The NYCC Health Centers
The final year of chiropractic education centers on the clinical experience, and at NYCC, students move off to one of four school-run clinics around New York State. One, of course, is at the main campus in Seneca Falls. One is on Long Island, where NYCC had its main campus until a move in the early ’90s. Two more are along the I-90 corridor, near the major cities of Rochester and Buffalo.
One full year before the big move, though, T5 students have to decide which city they want to call home during their clinical year. It can be a tough decision, with little information to distinguish between the clinics for those with no geographic preference. Over the past months, I talked with students from each of the locations, asking about about advantages, disadvantages, which students intern there, patient base/case types, how busy it is, mentor clinicians, opportunities, and other considerations. Here’s what I learned from some of my classmates:
Some of the advantages to Seneca Falls are that the clinic already has an established patient base, you can conveniently continue taking electives/seminars offered in the area, the cost of living is low, if you are Canadian you are able to work (for the school), and the location is great if you love the lakes, hiking, and other outdoor activities. The disadvantages are that the student/patient ratio is not great, there is a lot of down time in the clinic, you see a lot of the same patient complaints, and there is less to do in Seneca Falls. A big part of the reason the student/patient ratio is not great is because there were a large number of students staying in SF from my trimester. We started with 39 and then a few went away for remote internships. Rotations to the Canandaigua, Rochester, and Bath VAs, Monroe Community Hospital, Ithaca Free Clinic, and Elmira Pioneers baseball, and Hobart College athletic training all help increase experience.
The patient base at Seneca Falls mainly consists of community members. Most of the patients that come in know the clinicians and/or front desk staff somehow from the community. This creates a very friendly atmosphere in the clinic. The case types are pretty much what you would expect in a typical chiropractic office, a lot of low back and neck pain, some sciatica and headaches. At SF there are 5 treatment rooms and regular appointments are 30 minutes. So, the busiest the clinic gets is 10 patients in an hour. There are times when the schedule is booked full for a few hours but there are times when it is pretty empty. There are two clinicians you can work under at SF, Dr. Ruddy and Dr. Callahan. The nice thing about SF is that you already know the clinicians from taking their classes. They both care a lot about their patients. Opportunities at SF include sporting events (Irongirl, Muscle Man, etc), Elmira baseball rotations, and being able to take electives/seminars.
– Shauna D.
Levittown Health Center is a great clinic. This semester the health center included 39 students and four clinicians: Dr. Veronica Wicks, Dr. John LaFalce and Dr. Charles Hemsey full-time, and Dr. Lloyd Kupferman part time. Patients range from 8 years of age to 88. While complexity varies with each patient, the complexity of the majority of patients is high, with cases including teenagers, pregnant women, geriatrics, young adults, professional fighters, contributions from mental health concerns, and workers compensation cases. Levittown Health center is located on 70 Division Ave. In Levittown NY. It is a freestanding building that we share with the postgraduate department of NYCC. It’s in a high-populated urban area. There are 16 treatment rooms, including a variety of table types.
Students at the Levittown clinic rotate to three spoke locations. Two are colleges: Stony Brook University, where you see a high volume of students (Dr. LaFalce runs this) 6-14 patients per visit; and Farmingdale University where you see again a student population (Dr. Kupferman Runs this) 2-3 patients per visit. At Freeport Salvation Army you care for Army veterans and people who have poor access to health care (lower income population), overseen by Dr. Hemsey, with 2-3 patients per rotation. A number of outreach events are also expected here, including diabetes walk, bike race, volleyball tournament in China Town, national volleyball tournament, and health fairs.
Long Island is an ideal clinic to choose for anyone planning to apply for the two remote internships available on Long Island. The two downstate options are Riverhead with Dr. Mangles and Lindenhurst with Dr. Vasakaris.
