Life West surges ahead with Kelly at helm
When Brian Kelly, DC, left his job as president of the New Zealand College of Chiropractic to take over as head of Life West, most DCs expected big things.
They weren't disappointed.
Dr. Kelly may have left his friends and co-workers behind, but he brought with him his trademark level of dedication and the flair for progressive thinking that worked so well in Auckland.
Despite having big shoes to fill in succeeding Gerard Clum (the first and only person to have previously served as Life West president) Kelly dug in and instituted new programs that have pushed the college even further into the future of chiropractic academics.
His newest brainchild, a weekend retreat called "Life 101,” created a buzz around campus almost immediately.
"The idea is to get to the core of who you are, since who you are as a person has a large bearing on who you'll be as a chiropractor,” Kelly explained in an interview with Timothy Feuling, publisher of The Chiropractic Journal. "It's a breakthrough experience for students. They push themselves physically and mentally, learn to focus inward and yet connect with others in a way they'd never do in class.”
Freshman Natasha Fallah went on a Life 101 excursion last year and now urges all students to try it.
"Life 101 dove into the core of the obvious and subtle shifts that occur over the course of our lives ... and helped solidify our sense of purpose in what we are pursuing,” she told fellow students online. "We pushed our own boundaries and learned to let go through a whirlwind of creative, fun and stimulating activities... there were ropes courses, martial arts board breaking, fun races, campfire stories, yoga, meditation, vision boards, and a decent amount of Michael Jackson and left-handed hugs.”
While the exhilarating experience of Life 101 illustrates the type of activity available to students at Life West, Kelly makes no secret of the fact that there's plenty of hard work as well. This is especially true since he wants to make sure graduates don't have to make compromises just to survive in practice.
"The therapeutic model of chiropractic, with its dependency on insurance, has caused many DCs to fail,” he warned. "The way to success is to focus on chiropractic philosophy; an understanding of vitalism, holism and innate intelligence; and to live a congruent lifestyle. The current conundrum in the profession is that some doctors are making compromises that they wouldn't have made in better economic times.”
To Kelly, one way to ensure the success of his graduates is to keep chiropractic a drug-free, non-medical wellness profession.
"This is an important time in chiropractic,” he noted. "The lines are drawn in the sand over scope and jurisdiction. We have to stand up for what we believe in.” He's said, too, that he's proud that Life West was one of only two US colleges in recent years to vocally oppose state legislation that would allow DCs to prescribe certain drugs. "The vision of the college is to create a better future for humanity. That means loving, serving and giving. It means integrity and ethics. That's who we are,” he stressed.
Looking to the future, Kelly said that by 2020, "chiropractic will be everywhere or it will be nowhere.” Yet, there's no mistaking the optimism in his voice when he talks about the possibilities that lie ahead for today's students.
"Chiropractic is the best kept secret in health care, but more and more people are being let in on that secret,” he said. "We offer care that's economical and far exceeds most expectations. At this rate, by 2016, we'll need 20% more chiropractors just to handle the current load. We'll need 100% more if we want to expand our reach to the rest of the public.”
Kelly keeps busy planning and implementing programs at Life West, holding career talks, motivating students and graduates, and running one of the most progressive and innovative colleges in the world. Still, he knows that even with his remarkable staff, he can't do it without the help and support of alumni and other doctors who share his vision of chiropractic education.
"If we don't support the institutions and associations that support our idea of chiropractic, we're part of the problem, not the solution,” he told Feuling. "That's why we need doctors to refer students to us, and make the financial contributions so essential to the future of the school.”
Life West has a variety of donor programs ranging from "Buy a Brick” ($250) to the Capital Campaign Naming Opportunity ($10K and up), all of which help fund the college's educational activities. For more information, contact Drew Boster at 510.780.4500, ext. 2400 or email@example.com.
Doctors can also help the college by becoming "Champions for Life,” and sponsor or hold career day or student recruitment events, or by referring students to Life West. For more information, visit lifewest.edu/champions.shtml.
© 2012 The Chiropractic Journal Website maintained by