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Dr. Karen Erickson: Pioneering Pediatric Chiropractic Integration and Education

Karen Erickson, DC, FACC has been in practice for more than 30 years. One of her dreams at the beginning of her career was to see chiropractic integrated into a medical care team. She was able to not only watch it come true, but also contribute to the endeavor.

“More than 20 years ago, I was invited to join an integrated practice in New York City, and it was the first chiropractic credentialed teaching hospital in the country: the Center for Health and Healing at Beth Israel Medical Center,” she said. “This hospital played a historic role in integrating chiropractic into the mainstream at a teaching hospital. We did mini grand rounds with medical doctors and other health care practitioners, such as internists, pediatricians, acupuncturists and massage therapists. We had the opportunity to educate a whole class of providers about chiropractic and the benefits for patients.”

As a family practitioner, Dr. Erickson has worked with many children and quickly saw the benefits of chiropractic for pediatric patients as well. “Not only could we help children with musculoskeletal issues, but we realized some of our treatment could help their entire nervous and organ systems work better,” she said.

It was rewarding to see the progress in children as she treated newborns with difficult births, babies struggling to latch and nurse, and conditions such as torticollis and flat craniums. She worked closely with obstetricians and pediatricians as well as doulas and lactation specialists on referrals for pediatric patients.

Originally from New York City, Dr. Erickson now lives in New Jersey but still practices in the city. She attended Northeast College of Health Sciences where she earned her Doctor of Chiropractic degree in 1988 and went straight into practicing. She is an American College of Chiropractic fellow and a spokeswoman for the American Chiropractic Association.

When Logan University began the Master of Science in Chiropractic Pediatrics (MS-CP) program, Dr. Erickson was asked to teach courses in craniosacral therapy for pediatrics, which she believes is very effective in children. “Craniosacral therapy is extremely gentle, uses low pressure and is very relaxing for babies and children,” she said. “It can help with a wide range of issues such as colic, reflux and nursing difficulties. For older children, it can help with postural problems, respiratory issues and recovery from injuries.”

Incorporating these types of courses into the curriculum is just one thing that sets Logan’s MS-CP apart. This program is offered online, allowing for maximum flexibility for students, but also includes a hands-on portion on campus for technique courses. “Up until this degree, there were no master-level programs in pediatric chiropractic, and this is an important step in this specialization,” said Dr. Erickson. “A big part of the community benefits from chiropractic care, and this degree makes specialized chiropractors stand out.”