Highway to Education

Highway to Education

Autopista Americas Visits Sherman College

highway to education
highway to education

Twenty college career counselors and staff members with AutopistaAmericas were treated to the Sherman College experience during a half-day visit on June 5. They also visited CollegeTown neighbors Spartanburg Methodist College for the afternoon.

AutopistaAmericas is an academic consulting firm that holds career/college fairs around the world; Sherman participates each summer at a large event in Puerto Rico. In addition, they conduct “reverse” tours where Autopista brings together a group of counselors from the US, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and makes a tour of universities in the United States.

The Sherman College half-day experience included talks from President Edwin Cordero, D.C., our executive vice president, and our provost; presentations about health care professions and the doctor of chiropractic curriculum; a mini campus tour; a student panel discussion; and an overview of admission requirements. The half-day on campus concluded with lunch, and then the group moved on to SMC’s campus.

Autopista is Spanish for highway; the organization’s website says it “advance(s) this term to mean ‘The Highway to Education’ in connecting all of the Americas.” AutopistaAmericas has conducted tours for guidance counselors to more than 500 different colleges and universities for more than 20 years.

Graduation Success

Sherman College

Preparing Graduates for Success in Practice

Sherman is the only chiropractic college focused on teaching students the business acumen for success in practice with the G10, Graduation Plus 10, program. Sherman College asserts that chiropractic college graduates deserve to excel by successfully practicing chiropractic and generating revenues through healthy, vibrant and prosperous practices centered on the chiropractic adjustment.

Sherman College has introduced into its curriculum a proven Practice Success Program that equips Sherman College graduates with the necessary business tools for career success. This is a powerful partnership with TLC4Superteams and Drs. Dean and Jen DePice that promises to help Sherman students develop the skills they require for success as a practitioner and business owner. Brian Dooley, D.C., ’05, A.C.P., directs the program on campus.

“Too often, brand new doctors of chiropractic move into the workplace with great skills and no idea of how to run a business,” explains Sherman College President Edwin Cordero, D.C. “Their goal may be to help people achieve optimal health, but they can’t do that effectively without the business acumen to start up and run a successful practice.”

G10 helps Sherman College students explore the practical aspects of establishing and growing their practices, along with providing a game plan for eliminating student loan debt within the first 10 years after graduation. It is an innovative program that starts in the first quarter to give students intensive training on how to be a chiropractic entrepreneur.

The program covers everything from managing start-up costs to defining the value proposition of a business. It puts sound business practices alongside expert clinical instruction so Sherman graduates can build enduring and distinguished practices, as well as thrive financially so they can serve fully.

“I’m excited for the students and for the college,” Cordero says.” We want to give our students the best experience possible. We want them to be purposeful, make different choices. It’s clear that other colleges that want to be competitive will have to follow suit.”

Graduation June 2017

Graduation June 2017

Thirty-Two Complete Doctor of Chiropractic Program

Sherman College

Graduation June 2017

Thirty-two students from around the world received the doctor of chiropractic degree from Sherman College of Chiropractic in Spartanburg, SC, on Saturday, June 17, 2017. The commencement was a shared ceremony for June and September 2017 graduates.

See the Facebook photo album.

Order photos from Snapfish.

See the Spartanburg Herald-Journal photo gallery.

Kara Louise Gingras of New Hampshire, the recipient of the Milton W. Garfunkel Award, presented the farewell address to her classmates. The Garfunkel Award is the highest award given at graduation. Students receiving this honor must have a grade point average of 3.5 or above, and in addition, best exemplify those qualities Sherman College would like to inculcate in all of its graduates: love of the profession, an understanding of the philosophy, willingness to share, and service to the college and community.

Gingras also received the Academic Achievement Award. The Academic Achievement Award is given to the individual in each graduating class who maintains the highest grade point average throughout his or her studies at Sherman College.

The Clinical Excellence Award was presented to Gingras and also to Stephanie Marie Gates of New Jersey in recognition of their successful practices in the Health Center. This award is given to an intern in each class who has diligently worked to develop skills in the art, science, and philosophy of chiropractic, maintained an A average in the clinical program and exhibited superior overall clinical performance and professionalism.

