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Drs. Carly Swift and Krista Frank Share Their Secrets to an Effective Associateship

Posted By Maria del Mar A. Villar-Villar, Unified Virginia Chiropractic Association, Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Doctors



Dr. Carly Swift grew up with her family in Virginia Beach and started Wave of Life Chiropractic Center there seven years ago, She originally discovered the benefits of chiropractic when she was 17. After receiving a bachelor's degree at James Madison University in Health Sciences, she studied and earned her chiropractic degree from Life University in Marietta, Georgia.



Dr. Krista Frank is originally from Ohio. She also discovered chiropractic in high school, after a dance injury. She received a bachelor's degree at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, majoring in biology and minoring in business. From there she moved to Georgia, where she also attended Life University and pursued her DC degree. 


Time for an Associate



As Dr. Swift's practice grew, she knew she needed to start looking into taking on an associate. When she became pregnant, that need became urgent. 



Dr. Swift works with TLC, a chiropractic coaching company that helped with her office policies, procedures and work/life balance. TLC shared with Dr. Swift a system of bringing in an associate that allowed for a smooth transition and created a win-win for both the host doctor and the new associate. She put together a video of what her practice was looking for, posted it on social media sites and sent it to chiropractic colleges. After Dr. Swift had been interviewing associates for about a year, Dr. Frank found the practice by Googling associateships specializing in pediatric and prenatal care. 



Advice for taking on an associate



Dr. Swift advises the following on taking on an associate: "It's always good to have some sort of system in place for finding the right person, but really, you need to have your vision and what you're looking to get our of this. You want to definitely be sure to communicate how this is going to be a win-win for them, and win-win for you and how you'll be benefitting each other and making sure you're finding a person that aligns with your goals and the future of your office so that you're able to uplift them and train them and so you guys can support each other in that journey so that it's a long lasting relationship."



She says you should avoid waiting too long to start the process of taking on an associate. If you do, you could end up rushing the process and losing the opportunity to train them properly. This leads to mistakes being made -- and your practice will suffer as a result.


Reasons for becoming an associate



Dr. Krista Frank decided that she wanted to become an associate a few months before graduating from Life University. She was motivated by a desire to dig deep into chiropractic; to be able to grow and impact more people by becoming a part of a team as opposed to going off on her own. 



Advice for being an associate



Dr. Krista Frank offers the following advice to those who are looking to associate: "Find somebody that aligns with what you're looking for. There's always going to be those things that you're focused on, but at the same time you have to be able to play off of each other's strengths and weaknesses. You want it to be a challenge, but not have it be to the point where you feel undermined, because you really want to be able to have the same values and want to love going to work. It's important to remember just because you're an employee doesn't mean that you're not still a doctor." 



She stressed that starting out as an associate doesn't mean you are any less of a chiropractor than those who started their careers by opening their own practices. It just means that you are focused on the goal of seeing patients and making sure you're impacting your community. 


Final Thoughts



In summary, Dr. Swift advises, "The biggest thing is making sure that we are being humble throughout the whole process and we are recognizing that to some extent this is a partnership and we are uplifting and supporting each other in our chiropractic journey. The more that we're able to uplift and support our staff, the more impactful our office will be." 



For more information, email Dr. Swift at or Dr. Frank at

Tags:  associate  associates  chiropractic  chiropractor  chiropractors  doctor  doctors  practice  practices  team 

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Dr. Rebecca Wilder Aligns Community Healthcare Needs and Chiropractic

Posted By Maria del Mar A. Villar-Villar, Unified Virginia Chiropractic Association, Wednesday, January 22, 2020



In 2018, Dr. Rebecca Wilder, a practicing Chiropractor in Charlottesville, Virginia, formed The Align Foundation.  The foundation’s formation moved her a step closer to her dream of providing chiropractic care and natural healthcare instruction to those who otherwise would not be able to access them.


UVCA Member Services Associate Maria del Mar Villar-Villar sat down with Dr. Wilder in December 2019 to learn more about the Foundation and Dr. Wilder’s work.



Tell me about yourself and your background with chiropractic.


I’m from the Bay Area (California) and was an avid soccer player as a kid.  Even at ten years old, I already had a history of injuries and pain.  I had been to regular MDs many times for chronic shin splints and other knee problems, but their answer was always to “just stop playing”.  My mom knew that wasn’t an option for me.  She decided to take me to her chiropractor.


That’s where it started.  Here was someone who finally gave me an answer to my problems that would still allow me to do what I loved.  It was a game-changer for me.  When I became an adult and started looking around for what to do with my life, Chiropractic wasn’t obvious to me -- but it wasn’t foreign to me, either.  I really debated what direction to go.  I wanted to be in sports medicine and coach, and I felt that a career in physical therapy or chiropractic would let me do those things.  I toured a nearby chiropractic college and immediately said to myself, “This is it.  This is calling to me.”  That was what opened the door to chiropractic for me as a career.  I also continued to play sports throughout college, and I still play now.


