In April 2021, Logan welcomed Elise Hewitt, DC, DICCP, FICC as founding program director for the university’s new Master of Science in Integrative Pediatrics.
After earning her bachelor’s degree from University of Colorado and graduating summa cum laude from Western States Chiropractic College—now University of Western States (UWS)—Dr. Hewitt and her husband Randy Hewitt, DC, CCSP, CSCS opened Portland Chiropractic Group in Portland, Oregon, in 1989. To establish her practice, she provided chiropractic care to patients of all ages wherever and whenever they needed it, but she quickly developed an interest in treating children.
“Moms would call on weekends because their kids needed me, and to my surprise, I was actually excited to drop everything to help them,” Dr. Hewitt said. “That was when I recognized my passion for helping children and decided to dedicate my career to chiropractic pediatrics.”
To advocate for and advance chiropractic care for children, Dr. Hewitt became a founding member of both the Pediatrics Council of the International Chiropractors Association (ICA) and the American Chiropractic Association’s (ACA) Pediatrics Council, where she served as president for 10 years. A member of the NCMIC Speakers Bureau and adjunct faculty member at UWS, she currently teaches chiropractic pediatrics to students and health care professionals around the world. Dr. Hewitt is also on the editorial board for the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, is a peer reviewer for several science journals, and has published numerous scientific papers regarding chiropractic pediatrics.
The Hewitts continue to own and operate Portland Chiropractic Group, where Dr. Hewitt has limited her practice to pediatrics for the past 25 years, specializing in the care of infants and young children. She said demand for chiropractic pediatrics has increased as studies continue to validate its safety and efficacy for managing, correcting and preventing health issues such as colic, nursing difficulties, digestive issues, sleep disturbances and ear infections. Chiropractic in general is also becoming more integrated into a variety of health care settings, giving more children access to DCs.
“When I first wanted to specialize in this area, I was told it wasn’t possible to build a practice on chiropractic pediatrics alone,” Dr. Hewitt said. “But this was a myth. Eventually, we grew to the point where we had to place new patients on a waiting list.”
Dr. Hewitt was named 2019 Pediatric Chiropractor of the Year by the ACA Pediatrics Council. In 2017, she received the Rising Star Award from the American Public Health Association’s Chiropractic Health Care Section and was named Oregon’s 2016 Chiropractor of the Year. In 2008, Dr. Hewitt was elected as a Fellow into the International College of Chiropractors.
“I’m very appreciative of the recognition I’ve received for my work, but that’s not why I do what I do,” Dr. Hewitt said. “I’m passionate about getting children the care they need and motivated by the desire to help one more child be able to nurse, sleep or even just run around on the soccer field because they aren’t in pain anymore.”
Currently in development, Logan’s Master of Science in Integrative Pediatrics will be offered through the university’s College of Health Sciences. Primarily online with two in-person three-day weekend practicums, this two-year degree will be the first of its kind in the United States.
“This degree program is much needed in the chiropractic specialty,” Dr. Hewitt said. “For years we have had quality certification programs in chiropractic pediatrics within our profession, but having a master’s degree brings a higher level of knowledge, skill and expertise that is recognized by health care professionals, governmental bodies and institutions beyond our profession.”
The program will be open to U.S. licensed Doctors of Chiropractic who wish to take their pediatric knowledge and expertise to a higher level. Through an evidence-based curriculum that will include pediatric anatomy and physiology, common and uncommon pediatric health conditions, pediatric nutrition and sports injuries, career opportunities in chiropractic pediatrics, how to safely and effectively deliver manual therapies to children of all ages and more, Dr. Hewitt said students will be prepared to lead a rewarding career in this growing area of chiropractic care.
“Specializing in chiropractic pediatrics gives you the opportunity to make a profound positive impact on the lives of children and their families,” Dr. Hewitt said. “For instance, if you are able to provide the chiropractic care that improves a baby’s ability to nurse, you have changed the trajectory of her life, and thereby the lives of the whole family. Now, this baby will be able to get the nutrition she needs and can bond with her mother, giving her the building blocks for a healthy life. I can’t think of anything more gratifying.”