Q&A with Dr. Breitlow, Davenport, Iowa, Campus graduate
When Dr. Breitlow graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic’s Davenport, Iowa, Campus in October 2008, he hit the ground running—and didn’t stop until he got to Madagascar.
What drew you to chiropractic?
I graduated from Purdue University in 2002 and decided I needed to work in the field I had specifically gone to school for. So not really knowing what I was going to be doing on a daily basis, I accepted a well-paying job in Richmond, Va., as a nuclear engineer. The problem with being an engineer is that you end up behind a desk all day crunching numbers and clicking a mouse until the clicker nearly stops. So I started to do new and interesting things.
I always considered myself a fairly active person, but with a career that left much to be desired, I started to become even more active and more clever with my post-work activities. Thus, I started running marathons, competing in triathlons and even got a second job as a professional whitewater rafting guide. From eight to five, life was not great, but after that, things were! I knew I needed a change from the stagnant corporate engineering life to something more dynamic, more up-tempo and something that was more like me. Something in which I could still continue to grow as an active, involved family person. I knew that the healthcare field fit that role to a ‘T’.
My family was not all that shocked when I told them that I was leaving engineering work for the healthcare field. However, after my researching the various disciplines (including osteopathic medicine and physical therapy), my family was shocked when I told them I had decided to pursue chiropractic.
There was not a whole lot of initial acceptance, but after numerous conversations with my mother—a registered nurse in Milwaukee—she started to realize that being a medical doctor was not the right fit for me. It was not congruent with the way I lived my own life. The right fit for me is a job in which I can reach out to others my own unique way and help them. A job that is not just a job, but instead is a continuation of the way I live my own life. Now that is a job! So, to me, this rather unique and often misunderstood corner of the healthcare field fits me perfectly. To this day, it is the best decision I have ever made.
Why did you choose Palmer for your education?
When I first came to Palmer, I initially came with the idea that I was only making the trek to Iowa because I had to at least check out the place where the whole Big Idea of chiropractic started. At the time, I was deciding between two other chiropractic colleges because one had mountains and the other spent lots of money to bring me to the campus. So when I showed up to freezing and windy Iowa, all I was trying to do was to figure out the best way to escape without frozen fingers.
With a minimally open mind and low expectations I came to a Friday campus tour. I almost immediately had my mind kicked open. The thing that Palmer does that other schools do not have is what ultimately attracted me. No stipends or fancy dinners or cash—only REAL students who are passionate about chiropractic and why they were here, and a top notch world-class faculty. I was hooked because I felt like I was home. And, indeed, The Fountainhead has been a great home to me. Despite all the odds stacked against Palmer, and the fact that I was already half-way to Portland, I feel truly grateful for the great people I met that cold day three years ago. I felt like I belonged almost immediately, and it was the people and what they stand for that really made it happen for me.
How do you feel Palmer prepared you to be a chiropractor? Was it more than just learning to adjust?
There is something to be said for persistence—persisting through long, cold winters, long nights studying and learning TONS of information. It taught me that the things you want and love in life don’t always come easy. It was always a joy doing these things, and I suppose someday I will miss the burn of the cold wind on my cheeks (but not now!). In addition to that, the people. I could have never done it without the great people who surround Palmer. Both students and faculty were always there for me and are to this day. The lesson “always seek out people of similar values and interests” is vital.
What is one of your most memorable Palmer experiences?
The inaugural Palmer Charity N8k Race was a huge success (I came up with the name). Being involved on campus with Student Council, Vogt scholars and Campus Guides allowed me to give back a little. With being involved, it really felt like the whole thing was memorable for me.
What has your experience been like so far as a Doctor of Chiropractic?
I am in the process of moving to Madagascar to become the first licensed D.C. in the country ever. This is a part of a non-profit called Journey to Solidarity that myself, another Palmer D.C., a Palmer professor and two other non-health-care-related professionals started. The goal? Bring wellness to the world through chiropractic.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering becoming a chiropractor?
Talk to someone in the field. Visit Palmer and other schools, and go to a seminar like Palmer’s Homecoming.