Switching Paths

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“I’m from the cities, and I’d never really thought about rural medicine, but I came to Lakewood for a one-month summer intern program between my first and second years of school and thought the facility, providers and staff were amazing. They were doing such great things, which got me thinking about family medicine, so I applied for RPAP, hoping to be placed at Lakewood.”

Her hopes came true, and Dr. Jenny Bunio did a nine-month family medicine RPAP (Rural Physician Associate Program) rotation at Lakewood in 2011. “Halfway through the program, I was thinking I really liked being able to do the full-spectrum of care, but then I did my OB rotation with Drs. [Erik] Dovre and [Carol] Uhlman, and decided I might like OB better.”

“I always thought I’d love the office part of OB/GYN: meeting patients, doing consults for gynecological problems, taking care of OB patients, but I never thought I’d like the surgery part of it. But after doing some procedures and surgeries with Dovre and Uhlman, I saw how cool it was, and said, ‘Yeah, this is what I want to do.’” So, after finishing RPAP at Lakewood, Dr. Bunio returned to the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, and decided to specialize in obstetrics.

“Lakewood was the only place I applied after finishing med school; I didn’t think I wanted to go anywhere else. I knew even at the end of RPAP, and talked to Craig [Wolhowe] about coming back. I didn’t commit to anything, just because I wanted to be sure I wasn’t going to specialize in anything. Even though OB/GYN seems narrowly focused, there are quite a few areas in which you can specialize. Once I made that decision, I talked to Craig again and said, ‘Let me come back!’”

The big question: Why Lakewood? “There’s this palpable thing I can’t quite name, but there’s something different about Lakewood. The teamwork of the providers, staff and even the community is great, and when something happens, everyone is there, supporting each other and pitching in. The patients here are different than other places, and there’s something special about that too. I love being able to work with a variety of people, so this seemed like a good fit.”

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“The other great thing about Lakewood is that I had the opportunity to meet and work with Drs. Dovre and Uhlman. They were such great teachers and mentors while I was here doing RPAP, but they were also there during my entire time at med school and residency. I’m lucky to have them in my life.”

With the recent departure of Dr. Erik Dovre, Dr. Bunio will be a welcome addition to Lakewood’s already-stellar women’s health department. “Working in the cities, I’ve had the opportunity to see how things are done in many different ways. The benefit of having those experiences is being in a situation and knowing there’s more than one way to do something, and choosing what you and the patient think is going to work best.”

“I’ve had a lot of exposure to laparoscopic, minimally-invasive surgeries. I do total laparoscopic hysterectomies, which Dr. Uhlman doesn’t do, so I think that will be a good complement to our OB/GYN practice. I also have interests in high-risk pregnancies and infertility, which I know are already a big part of the practice here at Lakewood, so I’m excited to contribute to that.”

When she’s not working, Dr. Bunio enjoys spending time with her husband, Nick, the music director at Verndale schools, and their daughter, Rosie. They also have a dog, Oberon, and as a family, they like to cook, spend time on the water, and travel.

“Even though I only spent nine months here during RPAP, my husband and I both grew to love the area, so we’re excited to be back. There is something magical about Lakewood, and I couldn’t wait to be part of this community again.”