National University DC graduate, Dr. Aaron Popp ('09), shows that joining with another established chiropractic physician, either as an associate or a partner, can often be an excellent path to success.
As a DC student, Aaron spent part of his internship in the NUHS Whole Health Center in Aurora, and also worked with Arlyn Jacobus, DC, PhD, LAc, in Crown Point, Indiana. After Aaron graduated, he and Dr. Jacobus ended up opening a new business together in a brand new facility. Together, they invested in a building that also housed other specialists, including osteopaths, MDs, surgeons, and physical therapists. It also boasts a complete laboratory.
The practice soon grew and Dr. Aaron Popp was able to bring over his father, Jeremy Popp, DC, who sold his south suburban Chicago practice to move to Crown Point and practice with his son. They are now in the process of building out a bigger space within the facility to be completed early this year. They also just recently hired another NUHS DC grad, a good friend from Dr. Popp's graduating class, Dr. Matt Sherwood ('09).
Dr. Jeremy Popp, Dr. Aaron Popp ('09), Dr. Matt Sherwood ('09)
"Our practice has grown more than I would have ever imagined since the time I started," says Dr. Aaron Popp. "Each year we've almost doubled." He estimates that their group sees between 50-70 patients each day.
Dr. Popp credits his success to a tremendous education, and to the ability to network and co-manage cases with physicians from other specialties. He also states that his internship at the NUHS Aurora Whole Health Center, with Dr. Nick Chancellor, taught him several "grass roots marketing techniques".
"I try and find the best practitioners in other fields and refer to them when I need to. In some cases, those individuals may not support chiropractic medicine. For example, I found a great physical therapist in town and began referring to her. She would tell her patients she didn't believe in chiropractic care. My patients would report this back to me. I'd tell them, 'I'm not referring you because of her beliefs, I'm referring you to her because she's a good PT,'" he says. "And do you know what? It wasn't long before that same physical therapist started referring clients to me! She now sends me about 2-4 patients a week."
What's Dr. Popp's advice to those considering or just starting a career in chiropractic medicine? "There are a lot of doors opening for us. You don't have to focus on just manual manipulation, though it is one of the most powerful tools in our toolbox. You can specialize in rehab, nutrition or pediatrics. More people are seeking chiropractic physicians for different reasons, so specialization will increase."
He has no fear of upcoming changes in health care policies. "We have no idea where health care is going, but the trend is going toward alternative care no matter what, because it works" he says.
Dr. Popp advises current NUHS DC students to take advantage of the many extra post-graduate seminars offered on campus while they have a discount. "Attending Dr. David Seaman's seminar on nutrition during my first year at NUHS is what ultimately led me to pursue a master of science degree in human nutrition later."
His advice for new grads starting a practice is "Work hard and stick to your roots - what you learned at National. Eventually things unfold. It's not easy. Even now, it's difficult for me in new ways. In the beginning it's hard because there's nobody coming in. Later it's hard because you're trying to keep up with the growth."
Dr. Popp is another example of a recent graduate who has built a successful career in chiropractic medicine. In his case, he succeeded quickly by working with an established DC physician, and applying the business principles he learned in the DC program at NUHS.