Experiencing the many benefits of chiropractic care is often impossible for those in underserved areas. Fortunately, interns from the College of Chiropractic at Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) are working to change that through international mission trips. Now, thanks to a gift from a CUKC alumnus, those interns are better equipped to serve people both here and abroad.
During April and August of 2022, CUKC faculty members, Dr. Edward McKenzie, and Dr. Erin Stubblefield, accompanied chiropractic interns from the University to the Dominican Republic. They supervised as the interns provided free chiropractic care to hundreds of residents in need on the island nation. Administering that care properly requires the use of portable adjusting tables. Unfortunately, traveling with those tables is difficult due to their size and weight.
After the group from CUKC returned from their August trip, McKenzie mentioned their table predicament to his friend and colleague, Dr. James Anderson. As the director of the Success Strategies program at CUKC, Anderson offers guidance to chiropractic students preparing to run their business after graduation. As he is accustomed to finding solutions for a variety issues, he took on this table issue. However, after seeking funds from alternate sources, Anderson chose to step up and help on his own.
“Dr. McKenzie was so passionate, and said they really needed three good portable chiropractic tables for the mission trip program,” Anderson said. “We placed a classified ad on the CUKC website seeking support, but unfortunately there were no responses. So, I chose to help them by providing the portable tables for their program.”
Built by ChiroLux, the new tables cost $965 each, and are considered some of the best portable equipment available. They allow for maximum patient comfort, and telescoping height adjustment ensures they will fit any patient, therapist or chiropractor. Made of aircraft aluminum tubing, the tables are durable and lightweight. Online product reviews were extremely favorable, which helped to guide Anderson’s decision.
To understand the impact of this gift, one must know the burden the CUKC interns face when they make these trips. In the past, student interns have been responsible for traveling with their own table, which could weigh 50-80 pounds. The new tables are much lighter, weighing only 30-35 pounds in their travel case with all accessories. The dramatic difference makes travel much less cumbersome.
“I didn’t realize the logistics of having the students take their own portable adjusting tables,” McKenzie said. “After returning home, I had numerous conversations with different alumni, and thank goodness for Dr. Anderson stepping forward to provide three, state-of-the-art, portable adjusting tables. The ability to transport students to and from the airport without the extra luggage, the ability to have equipment that is essentially the same, and the high quality of the equipment, is a benefit that has not yet been fully appreciated.”
Stubblefield has been on several mission trips with CUKC students where she has experienced the struggles associated with travel with the older tables. As a result, she and McKenzie had been exploring fundraising possibilities over the last year to alleviate some of that inconvenience, but none seemed like good options. When she heard about Anderson’s donation, she was overwhelmed.
“I’m not usually speechless, but when I got the news – and moreover, when I saw the tables for the first time – I really was without words other than ‘thank you,’ Stubblefield said. “Gifts like this are important because they are like ripples in a still lake – the pebbles look small, but the ripples they make grow exponentially. The tables may look like a small gift, but the impact is so widespread and will benefit hundreds — and eventually thousands — of patients and students in the coming years.”
The need for chiropractic care in the Dominican Republic is substantial. According to Stubblefield, during their last week-long mission trip to the island nation, the group adjusted more than 900 people. The pain and discomfort are widespread, and these humanitarian trips offer relief for many whose ailments often go without treatment. These tables will make it easier to offer care to those in need.
CUKC offers the mission trips in conjunction with the Christian Chiropractic Association. Any CUKC student may apply for and serve on a mission trip. Chiropractic students in trimesters seven and above may provide hands-on patient care under the supervision of a licensed practitioner.
Anderson hopes more CUKC alumni will recognize the value of the mission trip program and offer their support. Whether that is purchasing equipment, or contributing to a fund that will help students who want to serve others, but lack the resources to make the trip. There may also be a need for practitioners to travel with the group to supervise care provided by student interns.
A group from CUKC will return to the Dominican Republic two times in 2023. The first mission trip is scheduled for April 23-29, and a second will take place during the break between the summer and fall academic terms. If you would like to be a part of this humanitarian effort to expand the reach of chiropractic care to those who need it most, visit cleveland.edu/mission-trips/. You may also email Dr. Erin Stubblefield or Dr. D’sjon Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.