Homecoming speakers inspire and educate

Homecoming speakers inspire and educate

For three days on campus, educational and inspirational speakers took the main stage during the Homecoming general sessions. They included researcher/author/filmmaker Tom Rath; well-known sports chiropractor Alan Sokoloff, D.C., DACBDP®; Dan Weinert, D.C., Ph.D.; and author Shilo Harris.


Tom Rath “moves” Homecoming crowd

If you came late to researcher and author Tom Rath’s session, you probably wondered why the crowd occasionally jumped to its feet. This was because Rath himself requested everyone stand every 20 minutes.

Tom Rath speaking to the general session crowd during Homecoming 2017

Tom Rath

Rath said that we should move our bodies every 20 minutes for the mental benefits as well as physical. “You think better when you move more. Sitting may be the most underrated health threat of this generation. On a global level, inactivity may kill more people than cigarettes.”

In his book “Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes,” he says that “Researchers have estimated that 90 percent of us could live to age 90 with some simple lifestyle choices.” These choices include standing more, moving more, making better food choices, and focusing on positive interactions.

Regarding work life, Rath said we tend to focus our time and attention in the wrong area. If employees are doing well in one area but poorly in another, employers have a tendency to focus on the weak area. But focusing on the person’s strengths and using them to their best ability makes the employee a better worker who produces better and increased results.

“One of the most powerful things in the world for a person to do,” he said, “is to help people focus on or find their strengths. Top performers are not well-rounded. Great teams are.”


Successful Integration of Chiropractic in the Training Room
Alan Sokoloff, D.C., DACBSP®

Alan Sokoloff, D.C., DACBSP®, has spent the past 18 years working with college, Olympic and professional sports teams including the Maryland Terrapins, the Bowie Baysox, and the Baltimore Ravens. He told some great stories from his experiences. But more importantly, he shared a clear and direct message about how chiropractors can work to integrate chiropractic care into the training room. If your goal is to work with a high school, college or professional team, Dr. Sokoloff demonstrated, through stories and conversations, the four most important qualities of a team chiropractor.

Dr. Alan Sokolof speaking on the main stage during Palmer Homecoming 2017

Dr. Alan Sokoloff

Professionalism—“In the training room, if you show up on time you’re late,” said Dr. Sokoloff. “If I’m scheduled to start at nine, I make sure I’m there by 8:30.” He shared how often chiropractors lose their spot as team chiropractor over issues of poor documentation, unreliability and lack of professionalism. He gave examples of “what not to say to a player” and told a story about an adjusting-table failure that demonstrated how a lack of preparation can literally knock-out a star player.

Communication—every quote and story emphasized how important it is for sports chiropractors to work as a member of the medical team.  Communication must be timely and transparent. He demonstrated how chiropractors must communicate the value of chiropractic in a way—even in the health record—that can be easily understood by other health-care professionals, coaches, owners or parents. “Leave your ego at the door,” said Dr. Sokoloff, because it will get in the way of good communication and teamwork. This was clearly the most important skill (aside from adjusting) that a chiropractor can bring to the training room.

Adaptability—Dr. Sokoloff discussed how helpful it is to have skill in a variety of techniques and to develop the ability to apply those techniques almost anywhere. To prove his point, he showed photos of his experiences adjusting in spacious training rooms, on-field, in hotel rooms and crowded locker rooms, using everything from adjusting tables to just a sheet on the ground.

Scope of Practice— Dr. Sokoloff emphasized the value of chiropractic adjustments to sports teams, and the importance of staying within the scope of practice. He celebrated how chiropractors offer the best examinations, consultations and adjustments available in healthcare. “Any number of health-care providers can offer taping, dry-needling and soft-tissue work,” said Dr. Sokoloff. “But no one else can examine and adjust the way we do–and that’s powerful. That’s what coaches, trainers and players need from their team chiropractor.”


Innovation and Regulation within the Health-care Environment
Dan Weinert, D.C., Ph.D.

