West Campus ’97 alumnus Dr. Jack Bourla remembers how as a student he was immensely appreciative of the doctors who would return as guest speakers to share their own perspective of clinical practice and provide insight into the “real world.”
So when West Campus faculty member Dr. Gary de Wet invited Dr. Bourla to come and speak to students in one of Dr. de Wet’s business classes during the 2005 summer quarter, he proudly accepted – and, since that initial visit, he has returned to share his own perspective and insight with students in Dr. de Wet’s classes for 25 straight quarters.
“As doctors, we cannot live in our caves and never come out. I believe we all have a responsibility to give back to our community, to our schools and to our profession. We have been given a gift, and it is our responsibility to share that gift and protect that gift,” said Dr. Bourla, a San Mateo, Calif., native who now practices at Providence Chiropractic Center in nearby Redwood City, where the adjusting rooms provide patients a view of the sailboats as they glide by at the southern tip of the San Francisco bay.
During his days as a West Campus student, Dr. Bourla was president of the COPE (Community Outreach Patient Education) Club, president of the West Campus student CCA chapter, and subsequently served as president of the statewide Student California Chiropractic Association. Dr. Bourla, who graduated as class valedictorian and Clinical Excellence Award honoree, remains active in the CCA, currently serving as chair of the California Chiropractic Association (CCA) member department.
"As our history shows, many West Campus students who have demonstrated leadership qualities while in school often continue to serve the profession and aspire to similar leadership roles after they graduate and venture into practice,” said Dr. Bill Meeker, West Campus president. “In the case of Dr. Bourla, with more than six years of continuous service to our students, he takes the bar of 'professional commitment' to equally admirable and impressive heights, and sets a standard of alumni dedication for which the West Campus faculty and administration, and, in particular, the Palmer doctors of tomorrow, are quite appreciative."
In addition to speaking to current West students, Dr. Bourla has also shared his inspiring energy, enthusiasm and clinical experiences at Palmer-sponsored programs for prospective students, including the “Palmerpalooza” event on the West Campus in July, which drew the largest crowd for a recruitment-related program in school history.
“I lecture at different college campuses, in my community, at corporations, and to Chiropractic Philosophy groups and I always walk away from my time with students feeling rejuvenated and inspired,” said Dr. Bourla, whose professional experience prior to chiropractic includes working as a university lecturer in biology, a family planning counselor, an administrator at Stanford University, and as director of scientific operations for a large biotech company.
“From the very first moment in first quarter, when I sat in one of those blue plastic chairs, I knew chiropractic was for me. Now that I’m in practice, my greatest joy is in knowing that I belong to a profession that deals every day with the power that animates the living world,” said Dr. Bourla, a San Francisco State University graduate (B.A., cell and molecular biology).
Two years ago Dr. Bourla experienced an unprecedented level of joy when he adjusted the atlas of his newborn son Evan, taking him from a lifeless, near-death state to breathing on his own.
“The hospital pediatrician and staff couldn’t explain Evan’s turnaround. I could. At that moment, I thought to myself, ‘What if that adjustment was the only reason I went to chiropractic school?’ I knew it was chiropractic that saved my son’s life.”
Dr. Bourla brings the same degree of passion for chiropractic each time he speaks to Dr. de Wet’s business classes.
“Dr. Bourla is one of the most committed chiropractors I have ever known,” said Dr. de Wet. “He emphasizes that the future of our profession is in the hands of our students, and to that end he is committed to our classrooms, assisting in graduating the most competent and best-educated doctors of chiropractic for the future.”
Every time that Dr. Bourla returns to the West Campus, he’s reminded of his own student experience, and, in particular, classmates who turned out to be lifelong friends and colleagues.
“Without a doubt, the highlight of my student experience was in making friends with some of the finest people on this planet. I had a study group consisting of brilliant minds, incredible perseverance, tremendous humor, and unparalleled devotion. Our group worked together, stuck together and grew together. That ‘band of brothers’ was, by far, my highlight.”