Businesses around the South Sound are growing. The economy is slowly but surely gaining steam. And, at Olympia-based Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, they are seeing growth as well with newly hired doctors and staff in all three of their South Puget Sound clinics. However, as is often the case, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. The hidden truth is that Oly Ortho is attracting nationally-acclaimed experts to their clinics, creating an orthopaedic practice that is quickly becoming the “go-to” place in Pierce, Thurston, Lewis counties, and beyond.
One of these experts is Dr. Tim DuMontier, now seeing patients at the Westside Olympia clinic.
Dr. DuMontier was born and raised on a ranch in Montana just north of Missoula in the town of Arlee. The ranch raised horses and Tim established a connection to the land early in life. “My job at the ranch was feeding horses, exercising horses, putting up hay – all that’s involved with keeping a ranch running,” he explains. The solid work ethic Dr. DuMontier gained in his early years carries over into all parts of his life, including his work as an orthopaedic surgeon.
Although “Big Sky Country” was his home, he was ready to experience the “big city” and chose to attend USC in Los Angeles for his undergraduate degree. “I wanted to go someplace different. It was sunny and there was a good football team,” he says. Given that his entire high school served 130 students, he was sure to get the change of scenery he craved.
After undergrad, Dr. DuMontier studied medicine at the University of Washington Medical School in Seattle. He remained to complete his Orthopaedic Surgery residency. “It’s one of the top programs in the nation and I felt fortunate for the opportunity to be there,” he says.
During this time, he married his wife, Rebecca, and the couple settled into life in Seattle for the challenging years of residency. However, they didn’t get too comfortable as they knew they’d be headed back to Montana soon. “I tried to really pay attention to all aspects of the orthopaedic training, not just one specialty,” recalls Dr. DuMontier. “I knew if I was in a small town in Montana, I wouldn’t just be dealing with one part of the body – I’d have finger injuries, knees, shoulders – the whole gamut.”
It was during his residency that he spent time at Harborview Medical Center. There, he was drawn to the field of foot and ankle after working alongside surgeons dealing with traumatic foot and ankle injuries at the Level 1 Trauma Center. “The effort and quality of the very talented surgeons impressed me and I was drawn to the idea of working with these types of injuries,” shares Du Montier.
To further his expertise in the field, he completed a foot and ankle fellowship after residency near Detroit, MI, and upon completion, Dr. DuMontier came full circle and returned to Montana.
Although he loved the idea of returning “home,” Dr. DuMontier also didn’t have much of a choice. “When I left for USC, part of my schooling, as well as part of my medical school, was paid for by an Indian Health Service Scholarship. To pay it back, you are required to serve an Indian population for four years,” he explains.
He set up his initial practice on the Flathead Indian Reservation, only about 10 minutes from his childhood home. Dr. DuMontier was grateful he’d paid close attention to the full range of his orthopaedic training as he only focused about 40 percent of his time on foot and ankle and the rest general orthopaedics.
After four years in the small community, Dr. DuMontier looked to expand his work in foot and ankle and joined a team in Kalispell, MT. “I did some general orthopaedics but foot and ankle were my focus,” he explains. “It was a large service area and people came from far around with complex problems so it was very challenging and rewarding.”
After several satisfying years, Dr. DuMontier sought opportunities for growth and challenge. “I like the challenge of learning new things and believe when you do something, you should try and do it the best you can,” he shares.
Olympia Orthopaedic Associates was in the process of growing their foot and ankle team of surgeons and when Dr. DuMontier saw the ad for the job he didn’t hesitate. “I just had a good feeling about it. They were looking for someone to do foot and ankle and help establish a Foot and Ankle Center and I thought, ‘wow – that would be an exciting challenge and a great way to utilize my expertise.’”
His hiring at Oly Ortho marks the first time Dr. DuMontier has worked in a single-specialty group and he is excited to join a team where he can remain focused on his work in foot and ankle.
Of course, it wasn’t only Dr. DuMontier that was moving. Dr. DuMontier and his family of five traveled to Olympia to take a look. Something clicked. “I just knew we could be really happy here,” he shares.
It wasn’t just the potential work that was a good fit. Dr. DuMontier is an avid sailor and is eager to sail on the Puget Sound. He runs – as do many other Oly Ortho docs – and stays active with his whole family including his three children ages 7, 9, and 12, along with their Schnauzer, Walter.
Dr. DuMontier’s interests extend far beyond sports and the outdoors. “I love to raise orchids. I dabble in yoga, and have classic cars.” Well-rounded? Yes.
The bottom line for Dr. DuMontier is that he knows he can make a significant and positive impact on people’s lives through his work at Oly Ortho.
“The reason I do what I do is that foot injuries can be significant and life altering. The limitations you experience when your foot is injured are huge,” he explains, when discussing Oly Ortho’s motto of “Life in Motion.” “It’s very rewarding to help people get back to function, back on their feet so to speak.”
You can visit Dr. DuMontier at Olympia Orthopaedic Associates now by scheduling an appointment at 1-800-936-3386.