Palmer News Profiles

Alumni Stories of Perseverance during COVID-19

Chiropractors have been changing lives for 125 years. Now, more than ever, the strength and perseverance of the profession shines through.

Palmer asked our alumni to share their chiropractic stories of how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting their practice and the profession. Do you have a story to share? Send it to alumni@palmer.edu.

Michael Chance, D.C., Chance Chiropractic Center
Member, Palmer College of Chiropractic Board of Trustees

Dr. Michael ChanceIt’s June 2020 and we’re in the middle of a global COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 9 million people have been infected with more than 400,000 deaths worldwide. In the U.S., more than 2 million people have had or currently have the disease and more than 100,000 of them died. The health, social and economic tolls have been staggering.

The Palmer community has not been immune to the repercussions of COVID-19. The College had to shift many courses to online learning for the health and safety of our students. All members of our community – students, alumni, faculty, staff and administration have been touched by this pandemic.

These have been significant hurdles, but the chiropractic profession will get through this. We are tough. We are resilient. We have been tempered by our past. This is not the toughest obstacle we have faced, only the latest. We have faced greater obstacles before.

In the early 1960’s the American Medical Association (AMA) made it one of its main goals to contain and eliminate chiropractic. The AMA changed its cannon of ethics and made it unethical for any M.D. to refer or to accept a referral from a chiropractor.

We think of this as ancient history, but it continued way into the 1980’s. In my first year of practice in 1979, I had a 27-year-old man come into my office as a new patient. He’d been horsing around at work. When a co-worker picked him up from behind, he immediately felt neck pain, couldn’t turn his head and had numbness in his hands. An X-ray revealed a broken neck.

I immediately called the local hospital and asked to speak to the orthopedic surgeon on call. I introduced myself as a new chiropractor in Gainesville (Florida) who had a patient in my office who needed his immediate help. The practice at the time prohibited referral from a chiropractor, putting this young man’s life in peril because of a long-held prejudice against our profession.

On August 27, 1987, a judge issued a 101-page opinion finding the AMA guilty of illegally trying to eliminate the chiropractic profession. In September of that year the judge issued a permanent injunction against the AMA and all its member from ever trying to destroy our profession through an illegal boycott.

Although this has been a tough time, I don’t think it will last 17 years. Our past has prepared us for any obstacle that’s put in our way. This too shall pass.

We are tough. We are persistent. We are resilient. We are Palmer.

Drew Voelsch, D.C (Main, ‘18), Hawkeye Chiropractic, Arlington Heights, Illinois

Drew Voelsch, D.C. (Main, '18)We were on the verge of celebrating our first anniversary, an exciting milestone for our new business, when the news of the coronavirus pandemic, its rapid growth and the subsequent quarantine gave us a new challenge. We had dedicated ourselves to our community’s health and wellness; how would we be able to best serve our community when people were no longer allowed to visit? After some creative thinking, we had confidence that our business and my dedication could rise to the challenge. We are committed to supporting the community that welcomed and supported us!

Digging in deep at the clinic, we took an athlete’s mindset and looked at how we could evolve to the new conditions while providing the assurance and stability our clients and their families needed. Our team shared their insights and we came up with a game plan for offering our services, the information we provided to patients, and the way we communicated with them.

It was important to us to follow the CDC and state guidelines for protocols, to assure the community, and provide our clients with accurate information. We started offering telehealth appointments so that we could continue to provide care.

Converting some of our clients to telehealth was a challenge. We created protocols and our sessions now include posture evaluations, workstation evaluations, dietary consultations, and Activities of Daily Living (ADL).

Recognizing the importance of communicating to our clients frequently and providing education in a world that was rapidly being inundated with misinformation and fear we turned to our social media channels, blog and video creation. We developed a new video series, Focus Health, to provide help and guidance to our community. At the same time, we created an essential services program that provided complimentary services to first responders. This program was implemented into the community through word of mouth and using social media.

Shifting with the needs of the community, I’m pleased to say that we’ve been able to bring staff back into the office, with our community relationships our clients are coming in for their appointments. We are so grateful for the community support. We are excited to continue our growth and involvement in our community. We want to thank everyone that has supported our practice, my family, and is sharing in the excitement of the arrival of my daughter this fall. I know that with the education from Palmer College and the support of the Palmer community, I was ready and able to meet this new challenge.

Michael Pound, D.C., DAAPM, DAIPM (West, ’09), Traverse Health, Lehi, Utah

Dr. Michael Pound (West, '09)Michael Pound, D.C. (West, ’09) reached a decade in private practice in 2019, and by the end of the year, he expanded his Utah-based patient-care services by developing a corporate-based clinic to serve employees of several local companies, including Oracle, Microsoft, and VISA.

With the demand for care from corporate-related patients increasing beyond his ability to handle by himself, Dr. Pound was about to add a second doctor to his team – and then COVID-19 hit.

Like his peers in the profession, Dr. Pound suddenly found himself having to make some rather significant adjustments in his standard patient-care protocol.

