One day many years ago, a healthy baby boy was born to thrilled parents. Healthy that is, except for a club foot. But thanks to a skilled foot and ankle doctor, the little boy’s club foot was corrected and he was able to grow up without any limitations. However, this experience led him to his passion – following in his doctor’s footsteps to provide medical care and corrective surgery to others. Dr. Michael Dujela of Washington Orthopaedic Center was that little boy.
Dr. Dujela’s resume is impressive. He has a drive to constantly learn and do more. Once he finished podiatry school he asked himself, “Who are the best?” He then sought the experts out and traveled to train with them. He has participated in international fellowships (advanced training for fully-trained surgeons) in Germany, Korea, Switzerland, and Ohio.
Hailing from Victoria, Canada, Dr. Dujela was looking to work in the Pacific Northwest when he happened upon Centralia. His first place of practice was with Dr. John McChord, the well-respected podiatrist. They worked together until Dr. McChord’s retirement in 2009.
In 2014 Dr. Dujela joined Washington Orthopaedic Center. There, his partnership allows him to live the best of all worlds. He has the opportunity to travel around the world to lecture and teach. “The teamwork allows me to do it all. They are wonderful leaders, with their hearts and minds in the right place,” he says. Without the support of his academic work, it would be too hard to run a solo practice.
Dr. Dujela also appreciates that small town relationships make things easier. The partnership with the hospital staff helps patients receive high quality care. “I can just pick up the phone and make a call. It’s much more direct, without having to go through layers. We trust each other and can get things done faster,” Dr. Dujela marvels. In addition, he says the patients are easy to work with. “They are accepting and open-minded. They follow instructions and have a high degree of motivation to improve,” he comments.
Dr. Dujela has been involved, for the past five years, in international education. He is a member of the National Surgical Education Committee, Education and Scientific Affairs Committee, developing educational materials for surgeons in North America. He is also on the national committee to develop board certification exams for foot and ankle surgeons. If that isn’t enough, he was just involved in writing a textbook chapter on bone grafting.
In June 2016, Dr. Dujela will be presenting at the Global Foot and Ankle Congress. The conference brings together 15 of the biggest names in the world to present, and he is honored to be the only U.S. foot and ankle specialist to be speaking. He will also teach courses for the Indian Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society while there.
But it isn’t all a one-way street. Washington Orthopaedic Center also hosts doctors serving fellowships. Recently, a doctor from India came and stayed for a month, not only learning about advanced techniques here, but sharing his knowledge of the practice. “It’s really an exchange of information,” explains Dr. Dujela. “It’s fascinating to learn how creative they can be and the good results they can achieve with what they have.”
In the spring Washington Orthopaedic Center will be hosting another surgeon from India. An ironic aspect of these exchanges is that the doctor who corrected Dr. Dujela’s club foot as a child was from India. “It’s an interesting opportunity to give back,” he smiles.
Dr. Dujela is excited to share with other surgeons all that Washington Orthopaedic Center can do. He says, “The center, in general, does some really high level work.” All the providers are able to offer an advanced level of sports medicine and surgery that is typically not available in smaller communities. Dr. Dujela explains, “We meet as a whole, constantly seeking to provide the best care. We ask ourselves, ‘Is there a new implant or technique? Is what we’re doing best for patients?’ Medicine is like an international fraternity. We all have the same issues, but different ways of dealing with them. Collaborating with partners and solving problems – it’s fantastic and it magnifies the efficiency.”
Washington Orthopaedic Center provides high quality medical care that is being recognized locally and nationally. Their boutique care takes a more personal approach to dealing with patients.
Dr. Dujela has had opportunities to be part of bigger centers, in bigger towns. But, he says, “You can follow your aspirations or you can live your aspirations where you are.” Dr. Dujela has found his aspirations in Lewis County and Washington Orthopaedic Center.
To schedule an appointment, call 360-736-2889.