NextGen Member of the Month: January 2021
In order to display the diverse accomplishments of ACA's NextGen members, ACA will feature one NextGen member a month. This is a great way for you to get to know your peers and find others with similar interests. View previous NextGen Members of the Month.
This month's NextGen member of the month is...
James Walters, DC
Meet January's Member of the Month, James Walters, DC, who has been a Member of ACA since 2016. He is a graduate of New York Chiropractic College where he was heavily involved in SACA throughout his academic career. Most recently serving as the immedidate past chair of SACA. Since graduation he joined NextGen and is starting to become very involved where he continues to share the mission, vision and values of ACA with his peers. Currently James is working as an associate Doctor of Chiropractic at Pinnacle Hill Chiropractic located in Rochester, New York. Want to begin a conversation? Reach out and email James at email@example.com to get connected.
Q: How and when did you first become involved with ACA?
A: I became involved with ACA during my first trimester at NYCC. One day, during my Chiropractic History course, an entire lecture was dedicated to the history of the association. The lecture included our, then, SACA Executive Board presenting about the importance of getting involved. My professor for the course, Dr. William Lauretti, was also very involved with ACA. He would become my biggest mentor during my time at NYCC. Combine all of that with my personal passion for politics and I was practically destined to become a member of ACA. I attended NCLC during my second trimester and ran for my chapter’s SACA E-Board immediately following. I was elected Vice President and have been heavily involved ever since.
Q: What are three words you'd use to describe the ACA?
A: Three words I would use to describe ACA are; Community, Advocacy and Progress
Q: Can you share your favorite thing about being part of NextGen?
A: This is my first year as a member of NextGen and I have spent it finishing my term on SACA’s National Executive Board (SNEB) as Immediate Past Chair. My favorite thing about being a part of NextGen has been the transitions, both in regards to transitioning from SACA to NextGen as well as transitioning from student to practicing DC. The transition from SACA to NextGen was absolutely seamless. My time in SACA taught me more about the profession of Chiropractic, as it exists today, than any course I had at NYCC. Upon graduation I was immediately reached out to by NextGen and was able to join in on the conversations therein. Having access to an army of like minded Doctors meant I had a massive pool of colleagues to reach out to for support and help whenever I needed it.
This doubled when it came to entering practice. Because of the network I had cultivated with SACA, and expanded with NextGen, entering practice was not nearly as scary as I thought it would be. I look at so many of my classmates from NYCC and see the struggles that they faced entering practice and am so thankful for my NextGen colleagues. Whether it’s advice on associate contracts, job opportunities or suggestions about how to approach a patient case, I CANNOT overstate the value and comfort I found knowing that the NextGen had my back.
Q: How has being involved with the ACA helped your career?
A: Being a part of the ACA has given me a voice in my profession as well as a way to meaningly engage with my peers and colleagues in the Chiropractic profession and healthcare at large. It has allowed me to become more than just a Doctor who treats patients. ACA has given me invaluable leadership opportunities and the training to use those opportunities to help make my mark on the profession. I have been a part of legislative efforts through the ACA that has, in the time I was in Chiropractic school, changed what I could do as a Doctor of Chiropractic. I have helped advocate for the passing of legislation that allowed me to do things as a Doctor of Chiropractic that other DC were not allowed to do at the time I started at NYCC.
Between these benefits and the network of colleges and resources I previously mentioned, ACA has impacted my career in ways I can never truly measure. I sincerely don’t want to know what my experience either in Chiropractic school or entering practice would have been like without ACA.
Q: What advice do you have for prospective NextGen members?
A: GET ACTIVE! I’m generally speaking to the choir on this one as the vast majority of members in the NextGen already know the value of groups like SACA and NextGen. But, for SACA members and others transitioning into NextGen who maybe didn’t take on leadership roles while in Chiropractic school, NOW IS THE TIME! Don’t think that you needed to be outspoken or in a position of leadership prior to NextGen to become those things now. Our profession can always use more leaders and more people willing to think creatively and find new and better ways of doing things.
