14th Annual IRAPS

14th Annual IRAPS

Sherman College Gathers Leaders in Philosophy and Research for

14th Annual IRAPS, October 7-8

14th annual irapsSherman College of Chiropractic will host the 14th Annual International Research and Philosophy Symposium (IRAPS), a peer-reviewed conference on vertebral subluxation research and the philosophy of chiropractic, in Spartanburg, SC, October 7-8, 2017. Up to 12 hours of continuing education credit are available.

The goal of IRAPS is to bring together leaders in philosophy and research as well as practitioners who are centered on the vertebral subluxation practice, to build a stronger academic community worldwide regarding the subluxation model of chiropractic. The symposium’s intent is to foster a view that the chiropractic profession is centered on vertebral subluxation, based on vitalism, dedicated to research and developing a discipline of philosophy.

Highlights include the following presentations:

  • Vertebral Subluxation, Critical Thinking, and Evidence-Informed Practice – Christopher Kent, D.C., J.D.
  • What is Radical Science? – Bill Decken, D.C., ’86, D.Ph.CS
  • Vertebral Subluxation Models & Definitions: Is There Really Anything New? – Matt McCoy, D.C., M.P.H.
  • Pragmatic Research, Quality of Life and Salu­togenesis Research – Joel Alcantara, D.C.
  • Resolution of Low Back Pain and GERD in a 20 Year-Old Male Patient Following Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care: A Case Report – Charmaine Herman, D.C., ’09

Presenters include the following:

Joel Alcantara, D.C.
Brigette Bowler, D.C.
Rick Brescia, D.C., D.Ph.CS
Carly Lentzt Carney, D.C.
Ron Castellucci, D.C., A.C.P.
Bill Decken, D.C., D.Ph.CS
Brian Dooley, D.C., A.C.P.

Curtis Fedorchuk, D.C.
Tate Gentile, D.C.
Matthew Hartenburg, D.C.
Charmaine Herman, M.A., D.C.
Nicole Hirshowitz, D.C.
Sarah Hock, D.C.
Christopher Kent, D.C., J.D.

Daniel Knowles, D.C.
Dejan Kotur, D.C.
Michelle MacCarthy, D.C.
Matthew McCoy, D.C., M.P.H.
Eric Russell, D.C., D.Ph.CS
Anna-Marie Schmidt
David Starmer, D.C.

For additional information, go to https://www.sherman.edu/iraps.
Registration is open at http://www.cvent.com/d/z5qv1n.


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, contact:

Jillian Kersh, D.C.
Director of Continuing Education

Sherman College of Chiropractic
Phone: 800-849-8771, ext. 229
E-mail: jkersh@sherman.edu

Scholarship Awarded

Scholarship Awarded

Student Billy Stetzel and Sherman College Honored with $25,000 Scholarship

Scholarship awardedSherman College 12th-quarter student Billy Stetzel has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 ChiroHealthUSA Foxworth Family Scholarship. Stetzel receives $10,000 for tuition and $5,000 in cash to help offset his living expenses, with an additional $10,000 donation being made to Sherman College of Chiropractic.

The scholarship is presented in honor of ChiroHealthUSA President Dr. Ray Foxworth’s parents, Betty Pace Mathews and Charles Vernon Mathews, D.C.s. Stetzel was present for the announcement and check presentation, which was made at ChiroHealthUSA’s National Convention and Expo in Florida on August 25.

“It is such a blessing and an honor to be awarded this scholarship,” Stetzel said. “My biggest hope in receiving it is that one day I can give it back to the profession both financially and through service.”

Stetzel’s dedication to the profession comes naturally, as he is part of a growing chiropractic family closely affiliated with Sherman College. His father, Gregg, is a 1983 Sherman graduate; his mother, Kim, is also a doctor of chiropractic and serves on the college’s board of trustees; and his sister, Danielle, is a current student at Sherman as well.

“We were honored and proud to learn that Billy Stetzel was selected as the recipient of ChiroHealthUSA’s prestigious Foxworth Family Scholarship,” said Sherman College President Edwin Cordero, D.C. “Billy’s enthusiasm for chiropractic sets a positive example for his classmates. He is an exemplary student who is passionate about changing the world through principled chiropractic.”

scholarship awardedCordero also expressed his appreciation for ChiroHealthUSA’s $10,000 donation to Sherman College of Chiropractic as part of the Foxworth Family Scholarship. “Sherman College is particularly proud to be recognized as an institution that nurtures exemplary future doctors of chiropractic – those who will become our profession’s next generation of leaders.”

Sherman College Director of Financial Aid Kendra Strange said she was not surprised when she heard that Stetzel had been selected as the recipient of the scholarship. “Billy is an assiduous scholar, consistently appearing on the Dean’s List and the President’s List each quarter,” Strange said. “He has a kind-hearted and sincere demeanor, which I know will propel him to become a successful chiropractor and a selfless contributor to the community he will soon serve.”

