Alumna to discuss chiropractic career
After she graduated from MCLA in 2009 with her Bachelor of Science degree in biology, Dr. Victoria Welch headed to New York Chiropractic College, where she was selected for an internship at the nation's largest military teaching hospital - Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
Now a chiropractor at Chittenden County Chiropractic in Vermont, she'll return to MCLA on Thursday, April 17, to give the keynote address at MCLA's Annual Undergraduate Research Conference.
Welch, who will speak to faculty, presenters and their guests at 12:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Gym, will talk about her MCLA experience and how the College's small class sizes and her professors' attention to detail pushed her to become a strong student and doctor.
She'll also discuss her work with graduate research and her internship at Walter Reed, where she cared for wounded warriors and active duty military members.
A chiropractic patient since she was 2, Welch decided to become a chiropractor at age 10.
"I have always been good with my hands and spatial relationships, and this career path has just seemed natural," she said.
Working with patients who range in age from just a few weeks old to those well into their 70s, she provides evidence-based care that integrates allopathic medicine when deemed necessary for the patients' most complete recovery.
"Athletes and pregnant women are the majority of our practice," Welch said. "I have taken continuing education to specialize in the care of women during their pregnancies and returning their bodies to a post-partum 'normal.' We also advocate maintenance care for the spine as it is stressed by everyday activities. Occasionally we find ourselves working with patients who have 'tried it all,' and this was their last chance before surgery."
Welch continues to learn at Fletcher Allen Health Center, where she furthers her knowledge in the Spinal Orthopedics, Neuro-Radiology, Neurosurgery, and Obstetrics departments as she shadows several practitioners to establish a referral network.
"We refer to allopathic providers, and seeing the way they interact with their patients lets me know who would be the best fit," she explained. "The success of a doctor-patient relationship is not only about the best treatments according to research, but meeting a patient where they are and bringing them closer to their optimum.
"I sit in on MRI reading with neuro-radiologists. I act as a conservative care consultant with the spine department at the orthopedics center. And, I attend surgeries to better explain to my patients what the road ahead looks like if they are surgical candidates," she added.
According to Welch, MCLA's small class sizes required her to know the information her professors presented. "I was not given a lot of multiple 'guess' tests, which created a true understanding of the material presented."
Although she lived off campus and worked full time as a massage therapist while she was a student, Welch said she never felt like an outsider at MCLA.
"I was always welcomed by resident students and made some very good friendships during my four years. I enjoyed the open door policy and true respect my professors showed for my education and future.
"My education never felt like work," she continued. "It was some of the best times I've ever had, with like-minded individuals."
For more information about MCLA's Undergraduate Research Conference, go to www.mcla.edu/Undergraduate/Experience/undergraduateresearch/conference.