At Life Chiropractic College West, “creating a brighter future for humanity” is a vision that goes far beyond the campus perimeter. In addition to creating highly trained professionals as chiropractic care providers, the college also instills a core set of values in the student body, based on a campus-wide “Lasting Purpose” that fosters generosity and community accountability: Give, do, love, serve from a place of abundance. Life West seeks to inspire students to become active in their communities — and in the world — to improve health globally.
Life West’s goals to broaden chiropractic are a key part of the service trips that are increasing in frequency, allowing both faculty and students to serve and care for people around the world. Students get the added benefit of learning on the job. Each of these service trips began as individual efforts, but all were developed to serve one overall purpose: providing students and faculty with the opportunity to help people in need who might not or have never had access to the benefits of chiropractic. Some of the service trips take place on Life West’s home turf, in San Francisco’s Mission District or in the East Bay’s downtown Hayward, and others have taken students to the other side of the world, to India and Tonga.
Service Trip America celebrates 10 years of service
Launched in 2009 by two Life West chiropractic students, Life West Academic Counselor Lori Pino, and Life West faculty, Service Trip: America is a humanitarian outreach program that provides complimentary chiropractic care to the San Francisco Day Labor Program and Women’s Collective. Through service, the team expands public awareness and education about chiropractic to the community while bringing free services to people who need them. And Service Trip: America celebrated a milestone anniversary this spring, providing chiropractic services for 10 years now.
More than 200 Life West students have participated in the program — approximately 30 student members at any given time — and the program manages more than 700 patient files.
In 2018, Ron Oberstein, DC, President of Life Chiropractic Life West, and other members of Life West’s faculty and student body traveled to New Delhi, India. Former Life West alumni and the college’s Board Chairman, Jimmy Nanda, DC, had a lifetime involvement with the Sant Nirankari Mission in India, which hosts a three-day spiritual retreat twice a year, drawing more than 1.5 million people and providing health care in underserved areas.
Oberstein and Nanda, along with other faculty members, guided a Life West team of 20 interns in New Delhi. Working in conjunction with the Indian Association of Chiropractic Doctors as well as doctors from around the world, this group provided chiropractic care to more than 11,000 patients during the three-day 71st Annual Nirankari Sant Samagam.
The school sponsored another trip, this time to Mumbai, India, in January 2019. About 10,300 patients were seen in three days, allowing students and faculty alike to witness what chiropractic can bring to people’s lives.
The college’s ties and its commitment to creating a healthier India were strengthened when Life West service trip attendees also witnessed a ribbon-cutting ceremony, officially opening a new Life West Health Center in New Delhi. Oberstein said this unique venture will bring regular chiropractic care to the country’s inhabitants and will be staffed by a mix of doctors and last-quarter students, providing both clinical and cultural experience.
Life West sponsored another service trip in December 2018 to Tonga, which was chosen for two reasons: Life West’s athletic director, Adriaan Ferris, coached rugby in Tonga and Fiji, and brought to the board’s attention that no chiropractic system existed in either country. In addition, during a July visit to the states Saia Piukala, the Tongan Minister of Health, connected with Oberstein at Life West’s Hayward campus, establishing and solidifying a relationship of mutual trust and goals to set a plan in motion.
During three six-hour days, the chiropractic group saw more than 1,650 people. Oberstein said the experience transformed both patient lives and the lives of the students and doctors providing care.
Life West now goes to Tonga three times a year, and takes about 20 students each trip. Life West also plans to open a free chiropractic clinic in Tonga, where four to eight interning students can practice while taking classes online during their last quarter before graduation.
In addition to Tonga and India, Life West has plans to organize service trips to China, Africa and Central America. Life West hopes to open health centers in these areas to provide continuity of care.
About Life Chiropractic College West
Life Chiropractic College West in Hayward, Calif., traces its founding to 1976, when the institution was known as Pacific States Chiropractic College. In April 1978, the first group of students at Pacific States Chiropractic College began attending classes.
Life Chiropractic College West, which offers a Doctor of Chiropractic degree, is internationally recognized for leadership and innovation in chiropractic education. Life Chiropractic College West is accredited by both the WASC Senior College and University Commission and the Council on Chiropractic Education, agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
For more information on Life West, visit lifewest.edu.