Dr. Netana Machacek isn’t one of those doctors who knew that she wanted to work in medicine from a young age. Instead, her interest started in late high school. That interest grew, especially in college, as she continued to learn more about practicing medicine.
“It just solidified that I was making the right choice,” she said.
Dr. Machacek grew up in Grand Junction. Now she is a family medicine physician at the Memorial Regional Health Medical Clinic in Craig. She became a doctor because she grew up in a rural area and knows the need for quality healthcare.
“I love smaller towns and the Western Slope, so I knew I wanted to practice in a rural area — that’s what drove me to medical school,” she said. “Family medicine specifically opened up a lot more opportunities and gives me the ability to care for all demographics.”
When going through medical school, Dr. Machacek trained to be a doctor of osteopathy, or DO. She learned all of the same topics as an MD school but in addition, she took courses in manual medicine and a philosophical focus on treating “the whole person.”
“The hands-on part is similar to chiropractic work, but with a different philosophy,” she said. “DOs practice Western medicine, but our training is just an additional tool in the toolbox.”
Chiropractors focus much more on manual medicine and have more limited training in internal medicine topics, but DOs cover both. Dr. Machacek said she came upon the path partially on accident.
“I didn’t know much about osteopathic medicine until I interviewed at Rocky Vista,” she said. “I really identified with the culture that I found there and was excited to have another option to offer my patients.”
Being seen by a DO can affect the type of care patients receive. Dr. Machacek said that DO practitioners can decrease pain and symptoms with options other than medication. The top three things that she would consider treating with manual manipulation besides pain complaints are constipation, ear pain and congestion, but not everyone has the same course of treatment.
“My number one philosophy is knowing that everyone is different and that guidelines are just that — they are guidelines,” Dr. Machacek said. “I take what I know and I apply it to a given situation in a way that makes the most sense for a patient.”
While Dr. Machacek stays busy working at MRH, she said she loves being able to get outdoors with her husband and daughter. She enjoys skiing the most, but also mountain bikes, paddleboards and hunts.
“The best part of living in Northwest Colorado, hands down, is the access to the outdoors,” she said.