Northwestern student selected for prestigious VA residency

Kate Martin | May 02, 2014

Kate Craig, DC, a 2014 graduate, was selected for one of the five newly-created VA Chiropractic Care Residencies.

Graduation is a time of transitions and new beginnings. For one Northwestern Health Sciences University student, graduation marked the start of an exciting new chapter. Kate Craig, DC, an April 2014 Northwestern graduate, was selected for a chiropractic residency at the St. Louis VA Healthcare System, one of five positions around the country in the newly created VA Chiropractic Care Residency Program.

“I am beyond excited for this opportunity,” says Dr. Craig. “I believe this will make me a better doctor, and the training I will receive is truly unparalleled.”

This is the first year the VA Chiropractic Residency Program is being offered. The program will provide post graduate training to prepare chiropractors for advanced practice, working in an interdisciplinary environment. Depending on the location, residents may do rotations in primary care, extended care, physical medicine and rehab, pain clinic, interdisciplinary pain rehab, spinal cord injury/dysfunction, neurology and radiology.

Dr. Craig believes chiropractic care is fundamental and necessary care needed by many veterans. “It is cost effective, non-invasive and proven through evidence-based research, to help reduce some of the most common complaints seen by primary care physicians.”

Working in an integrated care setting is one aspect of the residency that appeals to Dr. Craig. She believes patients benefit from integrated care and is looking forward to the chance to connect with other health care providers, learn from them, and help teach them about chiropractic. “I’ve always wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself,” she says. “The VA opportunity gives me the chance to learn and grow in a multidisciplinary setting. I am most looking forward to the clinical rotations.  I have so much I still want to learn about other disciplines.  I know I will be a better doctor because of that too!”

As an undergraduate, being a chiropractor was not on Dr. Craig’s mind. “I was planning on getting my doctorate in psychology. I knew I wanted to be in healthcare, but I didn't know in what capacity. My last semester of undergrad, I decided that being a psychologist just wasn't quite the perfect fit. I shadowed many different types of healthcare providers and chiropractic came out at the top of my list. This was a surprise to both me and my family.”

“Honestly, I wasn't even 100 percent sold on chiropractic itself when I was a T1,” she says. “I just knew that every chiropractor I met loved their life, their profession and their patients more than any other provider I encountered. There's something to be said about that.” 

As with all transitions, leaving familiar people and places is difficult. Dr. Craig has high praise for many Northwestern faculty members who inspired or mentored her. “Dr. T has always been such a light and inspiration to me! She is matchless, truly. I am way smarter because of her!

“Dr. Sweere was my formal mentor in the tutor mentor program and he kept me ‘balanced.’ He is always encouraging me to explore the fullness of my personhood. I am certainly a better chiropractor because of that! Both Dr. Zachman and Dr. Larson were incredibly patient with me and all of my questions as clinic supervisors.

“And who doesn't love Dr. Bowers! That woman is driven, motivated and funny! Dr. McCathie has excellence written all over him. I only had a small mentorship opportunity with him, but it was weighty with knowledge and clinical pearls.

“Dr. Wittich is such a wise, wise, wise woman.  I am proud to say I got an A in both of her classes and I am better because of it!”

“We have the tools to help a lot of patients,” says Dr. Craig. “Chiropractors are an asset to the health care system and I am excited to be a part of such a strong team at the VA!”

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