Saying Goodbye to Salvy

To those of you who have followed my blogs over the past year, you've heard all about my experience at the Salvation Army clinic. What began as an ambitious decision to move to Chicago for my last year of school transformed into one of the best decisions I've ever made.

View of Chicago taken from Lake Michigan

Living by myself in a big neighborhood taught me so much about myself, everything from identifying my living habits to realizing how much I love the energy of the city. I had the opportunity to work with patients I never would have imagined treating: People suffering from addiction, depression, challenging upbringings, and people who just wanted to live a better life. My patients taught me about patience, about humility, and most importantly, about perseverance. Working with these people was such a rewarding experience, and I learned so much along the way. Thank you to all of those who allowed me into their lives to connect and grow with over the past year.

Shehab, me and Johnny being inducted into the "Salvy Wall of Fame"

It was difficult saying goodbye to my fellow interns. Shehab, Johnny and I became very close over the past 11 months, and I am so excited to stand by these gentlemen at graduation and watch them change the world.

Student housing at the VA hospital

As I write this blog, I find myself sitting at my quaint little desk that faces a westward window in my room in Danville, Illinois. I'm watching the sun set on a beautiful November afternoon, gazing at the beautiful leaves changing color outside my window, and I am eager to begin working with the veterans here at the VA hospital. I have no doubt that the next four weeks will be challenging -- but also rewarding -- as I spend time with men and women who have served our country.

Until next time!

The End is Near

I hope everyone enjoyed learning about Johnny and Shehab in the Salvy Series the past two weeks! In the chiropractic profession, it's important to appreciate all of the different backgrounds students come from and focuses we have while going through school. I look forward to sharing my own Salvy Series blog closer to December!

View from the Salvation Army clinic on a beautiful October morning

The past few weeks of clinic, I have been passing off my patients to 8th and 9th trimester interns who are eager to get more hands-on with patient care! I've been keeping myself busy studying for Part 4 board exams in mid-November, working on my Illinois state license application, and studying material for my Nutrition and Functional Medicine courses that I'm currently enrolled in. With the University of Western States program, I am learning about gastrointestinal and immune system imbalances, classes that I find both incredibly fascinating and invaluable. We have always been taught in school that food itself is NOT medicine, yet eating a properly-balanced diet and incorporating a wide variety of nutritious foods can have a life-changing impact on your health! Making these lifestyle changes can be a challenge, so I'm enjoying using myself and my friends and family as guinea pigs before I'm in clinical practice!

View from the rooftop of my new apartment in Lakeview overlooking the city

For the month of November, I will be interning with Dr. Donald Owens (a 1992 National University grad) at the Illiana VA hospital in Danville, Illinois. I'll be moving down Sunday afternoon and preparing for my 4-week experience working with veterans. Fortunately, there is housing provided for me while I am participating in the internship, and I plan on returning on the weekends to Chicago for seminars, Part 4 boards, and the Thanksgiving holiday. November is already booked up, and before I know it, December will be here. Woah, time has flown! I think it's safe to say our entire class is eager for Week 15 to arrive! #DecemberDocs

I look forward to sharing my experiences with you from Danville, Illinois! :)

Salvy Series - Part 2

Hello everyone, we've made it to Week 7! Please welcome to the stage...


10th Tri Intern: Shehab Awadallah

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Specializations: Acupuncture Certified

What are your plans after graduation?

My plans after graduation include working as an associate for a couple years to gain more experience in the chiropractic field and seeking further education with completion of the DABCI program offered by National University. After this I plan on opening my own practice.

What is your favorite memory/most memorable experience at Salvation Army?

My favorite memories at Salvation Army include the wide interactions with the patients and their outstanding personalities. Each person came in with their stories of achievements and hardships growing up and how they are still pushing to get through life with optimism. 

What words of advice would you give to incoming chiropractic students/those interested in chiropractic?

My advice for future chiropractic students is that you pick one of the many certificates/programs offered at National that you have a passion for and make it your specialty.

Salvy Series

Welcome back to The Salvy Series! As I did last trimester, I want to interview our 10thtrimester interns and give our readers the opportunity to hear from other chiropractic students! :) Let's welcome to the stage... 


Intern: Johnny Buoniconti

Hometown: River Grove, IL


  • Active Release Technique (ART)
    - Upper Extremity
    - Lower Extremity
    - Spine
  • Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Level I
  • Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES)
  • Rock Tape
    - Fascial Movement Taping I/II

What are your graduation plans?

I plan on working as an associate for a private practice that integrates chiropractic, sports medicine, and rehabilitation. My focus is on diagnosing and treating neuromusculoskeletal diseases. I have a huge passion for sports rehabilitation, so I see myself treating a variety of athletes, weekend warriors, and the average Joe. 

What is your favorite memory/most memorable experience at Salvation Army?

Spartan Crepe or Spicy Chicken Wrap from Iguana Café, hands down. Just kidding. If I had to repeat the clinic selection process over 5 times, I would have made the same decision every time. Salvation Army has been a challenging, yet rewarding and humbling experience for me. We have a tight knit group of interns over here that work together like a family. It is a truly great experience.

What advice would you give to incoming chiropractic students/those interested in chiropractic?

Before you make the decision to come to school, spend as much time as possible shadowing different DCs in the area you live. We are in a profession where life after school sometimes surprises new graduates. Get into as many offices as you can to see what we actually do on a daily basis with patients and don't be afraid to ask questions. The curriculum is grueling and stressful and at times you may feel like throwing in the towel. You are not alone, because everyone else is going through the same thing. Surround yourself with like-minded people who are positive and you will get through it if you put the effort in.

Leadership Conference 2015

Over the weekend, a handful of chiropractic students from National attended the 12th Annual Leadership Conference, held in Des Moines, Iowa. Every fall, the Student American Chiropractic Association (SACA) hosts the LC in an effort to prepare our nation's students to serve as future leaders in our profession. In the winter, SACA travels to Washington, DC, for the National Chiropractic Leadership Conference (NCLC), which is meant to be a weekend of preparation and inspiration for our students.

National students with our very own Dr. Derek Dyer and Dr. Tony Hamm, ACA president

The LC was sponsored by tremendous companies such as NCMIC, Standard Process, Foot Levelers, and Cleveland Chiropractic College. It was so inspiring to hear from famous doctors in chiropractic like Dr. Tony Hamm, Dr. Carl Cleveland, and Dr. Louis Sportelli, among many others. As a student, our dreams are so big and our path to private practice seems so long. However, when listening to these speakers and representatives from successful companies, I feel so inspired to stand up and be a future leader in our profession.

Lucky me, I got to converse with some chiropractic VIPs!

We discussed how chiropractic has conquered adversity over the past 120 years, how we can propel our profession into the realm of mainstream healthcare, and how to put out leadership into motion! It was a special opportunity to connect with doctors who are leaders in the field, but also with students from other schools who are leaders at their own campuses.

Peyton (from Texas Chiropractic College), Ryan, and Dustin wearing our new NCMIC t-shirts

A huge "Thank You" to everyone with the ACA, SACA chapters, and sponsoring companies who made the weekend such an amazing success! :)