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  • Donald Corenman
    Post count: 52

    Hi Dr. Corenman,
    I am a third trimester student at Palmer Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. I found your website while searching for information about chiropractors who also chose to pursue a medical education. It was common during the early years of chiropractic to be licensed as both, but not so much anymore! The reason I am writing to you is because I am curious about the process you went through, and what your motivation has been throughout your career. (I tried to send this message through the contact form on the website, but it would not go through)
    To explain the basis for my questioning, I have to explain a little bit about my background and current situation first. My undergraduate degree was not in a health science field, but in cinema. I became certified in Montessori education after college and taught children ages 6-9 for two years, at which point I realized that teaching was not for me. During this time, I was dating a girl (to whom I am no married) who attended Palmer. She brought me to class one day, and I was hooked on both science and chiropractic philosophy. That same night, I applied to both Palmer and a local community college to complete basic science coursework that had not been a part of my undergraduate curriculum. As stated before, I am now approaching the end of my first year, and there are two things of which I am completely certain: the human body is an incredible thing, and there is never a point where I will stop learning.
    The curriculum at Palmer both satisfies and frustrates me at the same time. We are given a wealth of information but it is ‘just enough’ for what we need to know in practice. But since chiropractors are now recognized as primary care health practitioners, I don’t agree that ‘just enough’ is enough! Many of my classmates would shrug this off by claiming they will never use immunology, and will refuse to diagnose in practice. While I recognize their decision to limit their scope of practice, I feel that it is a complete disservice to future patients to write something off as ‘not needed’. It is here that I began to consider practicing as a chiropractor for a few years, but with the intention of furthering my knowledge by later applying to a medical program. The patient comes first, and I want to be able to offer the best quality of care. With that being said, I had a few questions for you about your choices. Had you wanted to be a chiropractor, and then decided you could better serve as a medical doctor, or was it your goal to become licensed as both? Were you able to apply any of your DC coursework to your MD courses? While attending medical school, did you face any hardships from fellow students or faculty because of your DC degree? What kept you going through it all after undergraduate, chiropractic school, medical school, residence, and fellowships?
    I understand that you are a very busy person, but I would greatly appreciate some guidance! Thank you for your time, Dr. Corenman, and I hope to hear from you soon.

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Post count: 8660

    You are now coming across the great dilemma of chiropractic but at an early phase. Chiropractic has so much to offer but is also taught with much dogma. To take on the mantle of “primary health care practitioner” but not use the knowledge of physiology, immunology and medicine is doing a disservice to patients. The core philosophy of subluxations causing dis-ease is simply not supported by any research or literature.

    Chiropractic is a wonderful treatment for many disorders but if your patient comes in with pelvic inflammatory disease from an infection and you are going to “take on everything that comes in your door”- to be called a primary health care practitioner, you must diagnose and treat this individual. Do you adjust this patient when they really need antibiotics? Do you adjust the patient with severe back pain from an undiagnosed osteomyelitis and cause further damage? As a chiropractor, I needed more knowledge. I thought the medical route would give me a better understanding of the disorders my patients had.

    If you want to become a great healer, open you mind to the achievements made by all the specialities. Look into the philosophy of Osteopathy and you will find that Stills was very close to DD Palmer in thought as well as location. Find out about the history of Homeopathy and why in the 1900s, it was the most respected profession in the USA. Yes- above medicine. Look into acupuncture and you will find similarities to chiropractic.

    Use the knowledge gained from so many great individuals such as Lister and Osler. DD and BJ Palmer made great discoveries and brought together a wonderful treatment method but it is not the only discovery that has had great outcomes.

    Then look into medicine. The profession has downfalls (the egos are difficult to deal with and the politics) but if you really look with a practiced eye, you will find the most scientific but caring profession. The amount of knowledge to gain blows the mind and takes years to master. If you however, start with a chiropractic background and then learn medicine, you have a base point to make much more sense of it all. I think that chiropractors that go into medicine make great doctors. You already know how to listen to patients and take care of them on a personal level. If you just add current medical knowledge to that mix- you will give spectacular care.

    I’ll compose and send you another email regarding the trials and tribulation of going from D.C. to M.D. There are some challenges!

    Dr. Corenman

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain. Trained as both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.
    Donald Corenman
    Post count: 52

    * The following is a response that we received via email*

    Dr. Corenman,

    Thank you for your response, it is very much appreciated! I don’t mind if you put it on the website forum (though I would be grateful if you could remove my last name), as I am sure that there is at least one other person who is having the same thought pattern. Last trimester, we covered a bit on A.T. Still and osteopathy, as well as Hahnemann and homeopathy. It is amazing to see how the healing arts have changed over the course of history, and the sacrifices that individuals have made for the sake of mankind.

    Again, thank you for the words and guidance. It’s not a decision I will be making any time in the near future, but one that I will constantly be working towards. I look forward to further correspondence!

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