Fueled by Evidence-based Education, Student Transitions from Massage Therapy to Chiropractic
For Alex Curran, it was an easy decision to attend Northeast. At Pinnacle Hill Chiropractic, where he currently works as a massage therapist, every doctor on staff is a graduate of the College. "Knowing something about the place, and the sort of students who come out of it, it was the only one I applied to," he says.
Curran, who will graduate with his doctor of chiropractic degree in 2023, was encouraged by the owners of the practice, Dr. Sarah Tirimacco (D.C. '14) and Dr. Michael Penkin (D.C. '13) to apply to Northeast. Both appreciate Curran's dedication and expertise, and knew he would excel in the College's classrooms, labs and clinics.
As a massage therapist, Curran works with patients who are pre- or post-surgery, and who are often athletes, although he says most of his patients are "people who are determined to move better." As a therapist, he believes the most important thing he has to offer patients is his belief that "I care as much about what you want to do as you do -- so I'm going to support you and your goals."
In addition to his coursework at the College and his busy workload, Curran is the pole vault coach for SUNY Brockport, and he runs his own private pole vault club, Next Step Vault Club, with a facility in Rochester and year-round training schedule. "We teach athletes how to move well," he says.
Quick Questions with Doctor of Chiropractic Student Alex Curran
Who are some of your favorite professors at Northeast?
I can narrow it down to three. First, Dr. Brett Carnevale. I really like the way he embraces everybody's individual style and helps guide you to develop your own. Dr. Ilija Arar has this unreal ability to simplify material. If you have difficulty with a concept, he's going to find a way to put it into words that you'll understand. And then Dr. Maria Thomadaki. Although I only had her in person for lab, she was able to teach a difficult course very well online. It's Unfortunate that she doesn't teach more courses in the program.
What kind of community do you find at Northeast?
Everyone is very supportive of each person's decision to become a chiropractor and obtain that next level of education. Regardless of what trimester you are in, you are supported by the community to create your personal style of chiropractic.
Does studying chiropractic help you to become a better massage therapist?
Yes, 110 percent. In massage school, we learn general skill sets: this is what you do, this is how you do it. But as a chiropractor we learn specific techniques, special tests to determine what's wrong, and signs and symptoms to look for. The amount of knowledge at Northeast is just unreal and I look forward to what the next trimesters will bring.