Ray Foxworth, D.C., says he started the scholarship to give back to the profession that has meant so much to him and his family. “We all belong to chiropractic, and we all need to help, invest, and support the advancement of our profession,” he said. “I am overjoyed that we have been able to extend our support to include students who have expressed passion for serving patients and our profession.”


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.

ChiroHealthUSA and The Foxworth Family Scholarship are registered trademarks.

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

Kristi Hudson
Director of Business Relations
Scholarship Administrator

Phone: 888-719-9990, ext. 302
Email: kristi@chirohealthusa.com
Web: www.chirohealthusa.com

Evidence-Informed Q&A

Evidence-Informed Q&A

Evidence-Informed Q&A with Dr. Christopher Kent

Director Evidence Informed Curriculum & PracticeBecause Sherman College recognizes a growing need for focus in the area of evidence-informed curricula and practice in chiropractic education and in the profession, the institution welcomed Christopher Kent, D.C., J.D., to the college’s staff in July 2016. His work as director of evidence informed curriculum and practice addresses the topic both from an educational and practice perspective as well as supports accreditation principles.

Kent is responsible for overseeing and directing the initiation and collaboration of projects and studies with faculty, students, and staff. Which increase the quality and quantity of evidence applicable to the curriculum and practice of chiropractic, with a special focus on the unique approach to the science, art, and philosophy of traditional/principled chiropractic. He is collaborating with academic deans to ensure the inculcation of the evidence into the curriculum and clinical practice.

Sherman Magazine asked him a few questions about his role at the college and how a focus on evidence-informed practice and curriculum can impact the profession.

What exactly is evidence-informed practice?

It is difficult to attend a chiropractic meeting without encountering some discussion of evidence-based practice. The concept is simple and as old as the healing arts. Sackett defines evidence-based practice as “the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of the current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. … [It] is not restricted to randomized trials and meta-analyses. It involves tracking down the best external evidence with which to answer our clinical questions.”1

Evidence-based practice is giving way to evidence-informed practice. An additional dimension has been added to the equation – patient preferences. As Umscheid noted, “patient preferences are critically important to clinical decision making and patient care.”2

What does this mean to the Sherman College family?

The mission of Sherman College of Chiropractic is to educate and prepare students to become doctors of chiropractic. This mission is based upon the college’s core values and is achieved through activities in the areas of education, research, and service. In particular, the research portion of the mission is as follows: ‘Faculty members engage in research and scholarly activities that contribute to the body of pedagogical and clinical knowledge which advance chiropractic education and the chiropractic profession.’3

What does this process look like on campus?

Evidence-informed practice is a continuous process. Once the concept is integrated into instruction and clinical practice, the objective of the instructor or practitioner is continual improvement through the integration of more and better evidence. Once the process becomes part of the culture of the institution, stakeholders hold one another accountable for staying current, engaging in scholarly activity, and exhibiting the traits of professionalism. Each stakeholder becomes a role model and mentor.

Evidence-informed curriculum and practice is an essential element of implementing these core values.  The process involves the following steps:

  • Evaluate the evidence base for each course. Is the material taught supported by textbooks, scientific literature, individual expertise, or a combination of these?
  • Identify any gaps in the evidence for what is taught.
  • Review the available literature to see which gaps can be filled.
  • This may lead to recommendations for curriculum and policy change, and help develops a research agenda to fill the gaps that remain.

Evidence-Informed Q&AOur constituencies are demanding a higher level of scholarly activity from faculty. The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners will be testing on evidence-informed practice. Accreditors expect best practices in education. Students want evidence to back what they are being taught. Yet, the real reason for doing this is that it is the right thing for professionals to do.

How will this focus on evidence benefit students as they graduate and enter practice?

Graduates will enter the field possessing the skills needed to track down the best available external evidence to apply in the care of their patients. This ability, coupled with their knowledge and skill in locating and correcting vertebral subluxations, will result in developing improved clinical strategies for individual patients.

How will our work in this area impact the profession?

Sherman College has the resources and resolves to lead the profession in developing an evidence-informed model for subluxation centered chiropractic. This involves determining the current evidence, identifying gaps in the evidence, conducting research to fill those gaps, and disseminating the results of that research to students and practitioner.

Sherman College will continue to be the leader in the research and science of vertebral subluxation and in the clinical practice of chiropractic.

Anything else to share?

Our goal is to create a culture committed to the expansion of our knowledge base, and clinical excellence. It involves the integration of academic, clinical, research, and outreach components.