Where did you get the idea for the Align Foundation?


I went to chiropractic college at Life Chiropractic College West in California, near where I grew up.  There was a faculty member at Life West that created what were basically local mission trips to San Francisco.  Once or twice a month, on a Saturday morning at six a.m., you showed up at a day labor camp where workers came looking for employment.  If you were an intern at a certain level in school, you could do the intake, the adjustments, or the exams for the laborers.  I discovered I loved doing that kind of work and realized it was something that I wanted to continue doing.


Maybe it’s a sign of the times, but many of my peers have started non-profit organizations to embrace social causes, give back and do outreach.  Ever since that time in chiropractic college, I have been trying to find a way to do something similar.  However, when you’re running your own private practice, you’re insanely busy.  I quickly learned that the search for a compliant, efficient way to give people care when they can’t afford is time-consuming and costly.  After months of research and frustration, the stars aligned.  I made a contact at the Affordable Public Housing Committee in Charlottesville.  That contact led me to a free clinic that would allow me to do exactly what I was looking for.  Everything meshed and I was able to check off all my boxes:  I could give back, I could practice chiropractic, and I could teach people about their bodies from the chiropractic viewpoint.  What’s greater than that? 

  What does the foundation do specifically?


Right now, the biggest part of the foundation’s work is through the West Haven Nursing Clinic here in Charlottesville.  I go there every Wednesday, once a week, and I’m there all day.  People sign-up for exams or adjustments. Through the program, patients are able to get weekly conservative chiropractic care that they would otherwise not be able to afford – and I am constantly educating them about why things hurt, what would make them better, or why things would be better this way.


The foundation focuses on posture, ergonomics and teaching, especially with the youth in the community. In addition to my work at the West Haven Nursing Clinic, I am constantly visiting elementary schools here in Charlottesville -- any teacher that will let me in.  I do exercises with them, teach them about the nervous system and its importance, and why alignment is important.  I tailor the content to the age group.


I also have something else in the works over at the Charlottesville YMCA that I hope to be able to launch soon:  an education workshop.  My goal is to incorporate postural, ergonomics, and just little healthy habits that people can start doing at home and in their workplace; things they can do to care about their own health. 


What were the steps involved in creating the foundation?


You can have all these great ideas out there -- but until you have a platform that reduces the red tape, they’re just ideas.  To form the non-profit foundation, I had to create a board, determine the organization’s mission and vision, create bylaws, get another business license, go through hoops to qualify as a 501(c)3 organization with the IRS, etc. I had to work through issues such as what will the focus be, what is it that I want to do, and how am I going to achieve that within the confines of health laws and regulations.  Everything needs to be clear and concise.  All that means time, money and organization, mostly with lawyers and IRS filings.




 What are your goals for the foundation?


We are in the big “Tech Neck” era.  More and more kids are on tablets and laptops and phones, as well as adults.  One of my biggest current projects is to launch my C-ontour (pronounced “contour”) program, which is an abbreviation for “Chiropractic On Tour.”  The idea is to get Chiropractic “on tour” in the schools and get everyone really talking about curvatures; hence my little play on words with the “c-ontour.”


When I was in chiropractic school, the head of our clinic had lunch with the school superintendent.  That led to a system in which we, even as interns, were able to go into the schools. We’d talk to the teachers, give them some screenings, and then they would invite us into the classrooms.  Since I have children myself, it’s been kind of an “easy in” at their school.  However, I want to expand my outreach to other schools, scheduling visits during health week, posture month or chiropractic month.  I want to have conversations with the school nurses who can then share information with parents, but it’s a tricky thing to navigate. I want to get the C-ontour program into more schools and/or other youth programs such as the Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs or the YMCA.


How can someone outside of the foundation help?


The most valuable support I can get right now is collaboration to help get the message out!  We need to share what’s working, what’s not, and what people are interested in.


I’m hoping to create opportunities for people who are interested in conducting exams, adjusting and whatnot in the future.  I’m still pretty new to the West Haven community and building trust, but I would love to eventually bring in other providers to expand what we can do. I’d love to have somebody else in another part of the state doing the same type of things -- maybe in Virginia Beach or Northern Virginia; really anywhere.


I’d love to model the program I was a part of as a student at Life West more than I’m doing currently – but the legalities of finding places where you can just kind of pop up and do mission-trip style chiropractic in the U.S. makes it a little bit harder to do.  I have two small children, so I never went on any of those trips myself.  If anyone has any experience in doing mission trips, either in the U.S. or abroad, those insights would be of great value to me.  


So, for the time being, here’s how people can help:

  • Collaboration, sharing information, and just spreading our message about the importance of chiropractic education.

  • Donate resources to support what I'm doing now. People can contribute towards administrative expenses and the costs of exams, x-rays, care plans and educational materials. People can also donate ice packs, foam rollers, and other things I can provide to people to take home so they can continue the health journey they've started. In fact, ChiroOneSource is accepting donations for gift cards or store credit so that I can order supplies on demand with them (visit or call 866-318-3251).


