Davenport Campus: Helping people on the streets turn a corner
The Davenport Campus made its first foray into free health care
for those in need in the mid-1980s, when it began offering free
physicals to disadvantaged children, as well as abused women
and their children. The program was initiated by Susan Larkin,
D.C., Davenport ’83, who, along with other clinicians, recruited
interns to perform the complimentary physicals. “It was done on
the rationale that our students could serve as role models to these
children,” said Dr. Larkin.
Anna Livdans-Forret, D.C., Davenport ’83, followed suit in 1987
by organizing free intern-administered physicals for underprivileged
children who wanted to enroll in a summer camp just for them.
But that program was about to evolve into something much bigger.
Bringing chiropractic care within reach
Months later, Clinic Director George Hess, D.C., Davenport ’78, told
Dr. Livdans-Forret that he was asked to set up a complete chiropractic
care initiative as soon as possible for the area’s poor. This was
at the bequest of Davenport Campus administrator Doug Baker,
D.C., Davenport ’70, who had envisioned such a program.
Dr. Livdans-Forret responded by volunteering to run the program
herself. Before long, she’d found two Davenport Salvation Army
locations willing to set aside space where Outreach Clinics teams
could provide care a few hours each week.
“So I found a portable Tulle table that the Clinic had in storage,
dusted it off, set up a sign for interns, collected forms and diagnostic
equipment, packed my car and headed downtown,” Dr. Livdans-
Forret recalled. “We were very well received at both clinics.”
According to Director of Community Clinics John Stites, D.C.,
Davenport ’79, “The purpose of the Outreach Clinics is to serve
the underserved and those who can’t afford care.” He adds that
the Outreach Clinics offer virtually the same care that patients
at other Davenport Campus Clinics have access to, including
adjustments, X-rays and rehabilitation.
A full-time commitment to care
In 1993, at the same time that Jeanne McWilliams, D.C., Davenport
’87, became the new leader of the Community Outreach
program, she found a Salvation Army location in downtown
Davenport that was willing to donate office space for the sole
use of an Outreach Clinic.
Intern Sara Wendel, center, palpates a patient under the supervision
of Dr. Jeanne McWilliams, at the Moline, Ill., location of the
Davenport Campus Outreach Clinics.
Today that location offers free chiropractic care eight hours a day,
five days a week. The interns who provide this care are supervised
by Davenport Campus graduates Karol Donaubauer, D.C., ’88, and
John Mosby, D.C., ’76. To be eligible to intern at an Outreach
Clinic, students must be in their 8th, 9th or 10th Trimester, with
top priority given to those in their 10th Trimester.
“The service provided by us and our interns is a priceless contribution
to the Quad Cities,” said Dr. Mosby. Likewise, he feels the program
generates invaluable experience for its interns because they’re
able to see “challenging spinal injuries and conditions that enhance
their expertise prior to graduation.”
“It’s a very rewarding place to work,” said Dr. Mosby. “I look forward
to coming to work every day!”
Care at Davenport’s full-time Outreach Clinic is complemented
by the services offered at the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation
Center on the north end of town, where an Outreach site clinic
provides a few hours of care each week. A third Outreach Clinic
is found across the river in downtown Moline, Ill., where Dr.
McWilliams now works.
“Everyone deserves a chance to be their best and to have basic
chiropractic care,” said Dr. McWilliams. “You may be the only
doctor that these people have. I had an Outreach patient once
who was previously a prostitute and a heroin addict,” said Dr.
McWilliams. “She was also an alcoholic who got herself clean. She
came to us from a homeless shelter and eventually got a job and
bought her own house. Hers was an exciting success story.”
Rich in gratitude
Mary Frost, D.C., Davenport ’96, who works alongside Dr. McWilliams,
also regularly sees patients who have addiction issues or have
spent time in jail.
“One patient told us that chiropractic had saved her life,” said
Dr. Frost. “This patient has led a poverty-stricken life and has
lived through things that most of us could not imagine. She said
that our chiropractic services have kept her going when she was
in tremendous pain.”
“Outreach patients also have more complications due to their
lifestyle and lack of finances,” she said. “But these differences
also make them very grateful for the care they receive.”
West Campus: In touch with the community since 1988
The system of Outreach Clinics in Santa Clara County has been
an integral part of the West Campus intern experience for more
than two decades.
Established in 1988, in large part due to the efforts of West
Campus alumna Cheryl (Uhri) Davis, D.C., ’87, the Outreach
Clinics were introduced at local facilities managed by social
agencies serving single mothers, the homeless and individuals
battling substance abuse addictions.
A social safety network
The current network of Outreach Clinics is open a total of
30 hours per week, with individual clinics based at locations
managed by the Emergency Housing Consortium (EHC), the
Salvation Army and the Ecumenical Association of Housing
While the program recently concluded its association with
CityTeam Ministries, it is now in the process of establishing a
site clinic at another EAH location at Borregas Court Apartments
in Sunnyvale, Calif. Borregas Court is a low-income housing
complex with a diverse population. Another EAH site, Parkview
Apartments, serves low-income senior residents.
“The Outreach Clinic provides a great avenue for interns to
gain additional clinic experience while earning credits toward
graduation,” said West Campus Dean of Clinics Greg Snow,
D.C., West ’90.
