Cindy Gibbon, D.C.
Preparing Students for Success in Practice
Dr. Cindy Gibbon began her tenure at Sherman in 1984 teaching non-chiropractic classes. It was only after teaching at Sherman for three years that she realized how much she appreciated the college and its philosophy. She also knew that she could be much more effective in the classroom if she added chiropractic studies to her body of knowledge.
“I loved Sherman and chiropractic philosophy so much that I became a chiropractor in addition to being a medical technologist,” Gibbon says of her decision to enroll at Sherman in 1987, completing her Doctor of Chiropractic degree in 1991.
The New Jersey native graduated from Elmira College with a bachelor of science degree in 1970 and taught Earth Science in a public school for a year before pursuing a medical technology degree at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, NJ. After completing that degree, she worked for 10 years in medical hospitals before coming to teach at Sherman.
When she first attained the doctor of chiropractic degree and a license to practice, she maintained a small home practice in Spartanburg while raising her four children – now 31, 28 and 25 (twins) – and continued teaching at Sherman. Over the years Gibbon, a professor of clinical sciences and a member of the health center faculty, has taught more than 20 different courses, calling on her medical technology background and her chiropractic skills to prepare students for success in the field.
But Gibbon’s leadership role at her alma mater has gone beyond her skill as a classroom professor. As part of the committee that makes up the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE), she has developed questions for three out of four parts of the national tests. That involvement has given her an opportunity to work with people from other schools, seeing what they emphasize in their curricula and comparing that to the focus at Sherman.
“Because I now know what level students need to achieve to pass boards, I can make sure that level is exceeded in the classroom,” Gibbon says of the invaluable experience she reaps from being a participant in the NBCE exam committees.
The fact that she doesn’t teach technique often leads Gibbon to feel that she has to “sell” the content of her classes. “I try to emphasize that we are all healthcare providers, that we need to understand the health needs of patients,” she says of taking students beyond the physical act of adjusting. “I have students who were reluctant learners when they were in my class who come back years later and tell me that now that they are in practice, they understand the importance of the content I taught them.”
Gibbon has enjoyed the fact that the Sherman faculty works so well together as a group. “We’re all really close. There’s so much sharing, bouncing thoughts off each other,” she says of the collegial atmosphere that fosters innovation. That spirit of cooperation has led Gibbon to collaborate with other staff members on research projects and work on a team that developed ways to enhance learning opportunities for students.
Gibbon recently made a presentation at the Association of Chiropractic Colleges Research Agenda Conference on a research project that she is pursuing with Claudia Seay, D.C., a fellow Sherman alumna and dean of clinic at the college’s on-campus Chiropractic Health Center and John Hart, D.C., M.H.Sc., assistant director of research. They are investigating a relatively simple method of instrumentation for chiropractors to use in their pattern analysis for vertebral subluxation.
“We decided to see if digital forehead thermometers could be used to take Fossa readings behind the ear, determining upper cervical temperatures,” Gibbon said of the ongoing research that, once completed, could be of immense benefit to chiropractors. “We haven’t finished the third leg of the research yet, but so far it’s looking pretty good. We see possible advantages.”
She is also proud of the work she has done with the college’s Quality Enhancement Plan/Case Study Instruction which explores different methods of learning and instructional changes that can be implemented to help students “become more participatory” in the educational process.
By going beyond the confines of the classroom, working with others in the profession and exploring instructional options, Gibbon strives to enhance the student experience and ensure that students are prepared when they go into the professional world.
“I want students to give as much to education as they can to become the best doctors – because patients are going to expect to have capable, educated doctors,” she concludes.