Dr. Barbro Brost Turned Her Swedish Understanding of Healthcare into one of the Largest Chiropractic Clinics in the Midwest
Barbro Brost, DC ‘79 knew she wanted to be doctor at four years old, when her mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. At that time, growing up in a small town outside of Stockholm, Sweden, she had never heard of a chiropractor.
That changed when Dr. Brost was 17. Her mother had an M.S. episode and someone recommended she see a chiropractor: NWHSU alum Dr. Larry Sandberg ‘72. That visit not only helped her mother recover much faster and come out of her M.S. episode “much better than any other time,” but it totally changed the protectory of Dr. Brost’s life.
Though there wasn’t chiropractic education in Sweden at that time, the idea of more natural care made sense to Dr. Brost, who was raised with herbal medicine and homeopathy. “I grew up with a mother who, like many people in Sweden, if I had a cough would give me some herbal tea,” she shared. “The whole notion of ‘health care’ versus ‘sick care,’ in Swedish that’s two separate words. Health care is doing things to keep healthy. Sick care is going to the hospital when something is really bad.”
Dr. Brost finished her pre-med studies in Sweden, and at 21 she came over to Minnesota with two suitcases. With her was another Swedish student, Olle Bonnevier, DC ‘79, and though they didn’t know each other he quickly became—and remains—like a brother to her.
Adjusting to Life in Minnesota
Dr. Brost laughs now as she tells the stories of her first weeks in Minnesota. Swedish folks she’d never met picked them up from the airport and found them a temporary place to stay.
Accustomed to traveling via public transit easily in Sweden, she and Dr. Bonnevier spent half a day in the August heat trying to get to campus on East Mississippi River Boulevard. “When we got to campus we were drenched,” she laughed, “Dr. Wolfe greeted us and I think he felt sorry for us.”
Weather and public transit turned out to be the least of her worries: though she knew English, learning internal organs was overwhelming. “It was basically eat, sleep, and study,” she shared.
“On the first day of school Dr. DeRusha, a legend, was talking to the new students. From the first day he called you doctor. A couple of words kept coming back and I didn’t know them: ‘spine’ and ‘vertebrae.’ I had never heard those words before. I had no idea what they meant.”
Practicing in Stockholm and Minnesota
When they graduated, Dr. Brost, Dr. Bonnevier and Jerry Brost, DC ‘79 (who Dr. Brost had married during school) moved back to Stockholm to buy Dr. Sandberg’s practice. They lived and worked in Sweden for six years, eventually opening a second location in the town where Dr. Brost grew up. She also had two children during that time, and eventually they decided to move back to Minnesota.
In 1986 the Brosts opened a clinic in Wayzata, and in 2000 they divorced, and she bought him out. “Taking over the clinic was a scary time for me. We were in financial trouble. I worked my little buns off for many years. I worked seven in the morning to six at night Monday through Saturday.”
The work paid off, and Dr. Brost grew the clinic into one of the largest chiropractic and natural health care clinics in the Midwest. When asked how she did it, she responded “just hard work and being ethical. Keeping our word and meaning what we say and saying what we mean. And just taking good care of people.”
In 2003 Dr. Brost married Jay Greenberg, DC ‘77, who has a thriving practice in Red Wing, Minnesota. “The two of us are a very dynamic duo who live the chiropractic lifestyle,” she shared. For Dr. Brost, chiropractic is a family affair: her daughter and son-in-law also practice with her, and she’s holding out hope for at least one grandchild to choose the profession.
Building the Clinic’s Reputation and “Treating Everything”
Dr. Brost found that people were looking for help that didn’t involve pharmaceuticals, especially younger parents in the area. Her clinic, where she now employs six NWHSU grads, including her daughter Dr. Caroline Brost-Sailer and son-in-law Dr. Shawn Sailer, is known for treating complex conditions.
“We treat everything. I have such a strong belief in chiropractic,” she explained. “We think about things broader than where the symptom is. For example, with low back pain there’s almost always something else going on.” Dr Brost and her team also focus on patient education and to help them take more control of their health.
Dr. Brost put in the extra work to get where she is. She completed a three-year diplomat program in neurology and certification in acupuncture while continually studying clinical nutrition at the postgraduate level. She’s also been recognized numerous times for her contributions to the profession and her community, including as alumnus of the year from NWHSU, person of the year from the Wayzata Champer of Commerce, and more.
At the end of the day, that’s not what it’s about for Dr. Brost. “I just want to help people and that’s what I do,” said Dr. Brost. “That’s what I’m put on earth to do. I still like what I do and I feel like I have a lot to share. You gain experience over the years, that’s why they call it practice. You get better with practice.”