Interns are assigned Outreach Clinic rotations during their
11th and 12th quarters. They serve at least two rotations—six
weeks during their 11th Quarter and three weeks during their
Altogether, the Outreach Clinics system accounts for approximately
35 percent of West Campus patient care services. Since 1993,
interns at these clinics have performed approximately 10,000
physical exams and assisted with nearly 120,000 patient visits.
While the equipment and administrative costs to manage the
Outreach Clinics are paid for by Palmer College from its Clinic
budget, patient care space is provided free of charge to the residents
of the respective facilities.
Seeing the program’s benefits firsthand
Dr. André KnustGraichen, left, oversees intern Jacob Harris
setting up to perform a thoracic adjustment on a patient at one
of the Emergency Housing Consortium sites of the West Campus
Outreach Clinics program.
Dr. André KnustGraichen, West ’84, has been a part of the Outreach
program almost from the beginning. He serves as the primary
clinician at four of the five Outreach Clinic sites. Michael
Dominguez, D.C., West ’89, is the clinician at the other site.
“It’s quite gratifying to help the patients through chiropractic care,
and, at the same time, contribute to the intern’s education of what
it means to be a chiropractor,” he said. “Every day I’m at one of
the clinics, I see the benefits of what we do. Patients are very
happy with their care, and they tell us so daily.”
“Al,” for example, is a 20-year military veteran and a resident of
an EHC-administered facility that provides transitional housing
for low-income residents and those with physical disabilities.
“I jumped out of a lot of airplanes, which has resulted in me
having two knee replacement surgeries,” Al said. “Chiropractic
care helps me with all my service injuries, especially my shoulders.
The Palmer people have been fantastic. It’s been a Godsend
to have them here.”
Katrina Poitras, property manager at the site where the second West
Campus EHC Outreach Clinic is based, echoed Al’s sentiments.
“Having Palmer come out here is a great health benefit for our
residents,” she said. “It provides them with access to services
they otherwise wouldn’t have, due to financial or transportation
challenges, or both.”
Interns enjoy their rounds through the Outreach program for the
opportunity to enhance their clinical skills while also making a
difference in the quality of life of the less fortunate members of
Silicon Valley, many of whom have no other avenue of health care.
“Participating in Palmer’s Outreach program opened doors to a
variety of cases I would otherwise never see in the Clinic,” said
Michael Pound, D.C., West ’09, who recently served as an intern
in the program. “The patients were always so happy to see us and
I could tell that our services meant a lot to them.”
Florida Campus: Continuing to serve those in need
The first Outreach Clinic in Florida opened in 2004 but was
destroyed by a Christmas Day tornado in 2006. The new,
more modern Clinic is located in South Daytona, Fla., about
five miles from the campus, and is open 30 hours a week to
provide chiropractic care to those who cannot afford it.
A different type of referral
Patients at the Florida Campus Outreach Clinic aren’t referred
there by doctors but by churches, United Way agencies and the
Fresh Start program at Daytona State College.
Early on, Palmer’s Florida Campus established a relationship
with Serenity House, an adult substance abuse treatment facility,
and continues to serve their clients in space donated by Serenity
House at two locations in DeLand. In fact, the idea for opening
the first Outreach Clinic was to focus on treating those in alcohol
and drug recovery.
Dr. L. Sally Bobo and 11th Quarter student Nicolle Schultze
discuss a patient’s management plan inside the Florida Campus
The program is overseen by Director of Clinics Albert Luce,
D.C., and managed by Faculty Clinician L. Sally Bobo, D.C.,
who provides patient care and supervision of student interns.
“It has always been my dream to run a free clinic and Palmer has
allowed me to do this,” said Dr. Bobo, who is at the Outreach
Clinic on a full-time basis. Trent Hagen, D.C., Davenport ’82,
a clinician on the Florida Campus, also provides care and supervision
at the South Daytona clinic. Assisted by Mario Gonzalez
and Jade Marco, the Outreach Clinic is always busy.
Dr. Bobo sees no difference between patients of the Outreach
Clinic and those at Palmer’s other outpatient clinic, “other than
income and the fact that for many of our patients, we become
their primary healthcare provider.” She finds inspiration from
her patients and students.
“Several patients have told me that they could not live without
coming here,” Dr. Bobo said. She sees patients’ lives improved
by the care provided, which enables them to get a job or to
keep on working because chiropractic care eases their pain.
Upper quarter interns get the first opportunity to work in the
Outreach Clinic. Otherwise, the process is the same as at the
other clinics. “I hope it instills a sense of giving to others who
are less fortunate, and they carry this into their practices and
careers,” added Dr. Bobo.
Dr. Bobo specializes in the care of patients who are in
rehabilitation for drug and alcohol abuse who say that
receiving care helps them to stay sober. “Those clients
seem to do much better in their recovery. I think it’s
because we now know through new research that there
is more limbic tissue in the spinal cord than in the brain,”
she said, since limbic tissue is part of an overall system
that is activated by certain behaviors.
As for how alumni may help, Dr. Bobo suggests that any
donations made to the program be for specific equipment.
She also hopes that they will understand the rewards that
come from doing something for others and not just for the
monetary reward. “The patients that we serve develop a
relationship with the Clinic and our staff and rely upon these
services to get through life. What better reward is there?”