Parker University College of Chiropractic and Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) at Southwestern Regional Medical Center in Tulsa, Okla., have partnered to provide an 11-week student internship program. Jami Hamilton, a tri-nine DC student, is the first to participate in the unique program, designed to provide a true experience in integrated cancer treatment.
Jami and future interns selected for the program will shadow Dr. John Sibley, a chiropractor at CTCA-Tulsa who also operates a private practice in Tulsa. Dr. Sibley's dual responsibilities will allow student interns to gain valuable insight into whole-person care as provided in real-world settings.
"Internship opportunities like this are extremely important in furthering the education of our students," said Dr. Fabrizio Mancini, president of Parker University. "CTCA's commitment to developing customized treatment plans for each patient is in alignment with what we teach at Parker and what we provide in our chiropractic wellness clinics, which is another reason this partnership is such a great fit."
"This internship is designed to best prepare Parker students for clinical practice within integrated health care settings," added Dr. Patrick Bodnar, assistant dean of clinics at Parker University. "It will expand the clinical portion of the student's education and will benefit them tremendously."
An Intern's Journal
"My experience at Cancer Treatment Centers of America and Dr. John Sibley's office has been very rewarding. Dr. Sibley runs a very busy practice in Tulsa. On an average day at his office, we see 50 to 70 patients. I usually do the physical exams, call X-rays and therapies, and treat some of my own patients.
"For two hours every Monday and Wednesday, Dr. Sibley and I go to Cancer Treatment Centers of America to treat patients, their caregivers, and stakeholders. The patients at the hospital are diagnosed cancer patients who are currently undergoing treatment. They may have ports, pic lines, or metastasis to the spine, and Dr. Sibley uses many different techniques in order to provide chiropractic care for them. The patients are usually long-time chiropractic patients, but sometimes, [they] have never experienced care before and have heard about it from an oncologist or other patient.
"After working at CTCA, Dr. Sibley and I then return to his office to see the afternoon patients. Fridays, we work all morning at his office and all afternoon at the hospital.
"Tuesdays are my days at CTCA. I do rotations with different specialties, usually one in the morning and one in the afternoon. So far, I have been with the intake department, two medical oncologists, acupuncture, mind/body medicine, and naturopathic medicine.
"My afternoon with the naturopaths has been my favorite so far. They go in after the medical oncologists have seen the patients and explain the supplements that will be given to offset the problems experienced because of the chemotherapy. Lunch time usually consists of either a meeting of some type or, if we're lucky, lunch at Ricardo's café, which is in the hospital. The food there is organic and always fresh.
"CTCA is unlike any hospital that I have seen before. They treat the whole person, rather than just the disease the person may have. It is full of cheer, warmth and most of all, hope. There is always music playing in the lobby, whether it is someone on a guitar or on the baby grand piano. Fresh fruit and water is set out for the patients and colorful artwork is on display everywhere.
"Almost every service that a cancer patient needs is under one roof. From a salon and nail spa, to plastic/reconstructive surgery, to psychologists, to chiropractic, these patients are able to receive services that they normally wouldn't be able to. What could take a week to accomplish, CTCA's patient schedulers can fit into a day or two – the patient just has to show up for the appointment. The fact that chiropractic care is included in a place that treats such a devastating disease as cancer shows just how far we have come in the profession."
Chiropractic and CTCA: Founded on Similar Philosophical Premises
Founded by Richard J. Stephenson in the 1980s, Cancer Treatment Centers of America currently offers cutting-edge, integrative-care-based cancer treatment at hospitals in three other locations besides Tulsa: Chicago (where the CTCA model of care was first implemented), Philadelphia and Phoenix. Stephenson "vowed to change the face of cancer care" after his mother died from the disease, and committed to furthering whole-person cancer treatment in a nurturing environment.
To learn more about Cancer Treatment Centers of America, visit www.cancercenter.com. For further insight into the chiropractic role in CTCA's mission, read our recent interview with Dr. Jeff Sklar, director of chiropractic services at CTCA's Eastern Regional Medical Center in Philadelphia, as published in our Oct. 21, 2010 issue.