Shaping Bright Minds: Past, Present and Future
Twenty years of academic excellence and innovation position Logan for long-term success
A lot has changed at Logan in the past 20 years. Yesterday’s incoming classes of students are now seasoned chiropractic doctors, caring for patients throughout the country and world. Experienced faculty members have retired after decades of preparing students to practice chiropractic, while new instructors have embarked on careers shaping the next generation. New degree programs are available, giving Logan students more options in how to learn and train for helping patients. And new facilities are in place, expanding the opportunities and space available to Logan students and faculty as we work together to establish the new state of the art in chiropractic education. In many ways, the people, programs and even the physical infrastructure of Logan are radically different than they were 20 years ago.
But one thing has not changed at Logan: the constant pursuit of excellence in chiropractic education. The Logan community—including faculty, students, alumni and leadership—has worked tirelessly to move Logan forward by expanding educational opportunities, providing service to the community and building the chiropractic discipline through research and study. This passion for moving chiropractic education forward has resulted in innumerable advancements at Logan over the past few years. It is worth taking a moment to reflect on the positive changes at Logan during the past several years, and to think about how Logan can continue to be a leader in the field of chiropractic for years to come.
Since its founding in 1935, Logan College of Chiropractic has been a leader in chiropractic education. The past two decades have been particularly pivotal for the college, as Logan has significantly enriched its course offerings and facilities while expanding access to chiropractic education. These enhancements have positioned Logan and its students for an enduring and bright future.
“Logan has built an impressive foundation that will enable Logan, its faculty and students to contribute to the chiropractic field for decades,” said Dr. J. Clay McDonald, Logan’s new president.
New tools and technology keep Logan on the cutting edge
The past two decades at Logan have been characterized by a marked increase in students’ access to state-of-the-art learning tools and facilities. Just in the mid-1990s, Logan received substantial equipment donations, including leading-edge machines and systems such as:
- An Automatic Exposure Control device, which reduces radiation exposure from x-ray machines
- Diagnostic ultrasound machines
- Adjusting therapy tables
- A Polar-Iris phase contrast microscope that can be connected to a monitor and better detect significant specimen features
Many of these devices, the most advanced at the time, were the same models being used at hospitals or other clinical settings, allowing students to learn on the same machines they would someday use in their careers. In 2012, Logan introduced the METIman human simulator to the classroom, which allows students to use real-world diagnostic methods in realistic—but simulated—patient scenarios. Computer-programmable to exhibit various patient conditions, METIman responds to student actions verbally and physiologically, and helps them develop a comprehensive and integrated understanding of patient care. This sophisticated simulation tool gives Logan students the opportunity to diagnose and respond to conditions such as trauma or tumors, which they may not otherwise encounter during their clinic rotations but may need to address during their careers. METIman also allows students to develop and refine their communication skills and bedside manner, gaining “patient experience” far earlier in their education than traditionally possible.
Logan has also upgraded its facilities to better foster high-quality education. Most recently, in 2012, the school added a $4.9 million, 13,000-square-foot educational wing. This facility features a smart classroom equipped with the latest learning technologies, as well as what many consider the building’s jewel: the Assessment Center.
The Assessment Center houses eight exam rooms that simulate real-world settings where students can “treat” people simulating various symptoms, such as lower-back pain. The exam rooms, in turn, surround a central viewing area where faculty use audio and video technology to monitor and evaluate students’ clinical examinations (their adjusting techniques, for example) and communication abilities without disrupting patient interaction. In this interactive learning environment, students gain early experience in clinical observation by developing in-depth knowledge of body mechanics and chiropractic techniques while fine-tuning their diagnostic and communications skills.
Cutting-edge technology also powers the virtual pre-and post-encounter stations. At pre-encounter stations, students read about their assigned patients and their symptoms and receive the exam room number. After examining the patient, students visit post-encounter stations where they record their diagnosis, write patient notes and reports and, when necessary, draft letters for referring doctors. Student entries made at post-encounter stations prompt questions about the diagnosis, requiring students to share and support their rationale.
