Going into my senior year as a pre-med student at Southern Connecticut State University, I was suffering from severe head pain. My nutrition professor sent me to see a chiropractor, who sent me to Yale-New Haven Hospital to be treated for meningitis.
After recovering from such a serious condition, I decided to go back to that chiropractic office to do my internship on my way to degrees in public health and nutrition while preparing for my MCATs.
That experience opened my eyes and allowed me to see the kind of doctor I wanted to become.
I didn’t want to work in a hospital, and I didn’t want to prescribe medication for the rest of my life. In other words, I didn’t want to be a traditional, specialized doctor who focused on disease management and treating symptoms, believed the body and mind are separate, and remained emotionally detached from his patients.
I wanted to be a doctor who treated the patient as a whole, based on a true understanding of the connection between body and mind. I wanted to help people live healthier lifestyles by focusing on diet, lifestyle and preventive measures instead of simply treating disease. I wanted to be a partner in the healing process, providing not only medical treatment, but the genuine care and empathy that’s critical to physical and emotional healing.
So I went off to chiropractic school knowing only that one chiropractor from my internship, Dr. Michael Cocco. I went to the same school as he did – New York Chiropractic College. It’s hard to believe that I graduated 20 years ago this week.
Even after graduating from chiropractic school with a background in public health and nutrition, I still wasn’t sure how my career or practice would evolve. I had that notebook doodle of the type of facility I wanted to build – a large building with lots of windows, preferably near the ocean, where I could offer the kind of comprehensive care that would make it a true health and wellness facility.
Looking back on 20 years spent taking risks, spending money, working for other people, launching Natural Healthcare Center, educating audiences in the thousands, having a radio show and having five children, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life. With your support, I’ve been able to remain true to my core values, never letting insurance carriers or finances dictate or change how I deliver patient care.
I understand that every time you walk into a doctor’s office, you’re putting supreme trust in the doctor, and I thank you for trusting me with your health and well-being. Outside of my relationship with God and my wife and kids, there is nothing more important to me on this planet than my patients and audience.
This 20-year road has been constantly evolving, and I’m nowhere near being done. I’m always in school, always learning. Healthcare and medicine are changing so rapidly right now as the national movement towards true healthcare and away from sick care is being embraced by more and more people. I’m excited to be part of that movement, and I’m determined to help as many people as possible ride this wave and take back their health.
Again, I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to be part of your lives for 20 great years as a Doctor of Chiropractic and Health Educator. A special thank you to my mom for the loans and never-ending support, and to my wife, Stacy, for being everything to me and so much more than anyone could ask for. I look forward to making 2014 the best year yet!