Companies like Uber and Lyft are disrupting the transportation industry.  Amazon’s stocks are skyrocketing, while companies like JC Penny, Sears, and Kmart teeter on the brink of bankruptcy. The former entertainment giant Blockbuster failed to recognize the potential of on-demand-video, and that brought about its eventual demise. These are just some of the examples Dr. Dan Weinert used to demonstrate how cultural inertia can be deadly to an organization and how important it is to foster innovation.

Dr. Dan Weinert speaking on the main stage during Palmer Homecoming 2017

Dr. Dan Weinert

He also shared some of the key factors that make innovation possible, as well as those that hinder innovation. Over-regulation and bureaucracy are the primary barriers to innovation while justice, trust and meaningful work are essential to an innovative environment. Dr. Weinert shared several examples from the medical and pharmaceutical industries and discussed how important it is for chiropractors to engage with other health-care professions in order to influence the health-care industry. He said, “We have to be proactively involved in shaping the healthcare environment.”

Dr. Weinert went on to share the necessary components of successful innovation. They are advantage, compatibility, flexibility, triability, and observability.  “Basically, it boils down to this,” said Dr. Weinert, “Is it easy and is it useful?” But he went to add that it’s important for innovation to also be observable. “We need to experience small victories, some minor wins, in order to continue thinking and working creatively.”

“I think we’re at a tipping point in chiropractic,” said Dr. Weinert. “We’ve seen a lot of minor wins in the last few years.” He went on to express optimism for the future of chiropractic and for Palmer College. “Palmer is not interested in being the trusted leader in health-science education, like some of our competitors. We aspire to be The Trusted Leader in Chiropractic Education®.”


When Life Blows Up: a Story of Triumph over Adversity

Shilo Harris, author of “Steel Will: My Journey through Hell to Become the Man I Was Meant to Be”

Shilo Harris speaks with an attendee at this book signing table after his session.

Shilo Harris speaks with an attendee at this book signing table after his session.

The final presentation of Davenport Homecoming 2017 opened with a video. The audience viewed scenes from 9/11, pictures of a young Shilo Harris in combat uniform looking confident and battle-ready, of the mangled remains of a Humvee lying in the pit of an IED-explosion crater, and images of Harris’s slow and painful recovery from that explosion. Though just a few minutes long, the video told a powerful story of sacrifice, suffering, healing and mission. Then Shilo Harris walked onto the stage, standing tall and straight in his dress blue uniform and the applause grew into a standing ovation.

Mr. Harris spent the next 40 minutes sharing stories and details of that pivotal day and his proceeding recovery. He recalled seeing the reflection of his charred face in the lens of his buddy’s sunglasses. He shared how he has no memory of the two explosions that destroyed his Humvee and killed three of his fellow soldiers, but the pain of that loss and the 75 surgeries that patched together his burned and broken body remain fresh in his mind.

The crowd rumbled with laughter when Shilo told how a new cowboy hat made his prosthetic ears pop off his head and roll around on the floor, terrifying a young sales woman. But the mood turned somber when he spoke with candor about his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “I was depressed, medicated, and addicted,” said Mr. Harris. “That’s when I met a chiropractor, and he not only changed my life, he saved my life. In fact, he gave me my life back.”

In closing, Mr. Harris looked intently at the chiropractic alumni and students in the room and encouraged them to reach out to veterans to help them lead healthier lives. “Right now the military is plagued with suicides. Chronic pain and PTSD are doing more damage to our soldiers than any IEDs,” he stated emphatically. “With chiropractic, you aren’t just helping people with their pain. You’re saving lives.”

The crowd erupted in applause, and Mr. Harris left the stage after another standing ovation.

PS—Shilo Harris discovered chiropractic through the Patriot Project, a grass roots movement to provide chiropractic care to all active military, their families, wounded warriors, and gold star families. To get involved, visit www.patriot-project.org.