Our generation has seen a resurgence in advocacy and engagement within the Chiropractic profession. I think this is great as this gives us the ability to make our voices heard and to help steer the future of our profession in the direction we want it to go. Between SACA and NextGen, we make up around 50% of ACA. That means that half of our association is composed of members who are a part of the culture of the “Now.” Get active and lend your voice to help make this profession the most innovative and progressive it can be!
Q: Favorite vacation spot?
A: I was a professional dancer prior to going to school to become a Doctor of Chiropractic. One of my contacts had me working for Princess Cruise Lines and while I was performing on the Emerald Princess I got to visit Tallinn, Estonia. To this day, It's one of my favorite places in the world to visit. The entire city looks like it’s still in the medieval era on the outside while being entirely modern on the inside. And every business commits the aesthetic. The streets are cobblestone and you can take archery lessons in the fields just outside the city walls. It’s a 24/7 renaissance fair! My other favorite place to visit is Rome, Italy. As a history buff, the Roman Empire is my favorite period in history to learn about. Getting to see and walk among the ruins of ancient Rome is just the best!
Q: What motivates you to wake up and go to work?
A: Knowing that I’m making a difference. Not just as a Doctor treating MY patients but as someone who’s advocating for ALL patients. Being a part of an organization like ACA and knowing that my work helps to fight for patient’s rights to greater access to care that is cost effective, evidence based and begins with the conservative approach before moving on to more invasive measures is something that motivates me to stay involved every single day!
Q:Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
A: Something that might surprise you to learn is that I was diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome and harmful Obsessive Compulsive Disorder when I was 8 years old. Through much of my childhood I struggled with crippling depression and was very scared of social situations because of it. It took a lot of therapy, behavioral modification and really focusing on putting myself out there to overcome these challenges. A lot of people see how outgoing and public minded I am today and assume that I must be a naturally charismatic extrovert, but the reality is far from it.
There was a long period of my life where the thought of leaving my room, let alone the house, was terrifying to me. It was only because of the love and support I had from people like my Grandparents, Godmother and best friend that I was able to persevere and challenge myself to do things like dance on stage in front of a room full of people. Today that same perseverance has allowed me to accomplish things I never thought I’d be capable of, like perform at a sold out opera house of 20,000 people or serve as SACA’s National Chair.
Q: How do you stay informed about the chiropractic profession?
A: I stay constantly informed by being involved with associations at both the national and state levels. I hold various leadership positions in ACA as well as serve as a district President for my state association: the New York State Chiropractic Association. By being involved with organizations at both levels I ensure that I am always kept up to date about what's happening in my profession.
Q: What is one thing you can’t resist?
A: Black licorice and making movie references. Black licorice is my all time favorite candy even though almost everyone else hates it and I just love a well timed movie reference. Bonus points if it’s Star Wars!!!
Q: When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?
A: Every Friday is board game night for me and my group of friends. We generally set aside several hours to play story driven board games not unlike Dungeons and Dragons. Our current favorite is one that’s set in H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos called “Mansions of Madness.”
Q: How do you balance your career, personal life, family, friends as well as taking time for yourself?
A: Honestly, I used to think the answer to this question was “compartmentalization” but nowadays I find that the best way is to have a common thread that connects each aspect and ties them together. I found my dream job working for a practice run by DC’s who are active members of my state association and where I work with other associates that are former SACA, current NextGen members (Shout out to Dr. Caitlin Simpson!!!).
I am incredibly lucky to be dating a woman who works in mental health and is an active member of her national association, NAMI, as well as a mental health blogger for several other organizations. She has actually trained our dog to be an emotional support animal to aid future patients. And I have surrounded myself with friends and loved ones who are passionate and caring people who share my strong sense of ethics and moral fiber.
As a result, I am often able to blend a lot of these different aspects of my life together. My girlfriend is someone who I look to, to discuss my opinions about healthcare and who offers unique points of view from her side of the field. My career and personal life are in many ways related.
When it comes to personal time however, I find that saving a part of my former career has been key to unwinding after a long day. I still work as a dance teacher and choreographer and dropping back into that world really brings a sense of relaxation for me