Adrian Emm’s career in chiropractic is a great example of the powers of chiropractic and a positive attitude. A 2006 graduate of Life West, Emm works with several American Indian tribes in central Nevada. A few years ago though, he wasn’t sure he was even going to graduate from chiropractic school.
Emm grew up in Shurz, Nev., and he is a member of the Yerington Paiute Tribe. As a teenager, he had many seizures and, later, daily headaches. One day, halfway through his second bottle of Tylenol, a friend suggested he see her father, a chiropractor. As soon as Adrian was adjusted, his headaches were gone. Although he had planned to go to law school, he was so interested in the philosophy and practice of chiropractic that he switched directions, and he ended up at Life Chiropractic College West.
Adrian’s grandfather died while he was in the clinical portion of his program, and this proved a major set back. His grandfather had raised him and Adrian got behind in school as he struggled with his loss. Finally, he decided things had to change and he quit watching TV and listening to the radio; he visited the library and found motivational CD’s. This changed his attitude and Adrian got himself together to finish school, graduating in March 2006.
Emm visited many chiropractic clinics while he was in school, and he met a chiropractor who was working with the Washoe Tribe in Nevada. Intrigued by the possibility of helping native tribes, he focused on getting a position as a tribal chiropractor. He now works two days a week at the Walker River tribal health clinic in Schurz, Nev., and two days at the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone tribal health clinic in Fallon, Nev. In order to work with the tribes, he had to go before the tribal councils and learn their individual cultures. The Indian Health Service (IHS), an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, provided him with facilities and clinical equipment; he is paid as an independent contractor by the tribes.
Working with tribe members is very rewarding, Emm says. There are many opportunities to encourage wellness and he applauds the Indian Health Service for their help. One of the main focuses of the IHS is prevention, which fits well with chiropractic care. He knows of only a few other chiropractors who are working with the IHS, and he is on a mission to visit more tribal chiropractors.
In addition to his work with the tribes, Emm is getting a business plan together to set up a practice in his hometown. He is hoping to get other family members to go to chiropractic school and join him in practice.
Emm’s advice to students and new graduates:
1. Keep yourself motivated. He still listens to motivational CD’s as he drives 500 miles a week back and forth to the tribal clinic.
2. Keep as many connections as possible. He stays in touch with former classmates and says if he goes a week or two without talking to one of them, he gets down.
3. Be clear on what you want to do; envision your future. As he went through school, Emm constantly imagined the clinic he wanted to create. He believes that having a vision makes the dream come true.
4. Don’t give up. Emm wants to see more chiropractors get into the Indian Health Service and he is always formulating plans to get more DCs involved.
For grads interested in working with Indian tribes, Emm suggests making contact with the IHS or a local tribe. He notes that every tribe is different, but there are plenty of opportunities for doctors to provide chiropractic care. If you would like to contact him, his cell phone number is 775-219-9481.
For more information on IHS, go to their Web site.
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