Campbellsville University to open first doctor of chiropractic school in Kentucky

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Campbellsville University will soon open the first doctoral chiropractic school in the state, with the classes beginning in January.

The school is designed to re-imagine how chiropractic schools function, with a focus on hands-on experience for students and more business classes so students can learn to run their own practice. The school is located at the Campbellsville Harrodsburg campus,with a ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled for Friday at 10 a.m.

“It is going to change the scope of Campbellsville University,” said interim president H. Keith Spears. “We do not see this as our last professional program. We see this as a first.”

The new building is designed to integrate learning with hands-on experience, including an on-site student clinic. There, students will be able to treat other Campbellsville students. Classrooms also include areas where students can apply what they are learning with exam tables. One classroom also includes camera technology that will give students instant feedback when they are doing adjustments.

“If you’re going to be a clinician, let’s teach you like a clinician from day one,” said Dennis Short, associate vice president of chiropractic education.

During a student’s last year, they will complete a clerkship in a chiropractic office. Students can choose a location almost anywhere to do their clerkship, whether that’s in Kentucky or returning to their hometown, said Trevor Foshang, dean of chiropractic education.

“Our clinical environment is really tapping into our profession as a whole and placing students in sound clinics, multidisciplinary clinics and hospitals, so that they can really find a wonderful living place someplace where they’re not struggling to do it,” Foshang said.

Additionally, there are classes that focus on business education, which prepares students to run their own practice. Campbellsville’s program will include more business classes than the traditional doctorate program, Short said.

Short owns Bluegrass Chiro, the largest chiropractic organization in Kentucky. Taking his business experience, Short said he hopes to help students graduate with the confidence to successfully start their own practice by offering more business classes.

“The education, when it comes to business, is so lacking across other institutions,” Foshang said. “We’ve fixed that here within this curriculum. Again, another reason why our graduates will leave this institution confident.”

According to the American Chiropractic Association, there are 19 accredited chiropractic colleges in the United States. None are located in Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana or Ohio.

The Harrodsburg campus was “the perfect place” for the school because of the reduced cost of living, while still being nearby bigger cities like Lexington, Foshang said. Students can take on less debt while pursuing their doctorate, which means they can invest in their practice sooner after graduation, he said.

That gives graduates “a fighting chance to get up and running,” Foshang said.

“The cost of education in this particular field has gotten out of control,” Foshang said. “It’s out of control in medicine and dentistry and a variety of other health care professions, but that doesn’t set the student up very well for graduation or success post-graduation.”