This fall, Life Chiropractic College West in San Francisco’s East Bay began working with the first radiology resident in a new degree program, the Master’s of Science in Diagnostic Imaging (MSDI) program. The training in the program also prepares the resident for a series of board exams to earn a Diplomate of American Chiropractic Board of Radiology, or DACBR.
The MSDI program has been in the works for a while but gained new traction when Life West received accreditation approval for the radiology residency program from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in July 2018.
The new program will qualify the radiology resident to sit for DACBR Board exams. Training will emphasize radiographic interpretation aimed at supporting chiropractors and the subluxation-based, vitalistic care they provide for their patients.
“The Master’s of Science in Diagnostic Imaging program continues to build on Life West’s mission in an effort to offer additional programs that are in alignment with the Doctor of Chiropractic degree,” said Pardeep Kullar, EdD, Vice President of Academic Affairs. “Having the ability to extensively train a resident in diagnostic imaging adds value to both the profession and the college as it demonstrates expansion in the field.”
The application process is stringent, and only one resident is admitted per year to work directly with program director Jamie Motley, DC, DACBR. Motley, who went through similar training to earn her MSDI and DACBR in 2012, notes that Life West’s program is unique to the radiology world. Of the current diplomate training programs, only three also offer a master’s of science degree in diagnostic imaging along with imaging interpretation training. Life West’s program will be the fourth such program.
When Life West began courting the idea of starting a radiology training program, it was important that the program went with a curriculum that offered a master’s degree, Motley said.
Motley, who has been teaching at Life West since 2013, said most colleges want to offer more than one degree, and the MSDI program with diplomate training was a realistic choice. Based on previous plans to offer such a program as well as the existing faculty to support it, Life West recognized the present as the perfect time to pursue this opportunity. When Ron Oberstein, DC, took over the presidency of the college, Life West suddenly had a new slate upon which to lay the program.
One person will be accepted per year for the master’s degree program, beginning with the fall quarter, for an eventual total of three residents at a time.
The thesis required for the master’s degree will be the real meat and potatoes of the program, Motley added. This research-based project will ultimately culminate in a research study, and the hope is that it will be published and contribute to a greater body of chiropractic analysis.
Designing the program
“I’m excited to take the role for a number of reasons,” Motley said. “There are a number of residences that have women directors around the country, and I’m glad to be part of that.”
Other institutions have helped along the way as well, which Motley called “very encouraging,” to see other programs support and contribute to the birth of a new program. The community is close-knit and its members support one another, which has been integral to the start of new programs historically.
“Everybody’s been really excited about the program and really excited to get started,” she added about Life West itself.
Her biggest goal is to produce competent and confident chiropractic radiologists for the profession, but she’d also like to see a sustainable, ongoing program take root. “I hope in 20 years we are still at it, training residents to support the chiropractic profession,” she said. “We need specialties available to chiropractors who can help them do what they do better.”
That means interpreting imaging for chiropractors, giving them a very detailed report on the anatomy of their patient and a clear understanding of the Vertebral Subluxation Complex.
Read more about Motley and how she found her calling at Life West.