Our People

Dawn Motyka, MD

Dawn Motyka, MD

IFM Certified Practitioner IFM Certified Practitioner

My name is Dawn Motyka, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to guide and assist other healers on their path of transformation into Functional Medicine practitioners. Teaching is in my blood, whether it’s my patients in my Functional Medicine concierge practice in Santa Cruz, in my long-running public radio program (since 1993) and podcast (since 2004), or in my years as a facilitator for IFM teaching Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP). You can get a taste of my teaching style by going to askdrdawn.com. Here’s a bonus link to an interview with Jeff Bland where we have a Terry Gross–style conversation about detoxification!

I received my BS in neuroanatomy/psychology from UCLA in 1981 and spent a year as a research associate studying endorphins and deep brain stimulation before attending UC Davis School of Medicine. During those years, I studied public health in Central America, ophthalmology in the People’s Republic of China, and bioethics with Tristram Englehardt (later an advisor to President Clinton) at Rice University. I did my residency in family practice at the County Hospital of San Bernardino and then ran a farmworker clinic in Hollister, California, before joining a small family practice group (four doctors) in Santa Cruz. I trained in acupuncture through the Helms Institute at UCLA and opened a side practice in medical acupuncture emphasizing chronic pain. Later, I taught in the doctoral program at the Five Branches School of Oriental Medicine in San Jose. I became interested in Functional Medicine around 2002, and it has provided me with the framework with which I have been able to integrate all my interests and skills.

As you can imagine, our conversations will be far-ranging and emblematic of the dynamic, multitrack, biological, systems-based approach to health and disease that is truly the core of Functional Medicine. We all have some unlearning of entrenched habits of thought to do, and we’ll help each other rewire our clinician synapses together.