  1. Sackett DL. Editorial. Evidence-based medicine. Spine, 1998; 23(10):1085.
  2. Umscheid CA. Should guidelines incorporate evidence on patient preferences? J Gen Intern Med, August 2009; 24(8):988–990.
  3. The Vision of Sherman College. Adjusting the World for a Better Future. https://www.sherman.edu/mission-statement/
Lending Library

Lending Library

Little Free Library® Established at Sherman College Chiropractic Health Center

Lending LibrarySherman College’s Chiropractic Health Center is home to the newest Little Free Library® in the Spartanburg area. Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.

“The Sherman College Chiropractic Health Center is proud to have a Little Free Library® for our community to enjoy,” said Dean of Clinic Operations and Outreach Kristy Shepherd, M.A. “Our hope is that this library will foster an environment of learning and sharing among our patients, students, faculty, and staff.”Lending Library

Little Free Library® helps people around the world start and maintain free “take a book, return a book” book exchanges. The organization has more than 50,000 libraries in all 50 states and 70+ countries with millions of books exchanged annually. Many Little Free Libraries are placed in front yards, parks, gardens, coffee shops, community centers and other easily accessible locations.

Lending LibraryThe Spartanburg area has about a dozen Little Free Libraries, but Sherman College’s is the only location in Boiling Springs. To be called a Little Free Library®, a free book exchange must be registered with an official charter sign and charter number. Sherman College’s charter number is 51635.

The Sherman College Chiropractic Health Center is located on campus at 2020 Springfield Road in Boiling Springs and serves as a teaching clinic for senior students in their final stage of internship prior to graduation from the doctor of chiropractic program. Because the clinic is open to the public, residents in Upstate South Carolina experience excellent chiropractic care at affordable prices through 35,000 patient visits per year.


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.

Content used with permission of Little Free Library, LTD.

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

Tobacco-Free Campus

Tobacco-Free Campus

Sherman College Becomes Tobacco-Free Campus

Sherman is a tobacco-free campusRecognizing the health hazards caused by tobacco use and exposure, Sherman College of Chiropractic has updated its policies and is now a tobacco-free environment. The Carolinas’ only chiropractic college, located in Spartanburg, updated its student and employee handbooks this April, banning the use of any tobacco product, including smokeless tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

Sherman College of Chiropractic President Edwin Cordero, D.C., said the change in policy aligns well with the college’s mission. “As a graduate institution focused on health, Sherman College of Chiropractic has a responsibility to lead the way toward a healthier college community and a healthier Spartanburg,” Dr. Cordero said. “We found that our policies needed to be in line with our philosophy of health – that we needed to do even more to provide a healthy and safe working environment for our students, faculty, staff, and visitors.”

According to data from the South Carolina Tobacco-free Collaborative, 51 percent of Spartanburg college students attend a tobacco-free institution, while 83.5 percent of the county’s K-12 students are enrolled in a school district that has a 100-percent tobacco-free model policy in place. In Spartanburg County, only 15.2 percent of residents are guaranteed protections from secondhand smoke in indoor workplaces.

“Recognizing that tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the U.S., the Road to Better Health Coalition applauds Sherman College of Chiropractic’s efforts to create a tobacco free campus environment and to address client tobacco use,” said Renee Romberger, Vice-President of Community Health Policy and Strategy for Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System and Road to Better Health Advisory Board member.

Sherman College’s efforts in becoming a tobacco-free campus have aligned well with The Road to Better Health’s initiatives. This organization represents more than 40 professional and non-profit groups working together to improve health outcomes in Spartanburg County. The RTBH coalition serves as a leading force in the Public Health Indicator Area of The Spartanburg Community Indicators Project, which aims to improve the quality of life for Spartanburg residents in seven Indicator Areas.

“Helping ensure that Sherman College students, employees, and patients are as healthy as possible is in keeping with the Road to Better Health’s goals to improve the health and well-being of Spartanburg County residents,” Romberger said of the college’s tobacco-free policy. “Under the leadership of Joe Pinilla of The Forrester Center for Behavioral Health, the RTBH Tobacco Taskforce is thrilled to partner with Sherman College to support this important health and environmental strategy for their organization.”


The Forrester Center, a member of The Road to Better Health Coalition, offers resources for individuals who would like to quit smoking. For more information, please call 864-707-2805 or call the South Carolina Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).


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, M.B.A.
Director of Public Relations

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


Joe Pinilla, MPH, CHES
Deputy Director of Prevention and Community Engagement

The Forrester Center for Behavioral Health
Phone: 864-707-2804
Email: jpinilla@theforrestercenter.org
Web: http://www.theforrestercenter.org/

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. Additionally, they conduct “reverse” tours, bringing together a group of counselors from the US, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to tour 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.

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 over 20 years.

Graduation Success

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