Joseph Frank Messina of Connecticut and Breanna Rose Riggs Smith of Pennsylvania received the B.J. Palmer Philosophy Distinction Award. This honor is given to outstanding students who exemplify the profound philosophical understanding necessary to translate the universal principles of life into the workable philosophy, science, and art which is chiropractic.

The commencement address was given by Sherman College Executive Vice President Neil Cohen, D.C. Cohen is a 1986 graduate of Life Chiropractic who practiced for 28 years in Florida, where his goal was to empower and inspire parents to raise healthy, non-medicated families. In 2014, Dr. Cohen sold his practice to support Sherman College’s mission and vision as executive vice president. He is a sought-after platform speaker, sharing the chiropractic philosophy across the United States and around the world. His daughter, Sarah Rachel Cohen, graduated in the ceremony.

Douglas Gates, D.C., delivered the charge to the graduates. A 1974 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic and a 1971 graduate of the State University of New York, Gates practices in Hillsdale, New Jersey. Dr. Gates held several crucial roles at Sherman College during the years following its founding, including faculty member, Technique Department chair, dean of continuing education, dean of the college and academic dean. He was also a faculty member at Pennsylvania College of Straight Chiropractic. Dr. Gates has published two textbooks: Correlative Spinal Anatomy in 1977 and Spinal Palpation in 1981. His daughter, Stephanie Marie Gates, graduated in the ceremony.

The doctor of chiropractic program at Sherman College requires students to complete more than 4,900 hours (14 quarters) of classroom and laboratory study and also includes an internship in the college’s on-campus Chiropractic Health Center. To enter the D.C. program, students must have at least 90 semester hours of college-level courses, including courses in the sciences.


Sherman College of Chiropractic provides students with a comprehensive chiropractic education, preparing them to enter the field as doctors of chiropractic who are highly skilled, compassionate, ethical and successful. On its 80-acre campus in South Carolina, Sherman offers a first professional degree program unique in its approach to health care and known globally for the skill and art of chiropractic delivered by graduates. For more information, visit www.sherman.edu or call 800-849-8771.

For more information, please contact:

Karen Rhodes

Director of Public Relations
Sherman College of Chiropractic
Phone: 800-849-8771, ext. 242
Email: krhodes@sherman.edu
Web: www.sherman.edu

Attract New Patient Members

Attract New Patient Members

New Patient Attraction Through Appreciation

by Daniel and Richelle Knowles, D.C.s

Attract New Patient Members

New patient attraction through appreciation is a fun and effective way to attract new patients into your office. Our personal favorite is a practice member appreciation program that we developed for our practice. It’s simple, and our practice members love it.

You first need to decide who your ideal practice members are by developing a list of qualities and characteristics. For example, they are people who keep their appointments, handle their finances in a timely manner, are enthusiastic about the changes they’ve experienced, and perhaps belong to a certain demographic you’re reaching out to.

Once you’ve decided the characteristics of your best practice members, sit down with your team and select four to eight weeks’ worth of “Practice Members of the Week.” We find it efficient to select them all at once for one or two months, maybe even for the whole quarter.

Once you’ve done this, the appreciation begins. Train your staff to look out for the people who are practice members of the week to acknowledge them during a regular office visit a week or two before the times for which they’ve been selected.

Use these key elements:

  • A practice member of the week testimonial form. This is a sheet on which you can include their picture and a few questions for them to answer, such as how long they’ve been in care, what their lives were like before chiropractic care, their original motivations to seek care, and how chiropractic has positively impacted their lives? Allow them to share personal comments about their experiences in your office.
  • A gift bag. Use a nice glossy gift bag, like you’d bring to a party, and fill it with goodies. We have given a water bottle with our logo, a chocolate bar or other treats, a gift certificate for the care in your office, a gift card for some other business in your area (such as a $5 gift card to a smoothie bar or coffee shop that you have a relationship with), and/or a chiropractic or uplifting book that you often recommend. Have fun with it. We also include a save-the-date card for our practice member appreciation banquet and a letter asking for an online review.

The Fun Begins

When it’s their week, and the practice members of the week come for their office visits, the front desk welcomes them with a congratulatory greeting like, “Congratulations and welcome! You are our honored practice member of the week. We’re so grateful to serve you and for your faithfulness and follow through with your care. We’re inspired by all the great changes you had that we want to honor you. Here’s a little gift goodie bag with some special gifts for you.”

