New Jersey Native Finds His Niche in Argentina
By Director of Public Relations Karen Rhodes
Imagine living in a place where you don’t see any signs for chiropractic offices on the streets. A place where you open the phone book to find no listings for chiropractors because there basically are none.
That’s what Dr. David Serio, ‘99, found when he visited Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the first time over 9 years ago. He couldn’t fathom that in this booming South American city of 12 million people, the word chiropractic was virtually unheard of.
Serio, a native of Fairfield, NJ, will tell you that packing up and moving to a country 5,000 miles from home isn’t all glamour and smiles even though he had a colleague with him to share the adventure. Serio and his friend and business partner, Craig Penny, D.C., moved to Argentina after graduation to open a practice in a chiropractically underserved country. When they set out for this strange land neither of them spoke Spanish and the country was in the worst financial crisis of all time. They are true chiropractic pioneers.
After finding office space in a great location of the city of Buenos Aires, they moved into the office — literally. They lived there for six months and slept on the floor while building their patient base.
Fast forward eight and a half years and Serio and Penny have created a booming market for chiropractic in Buenos Aires. Their services are in high demand. They now have three offices, each with a one-month waiting list.
Serio has been featured in eight major magazines including People and Newsweek. Their practice members include popular Argentine actors, sports stars, politicians, and models as well as many families and children. And Serio has as his friend and practice member the Minister of Economy for Argentina, Martin Lousteau, who talked about why he gets his spine checked regularly in Newsweek and the country’s finance magazine.
Serio says the strong philosophical base he developed at Sherman College is the one thing that has helped him most in practice abroad. “Without a doubt, the philosophy and the level of commitment to chiropractic I learned at Sherman College have really helped me grow as a doctor of chiropractic,” he says.
Working overseas in a country where chiropractic is still not widely known or understood, Serio says he feels great responsibility in being what may be the public’s only contact with chiropractic. “It makes you realize how simple the beauty of our message is,” he says. “It’s amazing to see how easy it is for people to understand and embrace the philosophy. It wasn’t that I fell in love with the country, but I felt that I needed to bring chiropractic to the area because there was none.
“The most rewarding part of practice, to me,” says Serio, “is seeing how many families have come to the office and brought their children to the office despite economic hardship. It has shown me the value of chiropractic more than I think I would have learned it anywhere else. They value our service and make it a priority — even during such difficult times.”
Serio insists that being a straight chiropractor is the best job in the world. “You get to listen to the music you love, dress as you wish, set your own hours, interact with amazing people all day, share with them a philosophy of life and the body that is so desperately needed, love people and adjust vertebral subluxations — which ultimately enables them to be a more full expression of the perfection that is within them, which ultimately makes the world a better place. That is my life every day. Chiropractic is not a job; it is a calling for me, and ultimately, every day in practice I get to serve chiropractic to people. It is in the serving that I am fulfilled.”
Serio is working closely with Jose Galetto of the Argentine Chiropractic Association to advance chiropractic as a career in Argentina with hopes of seeing a chiropractic school open in that country.
On a personal level Serio is now married to an Argentine women named Gabriela Cvetko, and they recently welcomed their first child into the world. The family lives a half hour from the city center. He plans to stay in Argentina and assist in the growth of the profession there.