Is there anything else you’d like to add?


Just that I hope I’ve interested others in creating something of their own in their own community. If they’re excited about what I’m doing, they can support me and, in turn, support chiropractic for all people.  I’m always open to constructive advice and idea sharing.  Maybe someone can reach out to me and say, “Yeah, this PowerPoint is great -- I used this for my students” or “my mom group”, or whatever.  Perhaps someone has done something like this and can say, “Hey, this would really cut your time in half…”


I close my office one day a week to go do this. Quite honestly, it’s my favorite day of the week. If I could make a living from giving away free care, I would. It’s been really rewarding. I wish that our country’s health system would allow us to do more of it.  There is still a huge fear factor in chiropractic. I believe that efforts like my foundation’s will help to correct those fears and mainstream the profession, enabling us to reach and help more people.


I mentioned ChiroOneSource earlier. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Josh Walker and his company.  ChiroOneSource stepped in and worked out a great deal on a new portable table. I’m not a tall or big person, so having this table is a huge benefit to me and my patients.  I’m very grateful and thankful.



For more information on The Align Foundation and how you can help, visit Rebecca Wilder may be reached at

Tags:  align  association  blog  charitableblog  charity  chiropractic  doctor  foundation  help  rebecca  service  virginia  wilder 

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Solving the Opioids Crisis: The Key is Collaboration

Posted By Maria del Mar A. Villar-Villar, Unified Virginia Chiropractic Association, Friday, December 6, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, December 11, 2019


Solving the Opioids Crisis: The Key


is Collaboration



The opioids crisis began many years ago as a result of doctors trying to help their patients with their pain management. It was believed that prescribing opioid medications was beneficial to patients dealing with severe acute pain because they were unaware of the risks. Therefore, the opioid medications were overprescribed because they were very effective in helping patients receive relief. Once the adverse effects were known, there began a push to restrict the overuse of opioid medications, and so people who had unfortunately become addicted to these substances turned to street drugs such as heroin and fentanyl. Different groups would like to point fingers at different reasons for causing the opioids crisis, but ultimately, we are in crisis, and now we’re looking for solutions to help solve it.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.


Unfortunately, because we are in crisis, there is a tendency to overreact in order to solve the problem right away. This is a mistake because there are some people who benefit from limited, controlled, opioid use. The opioid crisis itself is deep because a lot of times people get in chronic pain situations because of depression, PTSD, or some other non-physical trauma that’s creating pain. We have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater because there are some people who have gotten help from prescription opioids. The trouble runs into when you’re using them to treat patients with chronic pain problems because there is no plan to stop use. If you restrict usage for everybody, then you lose the ability to do what the opioids were supposed to do in the first place with is help manage pain in acute situations.



Use a team-based approach.



In order to help mitigate the damage caused by the opioids crisis, if not solve it all together, it is important to improve collaboration among the healthcare community. For example, if we have the ability to see a patient and have their permission, we can have a dialogue with the prescribing provider on why the patient is receiving their prescription to opioids. Sometimes, the provider doesn’t even know that they’re still getting the prescription, sometimes it has been mis-prescribed, or it was something that was prescribed and the re-prescribed without much thought. This is why a team based approach is so important when dealing with a patient’s pain management, so that nothing gets lost in the shuffle.

Conclusion: Collaboration is key.


Ultimately, there isn’t just one solution to the opioids crisis. If you talk to providers across the board, you’ll get different feelings about who’s responsible and why they’re responsible. Chiropractic has a huge role in the crisis, but we need to keep these other important factors in mind. The best thing we can do is to be objective about the problem and not think that the solution rests on one discipline or one profession. It needs to be collaborative effort among all of us communicating with each other with the patient’s needs at the forefront of our conversation. This way we can all provide great care of the patients who seek our help.

Want more resources on the Opioids Crisis?


Visit our webpage here:


Or, as a UVCA member, take advantage of the F4CP’s resources:



Dr. AJ LaBarbera is the Vice President of Marketing and Brand Development for Tuck Chiropractic Clinics in Virginia. He is responsible for the organization’s branding, communications, media, Experience Outcome Measures (PREM), and intra- and inter-professional collaborative activities. He sees patients at Tuck’s Bedford and Boutetourt, Virginia offices. 


Dr. LaBarbera grew up in Roanoke, Virginia. After graduating from Cave Spring High School, he went on to get his Bachelor of Science (BS) in Biology from Virginia Tech. Following graduation from Tech, Dr. LaBarbera spent the next four years pursuing his Doctorate (DC) from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Iowa. In 2002, after spending some time practicing with a doctor outside Chicago, he moved back home to Virginia to practice. 


Dr. LaBarbera serves as a Virginia State Representative to Palmer College of Chiropractic, Treasuerer of the Unified Virginia Chiropractic Association Board of Directors and Chair of the UVCA Opioids Task Force.




Tags:  blog  chiropractic  collaborate  collaboration  crisis  fix  help  opioid  opioids  solve  solving 

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