Why I Went into the Healthcare Field: One Chiropractor's Story
Dr. Michael Penkin, Pinnacle Hill Chiropractic Clinic, Northeast '13 Grad
Dr. Michael Penkin is many things: A professional bodybuilder, electrical engineer, competitive powerlifter, and former helicopter sales agent. As the owner of Pinnacle Hill Chiropractic Clinic in Rochester, NY, he adds Doctor of Chiropractic and Northeast graduate to his resume.
Dr. Penkin's path into the healthcare field was unorthodox. After graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering, he worked for Lockheed Martin in the foreign military sales department of naval helicopters. So what made him leave his high-paying engineering career to pursue life as a chiropractor?
I hated my job. Now I love my job. Life doesn't need to be complicated.
An Unconventional Path
As an athlete, Dr. Penkin had been in and out of chiropractic clinics for most of his youth. He suffered a back injury while an engineer, and sought care that was familiar to him. It was then that he realized his true passion for chiropractic care.
"The big realization was I wanted to be able to provide the level of care I had received, as a football player and an athlete," said Dr. Penkin. "That was the trigger that really gave me that push to change careers and pursue a chiropractic career."
I sat in a cube for 40 to 50 hours a week, missing the light of day, feeling trapped in a cube farm.
Life at Northeast
Dr. Penkin chose to attend Northeast to give him the skills and education needed to become a chiropractor. He excelled in the Northeast classroom, working diligently in the student life and admissions offices, and as a student technique tutor.
"Coming from a completely different background of electrical engineering and having a science background, I was very interested in the scientific and research aspects of chiropractic care," said Dr. Penkin. "Being evidence-and informed-based was important to me, and learning the science behind chiropractic care was something that really struck a chord with me."
Dr. Penkin's time at Northeast wasn't just spent in the classroom. His passion for athletics remained in the forefront. He became a natural professional bodybuilder with the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF) after winning the 2010 INBF Amateur World Heavyweight Class.
Owning a Business
When Dr. Penkin graduated, he went straight into owning his own clinic — a challenging proposition for a new graduate.
"I didn't shadow a mentor, and that made it much tougher. My advice for anyone with an eye towards owning their own chiropractic clinic in the future: Shadow a mentor and learn everything you can about owning your own business."
Now 6 years since opening his clinic with his wife, also a chiropractor, Dr. Penkin gets to see his hard work pay off.
"It's great to have people come back and tell me they feel better, and show me how they can do certain stretches or movements they couldn't do before. The goal is to help people and notice positive changes. It's super rewarding."
Focus for Today, Learn for Tomorrow
Focus on today and learn for tomorrow is a mantra that rings true for Dr. Penkin and the entire healthcare field.
"Change and evolution are part of the healthcare industry. Patient care is always evolving, not only for doctors like myself, but for patients who have yet to seek out chiropractic care."
Advice for Prospective Students: 'Follow what you love to do, not what you think you're good at.'