the community had continued to
grow and prosper with new restaurants and buildings,
as well as growth of the local school.
“I noticed there was a need for someone with my
skills,” Dunn said.
Dunn is currently working to connect with medical
professionals in Bozeman to bridge between
her practice and specialists in town. She will
provide prenatal care for Big Sky women, who
will transition to their obstetrician in Bozeman at
the proper time.
She’s also looking to connect with local nonprofit
organizations and the Ophir School District in
order to offer her assistance where it might be
useful within the community.
Dunn is already living out her dream in Big Sky:
She’s hit the slopes, and the cross country trails.
She’s looking forward to also attending yoga
classes and running with her two dogs.
“I feel so lucky,” Dunn said. “It’s not often that a
doctor can live and work in a place they love.”
If you didn’t see her on Thanksgiving at the
BSSEF Turkey Trot, stop by Gallatin Family
Medicine and say hello.

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