Walk them through what’s in the bag and point out the special save-the-date card for your practice member appreciation banquet! Tell them they are welcome to bring friends and family. Ask them to complete a brief form about their experience under the care and take a picture with you. Also, make sure you have them fill out a privacy form, giving you permission to share their pictures and testimonials in the office and on your website or social media channels.

Now you have the opportunity to parlay this into even more impressions for your office. Other things you can do:

  • Ask them to share their experience of care on video so that you can post it on your Facebook page and YouTube.
  • Request that they complete online reviews of your office and then reproduce it into a social media post on your Facebook page.
  • Create a post for your office blog and share that in social media as well. If you have a video, post it on YouTube. You could also use it in your weekly email newsletter for practice members as part of a “practice member spotlight.”

We’re Not Finished Yet

Once a quarter, host a small gathering for the most recent practice members of the week at a nice restaurant. Pick a restaurant that will seat 20 to 30 people in a private room and book the dates for the whole year. Pick a weekend that’s related to a holiday so you can create a theme for each event, for example near Valentine’s day in February, Mother’s day in May, a date that perhaps is near your office anniversary, or October or November for an Oktoberfest or gratitude theme.

When you’re about four weeks away from the event, send a printed invitation (similar style to a wedding, graduation party or bar mitzvah invitation) for the practice member appreciation banquet. Since your team gave them a save-the-date card, remember, this is really a reminder. It’s a nice touch when they get a pretty invitation that looks fancy and is hand-addressed. Two weeks out, call this group for confirmation of attendance and send a confirmation postcard. Remember to add to the invitation and confirmation postcard, as well as the confirmation phone call, that family and friends are welcome, up to four guests at your expense.

The Big Night

Have your team arrive early, and decorate with balloons or table centerpieces. Have goodie bags on the place settings. In these bags you can include gift certificates for your office, movie passes or treats. We often have office or chiropractic t-shirts as well. Be sure you offer something different than you gave them when you honored them as practice members of the week. Warmly greet your guests at the restaurant as they arrive. Truly make this banquet an appreciation of your practice members.

After people are seated and have placed their food order, the staff should briefly say some complimentary and appreciative words as well as a brief introduction for you. You should share a brief message of appreciation and then have everyone introduce themselves and share their experiences of care in the office. This activity alone will generate 10 to 20 testimonials, as each person shares something about their experience of care in front of your guests. You may not necessarily get a lot of guests, but the ones you do will be quality.

Now it is your turn to share a 10-minute message about chiropractic and impart something loftier or something they may not already know. Acknowledge your honorees for being pioneers in healthcare and seeing the world differently. Thank them for their commitment to you and your practice. Close with a statement inviting any guests to come in for a promotional evaluation, or to utilize a gift certificate that you may have included in goodie bags. Have a team member ready to make appointments if necessary.

Make sure you get lots of pictures of the event. You can then take these pictures (and remember, you already have signed permission slips, right?), and post them online as well as print copies for a bulletin board in your office so people see pictures of you having fun with your practice members.

Perfect As You Go

We’ve run a program like this in our office since we opened, and we keep developing and making it better each year. Use your creativity, have fun with it, and remember that creating a great practice is about building relationships with people so that they appreciate the level of care and quality of attention you give them. One of the core values of our office is to treat everyone as if they are family. We wholeheartedly recommend you adopt the same core value for your office and enjoy the results.

*Originally published in Sherman Magazine Fall 2015

Animal Chiropractic

Animal Chiropractic

Ensuring critters benefit from chiropractic care, too:

Maria McElwee, D.C.

by Beverly Knight

Animal ChiropracticMaria McElwee

Maria McElwee, D.C., ’14, has always had a love and passion for two things: chiropractic and animals. Her dream-come-true is that after graduating from Sherman she has been able to successfully marry those two passions in her career.

McElwee grew up in Conyngham, PA. Her mother, Joanne Gallagher, D.C., ’82, and her uncle, John Degenhart, D.C., ’80, ensured that she grew up “with the chiropractic lifestyle.” In fact, one of her earliest memories as a child is that she would pretend to “adjust” family members. And she would always dress as a chiropractor on career days in grade school. “I loved everything about it,” she says.

