Carter West, a new chiropractic student at National University’s Florida-site, will be the fifth generation of his family to enter the field of chiropractic medicine. His family has had successful careers in chiropractic medicine since his great-great-grandfather graduated from National in 1916. Each generation has practiced in Idaho ever since.
“I’m excited to join the family practice in Idaho after I complete my education ,” he said. “It’s like passing the torch.”
The philosophy of the West Clinic is to help people using chiropractic adjustments, physiologic therapeutics, and clinical nutritional methods. At the family practice, they believe in treating the patient as a person and not a disease.
“The people that we have helped, whose health we have restored, are part of our story,” he said.
In 1916, his great-great-grandfather, Alfred West, first started the practice in a little railroad town in Idaho. He became quite well-known for treating railroad spine, a condition that involves organic pathology and inflammation of the spinal cord without fractures. Although train technology has since improved, this happened when the trains were rammed together for coupling mechanisms and the engineers and conductors would experience whiplash-type injuries. The Union Pacific Railroad used to send engineers, conductors, and executives from all over the United States to his office.
His son, Henry Sr., ‘33, joined the practice and was also successful. He became a board member of the National Chiropractic Association and was instrumental in the development of Chiropractic National Standards, the forerunner of the National Boards. He expanded the practice with diversified and sacral-occipatal technique (SOT), and incorporated a wide variety of physiologic therapeutics such as UV light, diathermy, iontophoresis, and long-wave ultrasound.
He then passed the practice on to Carter’s grandfather, Henry Jr., a 1960 Western States graduate and American Chiropractic Association president (1976-1980.) Eventually, he passed the practice to Carter’s father, Jason, a 2000 Southern California University of Health Sciences graduate, who currently treats a wide variety of arthritis, auto-immune, Lyme disease, and peripheral neuropathy.
In his career, Carter plans to continue his family’s legacy of work at the West Clinic in Idaho. However, he also plans to pursue a naturopathic medicine (ND) degree at NUHS’ Illinois campus.
“I was drawn to NUHS because of the dual doctorate DC/ND pathway,” he said. “Both ND and DC degrees will make me that much better of a provider in my home state of Idaho.”
Despite his father encouraging him to pursue other health care fields including dentistry, allopathy, or osteopathy, he kept coming back to his roots.
“I have seen my family help so many people with chronic, complex and unresolved health problems. Once you see someone being helped with adjustments, therapy, and nutrition, it’s hard to not want to be a part of it. So, when you have the opportunity to help people and support yourself and family, it’s like a magnet. You just become attached to chiropractic medicine,” he said.