When Bethany Dixon, DC, RD, LDN, CME, graduated from the NUHS Florida-site in 2014, she was able to take advantage of a new federal law that eventually helped her launch a whole new business venture.
The new law required U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)-mandated physicals to be performed only by physicians who completed examinations certified and registered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
“I was excited that chiropractors were approved to gain this certification,” she said.
Because her father was a commercial truck driver and crane operator, she grew up with people in the industry and had a number of contacts. All she needed to do was complete the course and examination requirement.
“During this time, I called my contacts in the industry and offered onsite DOT exams and that is how Drivers Health Clinic began,” she said.
The clinic has been steadily growing ever since. After opening two Florida clinics in Wildwood and Reddick in the last four years, Dr. Dixon is set to open her third Florida clinic in south Jacksonville in May. She’s also in talks with doctors to open more Drivers Health Clinics locations throughout the country.
Right from the start, Dr. Dixon was able to recognize just how valuable chiropractic care is for truck drivers. The most common ailments she treats include low back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain. Although drivers sit all day, they can have repetitive motion injuries, as well.
“The nature of their job puts their body under constant physical stress and we are the perfect pairing for them,” Dr. Dixon said.
Since truck drivers are generally unable to take pain killers for back pain, chiropractic medicine is an effective more natural alternative. In addition to performing physicals and adjustments, Dr. Dixon also counsels her patients on diet and nutrition. Before becoming a DC, she spent several years as a registered dietitian for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. However, Dr. Dixon was eager to do something different that was more niche. Like veterans, Dr. Dixon said truck drivers are a unique patient population who also sacrifice time with their families to provide the country with everything they need. Because the trucking industry is so large, she’s never been worried about having too small a patient base.
“Chiropractic is very popular with the drivers,” she said. “Having somewhere to go for them to be taken care of is very much appreciated by this population. They often feel forgotten and they become very loyal to you as a provider once they know you care.”
Dr. Dixon credits National University for giving her the tools she needed to compete with other doctors in the industry. “National University gave me the confidence and the edge that allowed me to branch out into this field,” she said.
As she continues to grow the Drivers Health Clinic, she encourages students interested in this kind of specialized work to reach out to her via the website for possible opportunities.
“Occupation health is also preventative health care,” she said. “Helping people change and prevent injury and disease is the goal.”
Those interested in becoming a DOT-certified medical examiner can complete the online course and exam available through National University’s Postgraduate Department. For more information, visit the NUHS website.