VA’s Chiropractic Residents Share Experiences and Insights: New Blog Series

Part of a series on the chiropractic residency program in the VA health care system

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) conducts the largest clinical training program for health care professionals in the United States. In 2014, the agency launched a pilot chiropractic residency program at five VA facilities: Buffalo, N.Y., Canandaigua, N.Y., West Haven, Conn., St. Louis, Mo., and Los Angeles, Calif. The residency is a full-time one-year program in Integrated Clinical Practice emphasizing the delivery of chiropractic care in hospitals and other integrated healthcare settings. The training includes a blend of patient care (with a focus on team-based management and complex conditions), interprofessional rotations (in relevant medical, surgical and associated health clinics), and scholarly activities (to develop clinician-scholar attributes).

The VA chiropractic residency program reached an historic milestone in 2016 when each of the five sites received accreditation from the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE)—they are the first U.S. chiropractic residency programs to be awarded this distinction. The programs were also successful in many VA performance metrics, including recruitment of high-quality applicants, 100 percent graduation rates, high degree of graduate placement in VA and/or other hospital settings, and high satisfaction across multiple stakeholders. Consequently, in early 2017 VA transitioned the chiropractic residency pilot into a standing residency program.

To date, the program has graduated 15 residents. The program began its fourth academic year in July 2017 with another class of five chiropractic residents. To provide more information to the chiropractic field, three of those residents will use this forum to share their experiences and insights as they proceed through their training.

Stephanie Halloran, DC, grew up in the Chicago suburbs and earned her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. She then worked two years as a personal trainer before moving to Portland, Ore., to attend the University of Western States. While at UWS, Dr. Halloran was actively involved in the Student American Chiropractic Association (SACA), both as a chapter officer as well as chair of the Specialty Councils Committee and the Membership Committee at the national level. Before graduating from UWS in December 2016, she completed a clinical rotation at the Richard Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis under Christopher Sherman, DC. Currently Dr. Halloran is the chiropractic resident with the VA Connecticut Healthcare System under site director, Anthony Lisi, DC, and concurrently working towards her Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine through UWS as well as her Diplomate in Diagnosis and Internal Disorders through the ACA. Dr. Halloran’s professional interests include advocacy and toxic exposure, nutritional deficiencies and chronic musculoskeletal pain within the veteran population. When she is not in the clinic, you can find her at the gym, hiking, in the kitchen, biking or traveling with her family.

Steven Huybrecht, DC, was raised in northern Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Superior and earned his Bachelor of Science in Exercise Sport Science from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He continued his education at Northwestern Health Sciences University where he earned his Doctorate in Chiropractic. During his time at NWHSU, Dr. Huybrecht was involved in various clubs, most notably with SACA, where he held multiple chapter roles, including president, before being elected as the National SACA Chair for the 2013-2014 term. During his last trimester at NWHSU, he moved to North Carolina and worked in physical medicine and rehabilitation at High Point Regional hospital in the inpatient rehab center under the direction of Todd Reiter, MD, DC. He’s served on the Wisconsin Chiropractic Association’s Government Affairs Committee, the ACA’s Membership Committee and Millennial Think Tank, along with participating in the ACA’s Leadership Apprentice and Mentor Program. Currently Dr. Huybrecht is the chiropractic resident at the VA St. Louis Healthcare System under program director Pamela Wakefield, DC. He is working toward completion of the Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician program and certification in chiropractic acupuncture. Dr. Huybrecht’s professional interests include chronic pain management for veterans, organizational leadership, and state and national advocacy. Personal interests include traveling, hiking, kayaking, cooking and exploring.

Rachel (Mooers) Clark, DC, is a New Jersey native and earned her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from the University of Delaware. She continued her education at the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic (UBCC), where she earned her Doctorate in Chiropractic. During her time at UBCC she was heavily involved on campus, notably in helping to manage their Human Performance Laboratory as well as holding leadership positions in SACA, Sports Council, and other student organizations on campus. She is an experienced strength and conditioning coach and became certified in OptoGait movement analysis technologies as a chiropractic student. Currently Dr. Mooers is a resident at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System under program director Valerie Johnson, DC. She continues to be active in the National Strength and Conditioning Association and her professional interests include rehabilitation exercise, professional advocacy, and pain management for veterans. Personal interests include traveling, hiking, and reading.