Chiropractic college students have busy schedules but many still find the time to get involved with something bigger than themselves: a mission trip beyond the U.S. to help populations where healthcare is limited.
Medical Mission Trips: They’re Back
For years, students at the Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) College of Chiropractic in Overland Park, Kan., have embraced the chance to make a difference around the world. Like other universities offering healthcare education, CUKC postponed scheduled trips in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions. However, CUKC is again making plans to participate in medical missions trips in the 2021-22 academic year.
“It’s an opportunity for our chiropractic students to work side-by-side with field doctors for a week and provide chiropractic care for disadvantaged, underserved populations,” Dr. Jon Wilson, dean of the College of Chiropractic, said. “It’s a way to broaden your world perspective and gain an unforgettable experience in your field.”
In 2020, for example, three CUKC students who were members of the Cleveland Christian Club (CCC) participated in a Christian Chiropractic Association (CCA)-sponsored a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.
“It was eye-opening to see how much suffering goes on in an area that’s filled with tourism,” Robert Coty Spraggs said after his return. “We did travel to more remote areas that were very impoverished.”
He said the mission trip allowed many more people to get the chiropractic care they needed, as there were few chiropractors available, and most people didn’t go because they couldn’t afford healthcare.
The Primary Mission: Helping People
“Trips like this matter because these people are born into situations and environments in which change can be nearly impossible,” Spraggs said. “We helped a lot of people while we were there.”
At CUKC, the international mission trips are coordinated and sponsored in conjunction with the Christian Chiropractic Association (CCA) and Caring Partners International (CPI).
A 2021 research study by Baylor University surveying hundreds of students and mission trip leaders showed those who participated in service-oriented short-term mission trips in college tend to have lower levels of materialism, were less likely to see their culture as superior, and had an increased appreciation for other cultures.
Other benefits of a medical mission trip noted by experienced advisors from other colleges include:
CUKC Alumnus “Took Away so Much More”
The benefits of participating in service-focused missions to other countries were not lost on Dr. Megan Spoerl. In 2016 she volunteered for a medical mission trip while a student at the CUKC College of Chiropractic.
“Over a trimester break in December, I traveled to Haiti and the Dominican Republic for 10 days with other student doctors and doctors,” she says. “I did improve my adjusting skills there, but I took away so much more, including a whole new appreciation for life itself.”
The College of Chiropractic at Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC)
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a private, nonprofit, healthcare-focused university located in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of the Kansas City metro. Most students earn their Doctor of Chiropractic degree (D.C.) in 3.3 years through a year-round, trimester schedule.
Points of distinction for the CUKC chiropractic degree include: