The Next Generation of Chiropractic's Leaders

By Kate Jones and Jenna Moran

 

With each generation and within every profession, a new “cream of the crop” emerges. Here, Today’s Chiropractic LifeStyle has chosen 13 outstanding young DCs who are elevating and advancing Chiropractic within their disciplines and communities.

The chiropractors profiled were chosen based on their achievements, innovations and the potential they offer as a new generation of chiropractors. They are leaders, teachers and dreamers working toward a better tomorrow in the chiropractic profession. 

Jay Breitlow  |  Longmont, Colo.  YIP: 4

His Chiropractic Story: Breitlow was working as a nuclear engineer when he decided to enroll at Palmer College of Chiropractic. As an engineer, he did root-cause evaluations, and after realizing an innate desire to help others, Breitlow did an evaluation on his own life. “Just kind of out of the blue on this piece of paper, I wrote down ‘chiropractor,’ and ever since that day, my life has been 100 percent geared and focused with helping people and humanity,” he says. 

Why He’s on Our List: Before opening his practice, New Leaf Chiropractic, with his wife, Breitlow started the organization Journey to Solidarity and spent time in Ghana doing chiropractic missions. While abroad, Breitlow learned that mission work can be done in his own office and that there is a need in his community. “I’ve never turned anybody away who needs care [due to their] finances, but I didn’t have that perspective until I went out and served overseas and lived in a community of people who make two dollars a day,” he says.

His Legacy: Breitlow’s desired legacy is simple. He says, “I would like people to say, ‘He was a really good guy, and he did everything he could to help make me a better person, to live life to the fullest.’”

Homero Cavazos  |  Plano, Texas  |  YIP: 4

His Chiropractic Story: Cavazos has always had a strong passion for helping children with developmental disabilities. After graduating from Parker College of Chiropractic in 2008, he opened a practice specializing in pediatric developmental disorders to care for children with ADHD, autism and balance and coordination deficiencies. As a Defeat Autism Now practitioner, he provides diet recommendations and nutritional supplements for children with autism. Cavazos explains that many of the children with neurological dysfunctions also have metabolic dysfunctions. “So the main goal is to restore normal physiology to the body,” he says. “Once you do that, the child is ready to accept occupational or physical therapy.” 

Why He’s on Our List: Cavazos was the 2011 recipient of Parker’s Young Alumni of the Year award. At a 2011 National Autism Association (NAA) meeting, he spoke about his office’s approach to caring for autism, and his lecture “Comprehensive Treatment for ASD Children: A Logical Approach” was published later that year in the NAA North Texas newsletter. 

His Vision for the Profession: “I feel we’re our No. 1 fans and also our No. 1 enemies,” Cavazos says. “It’s vital for chiropractors, in general, to be accepting and understanding of the other [health care] professions out there and work with those [health care] providers. And even though we may agree to disagree on some issues, we still have to have that respect for one another. Make those contacts with the medical community in your area to [help] make your patients better by doing what you do.” The goal of Cavazos’ practice is to have a positive impact on the next generation. “Every time I have a mom come into my office and tell me I’m giving her son or daughter back to her, that’s what makes everything worth it.” 

Austin Cohen  |  Atlanta  |  YiP: 3 

His Chiropractic Story: After completing his undergraduate degree, Cohen was deciding what medical field to pursue and found the medical philosophy didn’t coincide with the active, healthy lifestyle he led. His mom suggested becoming a chiropractor, and he decided to get adjusted by a family friend. Before the adjustment, he didn’t feel any pain, but soon noticed that his run times dropped drastically. “That was the only thing that changed, and I realized I can help people be better,” he says. Cohen graduated from Life University in 2009 and now owns a practice in Buckhead, Ga.

Why He’s on Our List: In addition to publishing biweekly health and wellness articles for his patients, Cohen also holds workshops on various topics, providing more information on overall wellness and making him a multidimensional chiropractor. Cohen’s workshops are advanced corrective care classes and include topics like fitness, mind, nutrition and spinal health. “These [classes] literally just give people the necessary tools in order to build an optimal life,” Cohen says. In addition to the classes, Cohen and his staff give back to the community by providing free chiropractic care once a month to the men at Atlanta Mission. 

His Legacy: Cohen wants to inspire chiropractors. “Be inspired to realize that if you tell the truth about Chiropractic, and if you give people not just what they want to hear, but [have] integrity and tell them what they need to hear, then you’re going to make a [positive impact] in the community.”

Celeste Gabai  |  New York  |  YIP: 3

Her Chiropractic Story: For Gabai, Chiropractic runs in the family. Gabai, her father and brother all pursued careers in the chiropractic profession. She had an interest in the health field from a young age, beginning her career as an athletic trainer with an exercise science degree. She later attended Life University to become a chiropractor before earning a Certified Chiropratic Sports Physician certification. 

Why She’s on Our List: Gabai is a sports medicine fellow for the U.S. Olympic Committee. She has practiced with the sports medicine clinic at the Lake Placid Training Center since 2010, providing evaluation, training and rehabilitation for athletic injuries. She also traveled to London for the 2012 Olympics to assist with the Paralympic team processing.

Her Vision for the Profession: “There’s a big change that’s happening within the understanding of what chiropractic care can do and help with,” she says. “And by working in such a unique sporting environment, we really kind of began to open the door of how it can affect performance of an elite-level athlete. And I think that’s been really exciting for me to be a part of [that environment] and to work with athletes who are so successful in what they do.”

Neil Gardner  |  Kingston, Jamaica  |  YIP: 3

His Chiropractic Story: Before Gardner was training to become a chiropractor, he was training to win a gold medal. He represented Jamaica in the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta and the 2001 World Athletic Championships in Canada, where he finished as a semifinalist in the 400-meter hurdles for both races. In 2004, he received a call from the Jamaican Olympian Association asking if he had ever considered a career in Chiropractic. After noticing a perfect alignment between its philosophy and his own philosophy, he decided to attend Parker College of Chiropractic and specialize in chiropractic neurology. He currently practices in his hometown of Kingston, Jamaica.

Why He’s on Our List: Gardner has accomplished many firsts in the chiropractic world. He was the first recipient of a scholarship awarded to Olympians wishing to study Chiropractic and is also the first chiropractic neurologist on the island of Jamaica.

His Vision for the Profession: “It is my desire that more Olympians will make use of this opportunity to change their own lives, and to touch and save the lives of countless generations of people around the world through Chiropractic,” he says.

Jason and Vanessa Helfrich  |  Colorado Springs, Colo.  |  YIP: 8

Their Chiropractic Story: For restaurant owners Jason and Vanessa Helfrich, an interest in the chiropractic profession sparked after they learned about its philosophy through Vanessa’s parents, both chiropractors, and the impact their practice had on patients. After graduating from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 2004, the couple moved back to their hometown of Colorado Springs to combine their love of business and Chiropractic by opening a practice of their own.

Why They’re on Our List: The Helfriches founded 100% A Chiropractic Wellness Center in 2004, which has recently expanded to nine locations throughout the U.S. including Colorado, Georgia and California. Through 100% Chiropractic, they have developed a unique business model: hire graduates right out of chiropractic school and train them to build a practice of their own. Later, each chiropractor can choose to attain full ownership to keep the center’s name and systems. 

Their Vision for the Profession: “We really felt the need to give back to the professional field and show [chiropractors] you can still be philosophical and highly profitable,” Jason says. The Helfriches believe the philosophy of a successful business is simple: “If you have systems and you feed people into the systems that work, then you can recreate successful practices over and over,” says Vanessa, who is also the daughter of Life University president Guy F. Riekeman. The Helfriches are living proof of this, as they plan on opening one practice every month by next year.

Leslie Hewitt  |  Danville, Calif.  |  YIP: 13

Her Chiropractic Story: As a fitness instructor and owner of two fitness management companies, Hewitt was regularly referring her clients to chiropractors. She realized her lifestyle greatly resonated with the chiropractic philosophy, and soon after began to pursue a chiropractic career. Hewitt graduated from Life Chiropractic College West in 1999 and later opened her own wellness center in California. 

Why She’s on Our List: Hewitt recently founded The WOW (Women of Wellness) Factor, an online forum that allows females in the chiropractic profession to share health advice with women throughout the community. “The WOW Factor is expanding to do online courses and coaching and connecting women specifically, and its never been done in Chiropractic,” Hewitt says. With some statistics showing that the majority of chiropractic college graduates are women, Hewitt has decided to host a WOW conference on Saturday, Sept. 8, in California, centered completely around women. The conference will host a broad spectrum of female speakers, from chiropractors and nutritionists to pediatricians and OBGYNs.

Her Vision for the Profession: “We’re finding that most of the seminars and most of the information out there is geared toward the male chiropractor,” Hewitt says. “Women are a little different; they have to manage having a family life and a practice. The WOW Factor is really going to be addressing all the differences we have as women in the practice. It’s also my way of starting to help women make an informed choice for health care.”

Kazutoshi Isa  |  Chiba, Japan  |  YIP: 3

His Chiropractic Story: Isa’s interest in health care developed at a young age, when he was swimming at a highly competitive level. After completing his undergraduate degree in kinesiology and athletic training at California State University at Northridge and competing as a collegiate swimmer, Isa decided to further his education and interest in health care by earning a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Cleveland Chiropractic College. In 2005, he became a certified chiropractic sports physician and athletic trainer, and he now practices in his home country of Japan. 

Why He’s on Our List: Isa serves as the Asia representative for the International Federation of Chiropractic Sports (FICS). He is also one of four trainers for Team Tokyo, the national swimming team, and trains junior competitive golfers.

His Vision for the Profession: Isa’s vision for Chiropractic, besides caring for his patients, is to bring sports chiropractic in Japan to a higher level. Because there is no license registration in Japan for Chiropractic, providing care to athletes at events is difficult. “It is very fun to work as a team chiropractor, and I would like to share this good experience with other chiropractors, too,” Isa says. Since currently there is no sports chiropractic certification or diplomatic education in Japan, his No. 1 priority as Asia’s FICS representative is to create an International Chiropractic Sports Science Diploma program. “Having sports chiropractic education, we must work [together] as one,” Isa says. “I have to work as coordinator and mediator to make this happen.”

Brian Lieberman  |  Rome, Ga.  |  YIP: 15 

His Chiropractic Story: Lieberman began going to a chiropractor as a young boy when he was playing football. Upon deciding what profession he wanted to explore, he first thought physical therapy, but then thought of Chiropractic and decided to enroll at Life University. “I didn’t really know what Chiropractic was until I got here and heard Dr. Sid Williams speak two days later,” Lieberman says. “That just floored me, and I was hooked at that point.” Lieberman now operates a family practice in Rome, Ga.

Why He’s on Our List: Lieberman serves on the Georgia Chiropractic Council (GCC) and was named Chiropractor of the Year for 2011 by the GCC. He is spokesman for Principled Chiropractic and a member of the Chiro Band of Brothers. 

His Vision for the Profession: His vision for Chiropractic is that it should remain pure and not therapeutic, meaning Chiropractic should not be a therapy or treatment for a symptom. “It’s supposed to be a system of analyzing, detecting and correcting vertical subluxations to allow for a full expression of the innate intelligence within us,” Lieberman says. “I think we should just be chiropractors. So don’t add in other things with the chiropractic adjustment. Just be experts at what we do and keep it very, very pure.”

Marlene Mahipat  |  Randallstown, Md.  |  YIP: 10

Her Chiropractic Story: The Trinidad native initially moved to the United States with the intention of going to medical school. But after learning more about the chiropractic profession, she decided to pursue it instead. After graduating from Sherman College of Chiropractic, she moved to Maryland to open her own clinic.

Why She’s on Our List: In 2012, she was named a Top 100 Minority Business Entrepreneur Award winner, and in 2011, she received the Maryland Chiropractor of the Year award. When she’s not in her office, she’s devoting her time to charity work. She’s established two foundations: PLEASE (People Letting Every Animal Survive Euthanization) and HOPE (Helping Orphans Prosper Everywhere).

Her Vision for the Profession: Mahipat believes there must be a duality of nature within Chiropractic. “The profession appears to be split,” she says. “When grass is growing in a flower bed, it is called weeds. When this same grass is growing alongside [and separate from] the flower bed, it becomes a beautiful enhancement to this garden. Sometimes separation is necessary in order for things to flourish. Instead of each side of the profession viewing the other as weeds, we should look for the enhancements that each side brings to the profession.” She believes the basic concept of Chiropractic, correcting misalignments, should be the primary goal. “As long as that is done, I think we can make this duality work,” she says.

Steven Shoshany  |  New York  |  YIP: 13

His Chiropractic Story: While tagging along with a friend who was attending school at Life University, Shoshany heard Dr. Sid Williams give a speech on Chiropractic and health, and he received his first adjustment while he was there. “At the time, I was having a lot of abdominal disturbances, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome,” he says. “After those two adjustments while I was [at LIFE], my stomach pain went away.” During this time, he was working in the health care field as an MRI technician and the chiropractic model of health really made sense to him. “It just seemed more of a holistic approach,” he says. Shoshany now practices in Manhattan at NYC Chiropractic and Spinal Decompression Center.

Why He’s on Our List: Shoshany has been featured on “The Today Show,” “Fox News,” “Early” and most recently “Dr. Oz.” He is the only doctor in NYC who holds a patent for spinal decompression—a technology that manages disc irregularities without the use of surgical methods. 

His Vision for the Profession: He wants his patients to learn the relationship between spinal alignment and optimal health. 

April Warhola  |  Atlanta  |  YIP: 3 

Her Chiropractic Story: For Warhola, Chiropractic runs in the family. Her grandfather and two uncles were chiropractors, and her mom worked in her grandfather’s office. “The chiropractic philosophy was really interwoven into our life growing up as kids,” Warhola says. She grew up not being vaccinated or having a pediatrician and received weekly adjustments. “I think it was just so interwoven into me that it was the absolute best way for me to just give it back,” Warhola says. “Give back and keep moving it forward.”

Why She’s on Our List: Warhola has been on two chiropractic mission trips—to the Dominican Republic and Brazil—which she says have changed the way she practices and sees patients in the United States. Her most recent trip to Brazil in 2011 was with Adjust World. She, along with five other chiropractors, adjusted more than 5,000 people in five days. “It healed people,” Warhola says. “It touched their lives. It healed myself. It expands my soul and my consciousness so that I can heal. When I come back, I always feel like I’m serving at a greater level.” Upon her return, Warhola presented a slideshow for the people in her community, and they felt compelled to donate to Adjust World. “I did a free adjusting day at the office to raise money to give back to Adjust World, so that more people can go over there and serve the communities that don’t have Chiropractic,” she says.

Her Vision for the Profession: Her vision is for Chiropractic to stay pure in its message and philosophy “and, at the same, time evolve into a greater and greater source of healing and empowerment for people to learn how to connect with their own beings and really be able to stay in a state of love and presence with one another and with everybody in the world,” she says.