But it was the love of animals that permeated her young life. “I think that was instilled by my parents, especially my dad,” she says. “They taught my siblings and me to always be compassionate and caring. Life was to be respected.” She was the kid who, while walking to the school bus in the morning would pick up all the earthworms off the road after it had rained so they wouldn’t be run over by cars. And she clearly remembers almost getting her thumb broken protecting a spider that someone was trying to smash with a dictionary.

Her father, a carpenter, would bring home animals that had been uprooted or injured on the job site and she would nurse them back to health and take care of them until they could survive on their own. “My parents would always tell me that I had a bond with animals that they had never seen before, and I didn’t think anything of it.” She had barn cats and one of her pet chickens would even hike with her, she says, adding, “I never had normal pets, but I always had an understanding with animals.”

McElwee completed her undergraduate studies at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. Because she knew she wanted to go to chiropractic school, she chose a degree program that would include the prerequisites through the core classes or electives, graduating with a B.S. in exercise science. And, best of all, attending Bloomsburg meant that she could continue doing 4-H and drill team with her horse.

Her family connection to Sherman was a factor in choosing the school for her chiropractic education. She had grown up attending Lyceum with her family and had great memories of the time spent at Sherman when she was younger. Those memories, coupled with Sherman’s dedication to personal attention, led her to the decision to attend, a decision she never regretted. “They always gave you the one-on-one attention when you needed it and made you feel like family,” McElwee says of the instructors who were always available and helped her successfully complete her degree program.

Selling her horse, the animal she calls the love of her life was the hardest thing she had to do as she was preparing to enroll at Sherman, even though she knew she would still be able to see him on occasion. “Animals were always a big part of my life,” McElwee says, explaining that giving up her horse broke her heart. “During chiropractic school, it was hard with all the strays that were around. I was always helping with the animals when I could,” she remembers. “My friends would pick at me because I acquired quite the ‘furbaby’ family by the end of school. We are one happy family and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she says of the animals that have always been her love and her passion.

“I had an interest in working with animals through chiropractic, even though at Sherman, I focused on people,” McElwee explains. As graduation approached, she decided to look into animal chiropractic as an option and saw that it would be possible to make her dream a reality. Following that dream, McElwee enrolled at Options for Animals College of Animal Chiropractic in Wellsville, KS, after graduating from Sherman in fall 2014. She completed her coursework there, becoming internationally certified in animal chiropractic. She is quick to point out, though, that she maintains her “human” license while living her dream of working with animals.

That understanding she developed with animals as a child serves her well in her professional life. Critter Chiropractic, her mobile animal chiropractic practice, located in Sugarloaf, PA, close to her family home, allows her to go to horse barns to keep people from having to trailer their animals. “People appreciate me coming to the house when their cat or dog needs care or is nervous to travel,” she says of the successful practice that she has grown in the area. “I see myself down the road having a farm where people can bring their animals to receive chiropractic care and other beneficial care by holistic practitioners,” she says of her dreams for the future. “But I will always offer mobile services for the care of animals that need it.”

When she started her work with animals, she discovered that they benefit from chiropractic care in the same ways that people do. “They are exposed to physical, chemical and emotional stressors of daily living, and that has an effect on their nervous systems,” she explains, adding that caring for animals is made difficult by the fact that they are so good at hiding pain and compensating for it, something they do instinctively. “They are silent sufferers and amaze me every day with what they endure. It is the best feeling in the world when I am able to give their body what it needs to start the healing process.” The reward for her is seeing animals relax and “get the joy and brightness in their eyes again.” It continually amazes her that the animals relax and trust her to work on them.

Though all of her patients touch her heart, she remembers some of whom chiropractic care was life-changing. One, a little corgi in a cart supporting his hind side was one of her first patients. Everyone had given up hope on him except his owner, who thought that chiropractic could help him. In the beginning, he couldn’t walk or support himself in the hind end. After the first appointment, he started to support himself and stand. After the second one, he started to walk and improvement continued. “To see him trotting around would bring tears to my eyes. He amazed me with the healing within his body. Every day is wonderful when I see changes like this, big or small,” McElwee says of the rewards she reaps in her professional life.

Her advice to other students about to embark on their professional lives is to follow their dreams and passions, no matter where they lead. And, she says, “Don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot do it. Anything is possible when you put all of your heart and soul into it. That will always shine through. The most important thing, though, is to believe in yourself, because that is all that matters in the end.”

*Previously published in Sherman Magazine Fall 2016