We had several advantages in Long Island. We were scheduled on more spoke site rotations starting out in 8th trimester, had a larger patient base then a few of the other clinics, and were able to attend any post-graduate seminars being held in Levittown. We have a more consistent schedule than other locations because are scheduled in the clinic for nearly all the required hours. We have 4 clinicians, providing a variety of doctors to learn from, and allowing us to be able to have discussions with the doctors one on one. The smaller atmosphere allows for a comradery among the students. We also get to live a city-like lifestyle, being 30 minutes by train to NYC.
There are some disadvantages, like having no VA rotations available. The cost of living is much higher on Long Island. Weekend electives only offered in Seneca Falls necessitate a 5-6 hour road trip. The clinic is not involved with any Iron Man races or marathons.
– Rachel S.
The Rochester Health Center is the smallest in the NYCC system, and the newest, opening in 2010. The clinic building itself is located on a busy commercial street on the southern border of Rochester, and houses seven chiropractic treatment rooms and a teaching clinic for NYCC’s Finger Lakes School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Interns reside in the kitchen or the computer lab in between activity, working on homework most of the time. Approximately 25 students of assorted trimesters were at the clinic during my time there, which got pretty crowded at times. Dr. Ryan Nadeau is the full-time clinician, and his wife Dr. DePoint is scheduled part time. Dr. Wendy Maneri is the chief of staff, but she is located in Seneca Falls.
In the clinic, patients are often regulars, coming periodically for years, and ranging from college students to working adults to some geriatrics. The most unique patient group that we saw during my time was a significant bubble of pediatric and pregnant patients.
Dr. Albro additionally spends a few hours a week at the clinic, but his primary location is the student clinic at St. John Fisher College, one of our spoke locations. These rotations provide excellent experience and also include the Rochester, Canandaigua and Bath VA systems, treating veterans. St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center is an urban free clinic in which healthcare providers of all stripes volunteer time treating low-income individuals, generally quite complicated cases. Monroe Community Hospital is an in-patient setting, providing rehabilitative or palliative care to patients unable to live independently. Each student also had a couple opportunities to work at the Elmira Pioneers baseball games. While these rotations were a small part of the time spent in clinic, they were the highlight personally and educationally, offsetting extensive downtime in the hub clinic. During the summer, the clinic did some promotional events, providing treatments to participants at a basketball tournament, marathon, cycling tour, and elsewhere.
Rochester is an awesome place to live. Some live in the city itself, but I lived at Henrietta Highlands, a quiet, affordable development just south of the city. Rochester has great weekend festivals in summer, a solid music scene, nice parks, museums, and so much food and drink to try. Even when frustrations ran high due to long work hours and few patients in the clinic, life outside was great.
Clinical experience at the Depew Health Center is what you make it. As an eighth trimester student it is important to shadow the ninth and tenth trimester students to experience what an outpatient visit entails. Shadowing is helpful because you see how it is done, you get an adjustment credit, you see how that particular clinician likes the note to be done, you will be asked to cover this patient if the other intern is unavailable, and it builds on your comfort and confidence levels by showing you that you are both qualified and capable of doing this on your own.
The DHC is the hub clinic where we see a variety of patients including athletes, families, elderly, and your typical average Joe/Jane. Many of the patients have been coming here for years and understand that a new group of interns come in every four months. There are three free outpatient clinics (spoke clinics) approximately 20 minutes away from the hub clinic where interns get placed for 3 weeks at a time. This is where the majority of your adjustment credits will come from, and visits are anywhere from 15-30 minutes depending on whether they have been in before or not.
There is a clinic at the University of Buffalo where the majority of patients are healthy, active students that more often than not come in acute or suffer from what we call “student syndrome”. Another spoke clinic called Lighthouse is located in an impoverished, culturally diverse area with the majority of patients seeking care for chronic conditions, temporary relief, and supportive care. The last spoke clinic is at Salvation Army Church where the majority of the patient population is over the age of 65 and seeks palliative care such as massage and mobilization for chronic conditions. Many of the patients at all of the spoke clinics are thrilled with the quality of care and are extremely grateful for the free service we provide. We leave feeling fulfilled and inspired that we have influenced the lives of others.
– Adele C.