“Almost immediately, all of these patients transitioned to start working from home, which meant a huge shift in who we serviced, and how we provided our service,” said Dr. Pound, who has maintained a practice at Traverse Health in Lehi, Utah, since April 2019, after eight years in California.

“However, with a combination of home-training, such as sleep-posture, at-home ergonomics and at-home physical therapy for past-patients, and servicing the surrounding residents who otherwise have limited choices for neck and back-pain care, we were able to build up, and are now hiring, once again.”

Trying to stay informed of the latest COVID-19-related news as he adjusted his practice to meet the standards required of health care providers during a worldwide pandemic proved equally challenging and frustrating.

Dr. Pound decided to take matters into his own hands, and shifted from feelings of helplessness to hopefulness by creating the Small Business COVID-19 Resource and Support page on Facebook.

“Rather than be consumed by the fallout of the COVID crisis, I realized I would be better off creating a support-group to provide resources, and give hope and help to fellow chiropractors, and other health care providers, facing the same challenges,” said Dr. Pound, who served a term as ASG president, and also received one of the two Dr. Peggy Sherman Annual Endowment Scholarships awarded in 2007.

Dr. Pound realizes that new challenges still await as the pandemic continues to unfold; however he feels well prepared for the “new normal” as he begins his second decade in practice.

“I started my first practice during the last economic downturn, so I’m not a stranger to struggle,” says Dr. Pound, who maintains a podcast network at “Heal, Better, Fast.”

“However, it’s a whole lot easier when you have good advice, and also have the support of others who can relate!”

Morgan Cark, D.C. (Florida, ‘19), Cark Chiropractic Clinic, Eureka, California

Dr. Morgan ClarkNever did it cross my mind that in my first year of practice I’d be dealing with a pandemic. The rural area where my practice is has very few health-care options for people. With that said, I have kept my doors open and have been seeing quite a few new patients to help decrease the impact on the emergency room at our local hospital. I’ve also been seeing more and more essential workers, such as medical doctors, nurses and delivery drivers. My already-established patients have still been coming in due to stress or activity related issues. We take every precaution that has been advised by the CDC. It has been quite a learning opportunity for this new chiropractor.

Thomas Brodar, D.C. (Main, ‘77), Delphi, Indiana

It’s been a blessing to stay in one practice and community in Indiana for more than 39 years.

I’ve watched the development, growth, experiences and deaths of those I have been serving in my small rural practice. The county only has a part-time medical doctor, and the town of 3,000 people where I live has no medical doctor. When I got here in 1981, there were 11 medical doctors for the entire county of 18,000 citizens and one doctor of chiropractic. Now it’s being served by mostly nurse practitioners and a small cadre of chiropractors.

Being open for the COVID-19 outbreak is a big deal out here in the “outback.” Social distancing guidelines haven’t been an issue since the foot traffic and patient base has been diminished. The office is cleaner than it has ever been thanks to bleach wipe downs, disinfectant spray and the ability to air out the office with fresh air. During patient intake every patient gets their temperature taken with a hand-held digital thermal scanner, we use a digital pulse oximeter to check their lung oxygen function, they’re screened for a dry cough, and asked about involuntary body chills.

I try to educate patients about the central nervous system being the controlling network of the human body and regulating the individual’s immune system. By keeping their spinal column healthy, they have a better chance of fighting an illness. I also placed an advertisement in the local weekly newspaper educating the public on doctors of chiropractic as essential service providers, and about us serving our local hurt, suffering and sick local community members.

Allen Conrad, D.C., CSCS (Main, ’00), Montgomery County Chiropractic Center

Dr. Allen ConradMontgomery County Chiropractic Center in North Wales, Pennsylvania has been helping patients during the COVID-19 pandemic with chiropractic care and telehealth.

“Patients need chiropractic care to help their body work more efficiently during the pandemic,” says Allen Conrad, D.C., CSCS (Main, ’00). “We’ve been helping patients with in-office chiropractic visits, as well as with telehealth consults.”

Dr. Allen Conrad was recently featured in an expert panel on the benefits of chiropractic and telehealth on webMD, stating:

“With the recent COVID-19 outbreak, chiropractors are able to help people in pain with recommendations and postural stretching techniques without having the patient leave their home. This way the patient can consult with the chiropractor about what injuries they’re experiencing and the chiropractor can demonstrate and explain through telehealth what exercises they can do at home.”

Telehealth allows the chiropractor to keep in touch with the patient, and let them know that they’re available to help even when the patient is unable to get to the office for a visit.

“Our office has been taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of our patients, including hand sanitizer, wearing masks, social distancing, and taking every patient’s temperature and review of systems upon arriving,” says Dr. Conrad. “During these difficult times, we believe that offering chiropractic care to the community will help people improve their health, and we’re happy to help them. Our patients have been very pleased with our dedication to their service, and we’re glad to carry on the great traditions we learned at Palmer College of Chiropractic.”

Mickey Burt, D.C. (Main, ’73)

Palmer graduate Mickey Burt, D.C. (Main, ‘73) has been in practice for 46 years. His family-owned practice quickly adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to continue to provide care to its patients.

“People need chiropractic care. They want chiropractic care. They look to us to help them meet their needs and help them stay healthy.”

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