Dr. Mackenzie Hartman, DO
Family Health West Primary Care
Growing up in Orlando, Florida, Mackenzie Hartman was always passionate about science, including marine biology. As a child, she loved exploring sea life on the Florida beaches. As a teen, she worked in cosmetic retail and eventually her interest in skin care, coupled with her interest in science, led her to a degree in advanced skin care working in plastic surgery and dermatology.
Dr. Hartman went back to medical school and studied medicine at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Bradenton, Florida, focusing on whole body treatment, with her sights set on dermatology. However, whenever she was around specialists she’d notice red flags in patients’ medical records—markers showing kidney function through the roof or diabetes out of control. She wondered why she couldn’t treat these underlying conditions as well as the skin. Eventually this led her into family practice.
Though her number one passion is still treating the body’s largest organ, the skin, Dr. Hartman appreciates offering expanded care which encompasses underlying conditions. She finds the two often go hand-in-hand. “That’s what medicine is—it’s detective work and it’s fun,” she explains.
So how did a girl who loves the ocean end up in land-locked Colorado? Several years ago, Mackenzie and her husband, Dave, asked themselves, “where do we want to move?” and decided on Colorado. Dr. Hartman set up her fourth-year rotations in Denver but after a stint in the city the couple desired something more rural. St. Mary’s residency program was recommended and Dr. Hartman landed a spot in the program, one of the most competitive medical programs in the state. After completion, she was hired by Western Valley Family Practice in Fruita, now referred to as Family Health West Primary Care.
Family Health West Primary Care Practice is a full-service clinic housing ten physicians, and five advanced practice providers. It’s quickly outgrowing its cozy space. While most of the providers are in family practice, the need for outside referrals is fairly infrequent since many of the providers specialize in various areas of medicine, allowing needs to be met in house.
Dr. Hartman explains, “Everyone has their niche. So me? I’m skin. One of our providers specializes in gynecology. Another provider performs colonoscopies. It’s really nice for our patients to have a full medical home.”
“One of the reasons I like primary care with a higher specialization in dermatology is to be that buffer from having to go to a specialist. So often a patient will be referred to dermatology when they could find an easier fix than waiting months to get in. I’m capable of treating the majority of conditions and I’ve been able to bridge that gap and allow people to be treated faster.”
Whether treating rashes, acne or conducting minor cosmetic procedures, over 50 percent of Dr. Hartman’s care is skin related. “If there’s something that bothers you about your appearance, why not fix it, if it will make you more confident?” she asks. “Seeing people light up over things like an ear gauge repair or mole removal is really nice. If you feel comfortable and confident in your body, that’s going to allow you to excel in other areas of your life.” She adds, “Medication for acne is a life-altering treatment.” Additionally, Dr. Hartman offers Botox for migraine treatment, a practice which is effective for the majority of her patients.
Dr. Hartman explains how issues going on inside the body often end up being displayed on the outside. For example, certain rashes are associated with diabetes or cancer. A presenting rash may allow Hartman to pinpoint a causative factor that’s more than skin deep. Whatever the health scenario, she enjoys “being able to meet a patient’s needs and see them as more than another cog in the wheel.”
Her husband Dave and two-year-old son, Harrison–“rambunctious and cute as a button”—are the reason she does what she does. “One of the hardest things about being a woman in medicine is the demand on my time,” she states honestly. “It’s a daily struggle, but it’s worth it.” She continues, “Dave’s been with me since before medical school. He’s definitely been my number one support system.” They’ve taken many trips for racing events and love being on the river, or in the desert or mountains “getting lost.” They’ve also introduced Harrison to snowboarding.
Mackenzie remembers first coming to Grand Junction for a two-week internship in February, allowing her to hike and ski on the same weekend. ”Where else in the world would I be able to do that?” she asks. It sounds like the girl from the ocean has truly found her home in the mountains.
Family Health West Primary Care is located in Fruita and the Redlands. They are currently accepting new patients. To learn more and connect with a primary care provider, call directly at 970.858.9894.