Many of the changes at Logan in the past 20 years have been driven by the core philosophy that direct experience is an invaluable teaching tool. As a result of these changes, Logan students are able to enjoy myriad opportunities to put their classroom knowledge to the test in real-world settings.
Logan’s mobile unit, acquired in 2007, provides a way for students to visit local sporting events to treat athletes on site. Students also take the mobile unit to local schools to evaluate student athletes, and help coaches tailor fitness and strength-training regimens. The mobile unit gives students a unique learning experience while allowing them to provide a valuable service to field doctors, athletic trainers and high school coaches who otherwise would not have had access to such programs.
In 2010, Logan initiated its Community-Based Internship Program, which allows students to apply internship credits toward graduation. Also in 2010, Logan partnered with the 375th Medical Group at Scott Air Force Base, which gave clinical students a chance to work directly with the active military population. Today, this unique program continues to address the specialized chiropractic care needs of enlisted personnel, and helps them perform their military duties.
To increase internship opportunities, Logan partnered with CHIPS (formerly Community Health-In-Partnership Services) in 2011. CHIPS operates a free clinic that serves low-income communities in the St. Louis area. Through this program, Logan students can apply for internships with the CHIPS community health center in north St. Louis to provide chiropractic care to uninsured and underinsured individuals, helping to meet unmet health needs. Many of the individuals served through the CHIPS program work, but do not qualify for Medicaid and cannot afford private health insurance; therefore, the free care provided by Logan students helps fill a critical gap.
Logan’s partnership with CHIPS also lets students work alongside doctors, physical therapists and students from area medical schools such as Washington University. Sharing and discussing case files and learning how to coordinate with other health care providers prepares Logan students to be members of the broader health care community; and it benefits their patients who receive a more comprehensive approach to managing their health care needs.
Learning from the best minds
None of Logan’s educational achievements in the past 20 years would have been possible without its top-notch faculty.
The value Logan faculty members have brought to students, the college and the broader chiropractic field is found partly in their notable professional achievements and diverse backgrounds. They hail from countries such as France and China, and they have expanded access to chiropractic education in places as far away as Spain and Japan. In 2003, Logan Basic Technique was taught to Japanese doctors, including trained acupuncturists and bonesetters, over an eight-day period in Osaka, Japan.
More recently in 2012, students at Real Centro Universitario (RCU) Escorial Maria Cristina in Madrid, Spain, participated in a fundamentals of chiropractic radiology course taught by a visiting Logan professor who is also a chiropractic board-certified radiologist. In the past, RCU did not have access to the knowledge and skills of this type of doctor. The series of three-week long lecture sessions were the offspring of a partnership between Logan and RCU.
A well-rounded education
Logan faculty members continually strive to evolve and refine their teaching methods and course offerings, and the result has been a student body consistently well-versed in the latest and most effective treatment protocols and techniques.
In 1992, Logan reshaped its basic science curriculum to expose students to spinal anatomy labs and adjusting and palpation materials earlier in their course of education. This has helped students establish stronger foundational knowledge that supports future coursework. Since 1995, students have been able to select from nine elective techniques, including applied kinesiology. Logan’s core curriculum evolved with chiropractic adjusting techniques to ensure it reflected current chiropractic practices. Students have also had foreign study opportunities in destinations such as Ecuador.
To ensure students obtain the necessary chiropractic grounding, Logan created a peer-to-peer academic support program that offers free individual and group tutoring, pairing top, faculty-recommended students with those seeking academic support. The initiative has proven popular, with more than 14,500 tutoring hours provided to 520 Logan students during a one-year period alone.
Preparing for the full spectrum of practice
Logan and its faculty work hard to empower students with the non-clinical tools and knowledge necessary for future success, whether that means someday running their own practices, conducting research or teaching others.
