A New Cohort Joins the VA Chiropractic Residency Program

A new cohort of residents has joined the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system’s Chiropractic Residency Program this year. Three chiropractors participating in the program – Vivian Ly, DC, Danielle Aslan, DC, and Dr. Jamie Zeman, DC – will continue ACA’s blog series on the residency program over the next year, sharing their experiences and lessons learned working as part of an integrated hospital team.

The residencies, which were launched in 2014, provide participants with advanced clinical training in complex case management. As part of the program, residents are mentored by senior VA chiropractors and collaborate with other types of health care providers in team care. They also learn via interprofessional rotations through several hospital departments and gain experience in hospital practices, policies and procedures.

This week, we offer introductions from our new VA bloggers:

Connecticut VA: Vivian Ly, DC

I’m Dr. Vivian Ly, and I’m the 2018-2019 Connecticut VA chiropractic resident. I graduated from Palmer West College of Chiropractic in March 2018 as valedictorian and earned the Clinical Excellence Award. I grew up in San Diego and went to University of California, Irvine, for my undergraduate education.

During my time at Palmer, I had the opportunity to do a full-time student clerkship at the VA as well as a preceptorship at a local private practice. At the Redding VA, I worked under Dave Paris, DC, and learned more than I could have ever imagined or expected. Lessons varied from specific patient conditions to avenues of leadership in the chiropractic profession, documentation requirements, interdisciplinary care of complex cases, best evidence-based practice, management of a full patient load, and so much more. In addition, I was able to provide patient-centered care to a population of commendable people. Though my experience in private practice was also very educational, my experience as a student at the VA pushed me to apply for the residency.

In June, I moved from California to Connecticut to start the residency. In the past two months, I have continued to learn every single day. So far, time spent varies from clinical management of my own patient base to reading and evaluation of scientific articles, learning acupuncture and its utilization as another treatment option, rotating through other specialties (including pain management, physical therapy and neurology) and so much more.

I am so happy to have the opportunity to be a resident and hope to continue with the VA as I progress in my career.


St. Louis VA: Danielle Aslan, DC

My name is Dr. Danielle Aslan, and I am the current resident at VA St. Louis. I am a 2018 graduate of the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic, and originally from Queens, N.Y. I completed my undergraduate education at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y., and graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science.

As I first started chiropractic school, I learned quickly about the opportunities in the VA for clerkship and residency, and I set those as a goal for clinical year and post-graduation. Coming from a military family, I have always had a special interest in working with the veteran population. That interest grew as I learned more about the drastic effect of the opioid epidemic, and just how centered veterans are in that battle. I knew that my way to give back to those who have given up so much for us was to join the fight against opioid addiction, providing alternative and conservative treatment options. As research is now expanding into alternative treatment options for chronic pain, it is revealing more and more robust evidence for manual therapies, including manipulation and rehabilitative exercises. This is where I knew I would be able to give back.

During chiropractic school, I completed my VA clerkship at VACHS in West Haven, Conn. It was there I was first introduced to the role of the chiropractor in the VA, and truly, my first real clinical experience. I learned an exceptional amount about patient care, taking a proper history, performing a comprehensive and concise physical exam, inter-departmental referrals, and the tremendous importance of staying up to date with the best available evidence-based practices.

During school, I was also involved with the student government association, and served as vice president. Additionally, I was part of the sports council, school newspaper, and human performance lab. I was fortunate to simultaneously work as a chiropractic assistant for multiple offices in the area and gained private-practice clinical and office management experience.

My final rotation was with Michael Reife, DC, of Marlborough, Conn. It was here that I was able to refine neurological examination skills, patient interviewing, prescription of appropriate rehabilitative exercises, and differential diagnosis. I was very fortunate to work with Dr. Reife in gaining more practice and experience in these areas.

Currently, I am in St. Louis as a new Midwesterner. I am currently involved in the Inter-disciplinary Pain Rehabilitative (IPR) program, which approaches chronic pain from a wholistic perspective. I also participate in outside rotations, including Pain Management, Pain Interventions, Pain Pharmacy, different surgical departments, Psychology, Primary Care, Radiology, and many more. I find that it is vital to learn what patients experience so that you can further identify with them when they are in front of you, and these rotations help us to do so.

As I progress in my career, I’d like very much to stay within the VA healthcare system and continue to serve our nation’s veterans.


Canandaigua VA: Jamie Zeman, DC

I’m Dr. Jamie Zeman, and I’m the current chiropractic resident at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center in Canandaigua, N.Y., working with program director Paul Dougherty, DC. I was raised in a farming community in southwest Iowa, and I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. I received my Doctorate in Chiropractic, summa cum laude, at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa.

From my first campus tour at Palmer, I learned about the growing chiropractic profession within the Veteran’s Healthcare Administration, and it became my goal early on learn more about this integrative experience. I completed a rotation at a multidisciplinary community clinic before going on to becoming a student chiropractic clerk at the Iowa City VA Healthcare System under the supervision of Gina Bonavito-Larragoite, DC, FIAMA. I was very fortunate in that location to also shadow with primary care, whole health, smoking cessation, pain management, physical therapy, orthopedic surgery, and acupuncture. During my time at Palmer, I also enjoyed volunteering with the local museum, elementary school, and habitat for humanity as part of Palmer’s Philanthropy club.

Over this past summer I ventured away from the Midwest to my new home in New York. I have the pleasure of working in both the Canandaigua and Rochester chiropractic clinics and co-managing veteran care with a great team of VA staff as well as students from New York Chiropractic College. I look forward to upcoming rotations through numerous healthcare specialties in the VA and associated NYCC clinics to improve my knowledge of patient perceptions of healthcare and create stronger inter-professional relationships.

I am grateful to have this opportunity as a resident, and I look forward to continue to improve my clinical skills and knowledge within the VA to better serve my patients.

To read blog posts from last year’s residents, click here.