Strong financial management abilities, for example, are a critical part of running a chiropractic practice. Recognizing the importance of these skills for its students, Logan hosted a five-part seminar series on financial planning in the 1990s. Students learned firsthand from St. Louis-area practitioners and financial experts strategies for paying off student loans while launching a practice, business planning methods and actions they could take immediately to ensure a solid financial future. Logan’s financial education efforts have paid off—literally. The college has a student loan default rate of less than 2 percent, far below the national average for private non-profit institutions of 7.5 percent.
Sound communication skills are another key ingredient for professional chiropractic success. To help equip students with the verbal communication abilities necessary for their internships and effective patient interactions, Logan introduced communications workshops that include role playing and presentations to community organizations in 1995.
Expanding access to chiropractic education
In the past two decades, Logan has made great strides in expanding access to a chiropractic education beyond its campus. In 1997, the school hosted the first-ever chiropractic radiology “cybercast” (similar to a webinar) to participants throughout the country. This session, which focused on future applications for computer diagnostic imaging, was conducted from a Logan smart classroom equipped with leading-edge teaching technologies and what was, at the time, unprecedented Internet access to dozens of diagnostic images, case studies, case discussions, X-rays and MRI films. These materials continue to serve as invaluable teaching tools today. And, just a year after the initial cybercast, Logan announced the creation of two new smart classrooms.
By 2005, the cybercast and smart classrooms had paved the way for distance learning initiatives at Logan that enabled the college to expand access to its core curriculum for national and international audiences. As a result of these early endeavors in remote learning, Logan can now offer its Master of Science Degree in Nutrition and Human Performance both online and on campus.
Logan has also expanded access to chiropractic education by partnering with other universities. In 1995, Logan and St. Louis Community College united to offer courses for community college students to meet the Associate of Science degree requirements for pre-chiropractic studies. These students could then apply to transfer to Logan and work toward their Bachelor of Science degree. One year later, Logan established a partnership with New College of California to assist students in meeting prerequisite requirements by offering required science courses on an accelerated schedule.
Currently, accelerated course offerings are available at Logan through the college’s undergraduate Accelerated Science Program. This program makes it possible for students to fulfill their Bachelor of Science degree requirements and start on their doctoral program requirements all under Logan’s roof.
Keeping pace with the changing chiropractic field
College faculty and administrators have worked diligently to ensure the school’s curriculum keeps pace with the changing chiropractic field. In 1993 Logan began offering alumni classes necessary for obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree, further rounding out their knowledge, experience and credentials. And one year later, Logan began a partnership with New College of California to offer required science courses on an accelerated schedule.
When national chiropractic admission requirements changed in 2001 to require that students complete an additional 30 credit hours, Logan sought to assist students who fell short of the requirement by adding courses in mathematics, social sciences and humanities to its undergraduate curriculum.
Beyond assisting students in meeting degree requirements, Logan has continually upgraded its course offerings to include specialized areas of chiropractic practice, including incorporating geriatric treatment information into course offerings (work supported by a grant from the Missouri Gateway Geriatric Education Center in 1997) and, more recently, creating the Sports Science and Rehabilitation master’s degree program in 2006.
Chiropractic field contributions
Logan has contributed to advancing the chiropractic field as a whole through research, collaborations and clinical studies—activities largely made possible through grants and partnerships with other institutions.
Many of these efforts have revealed new data to support chiropractic treatment of a variety of conditions such as studies on relieving lower-back, neck and head pain; and new conservative treatments for carpel tunnel syndrome.
Other Logan research studies have focused on the link between acupuncture and pain processing, the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment on lower-back pain and balance among geriatric patients, and the relationship between nutritional supplements and chiropractic intervention for ankle sprain patients.
What’s next for Logan?
Today, Logan continues to identify ways to enhance its core and specialized educational programs and is always looking forward. Given how far Logan has come in the past 20 years, there is no telling how Logan will strengthen chiropractic education during the next 20 years.