UB Boosts its Chiropractic Reach

James Lehman

Prof. James Lehman with a Chiropractic student

UB has signed an agreement to provide chiropractic and acupuncture services at Southwest Community Health Center in Bridgeport. “Southwest is proud to partner with the UB School of Chiropractic,” says SCHC’s CEO, Mollie Melbourne. “The integration of chiropractic and acupuncture will be a great compliment to the quality health services offered to our community.” 

UB has been offering chiropractic and acupuncture services in Bridgeport with the Optimus Community Health Center for more than 20 years, and with the Community Health Center, Inc. of Middletown for more than 10 years. With the addition of Southwest Community Health Center during March of 2021, the university’s School of Chiropractic is able to serve even more people and give our students more opportunities for on-the-job training. 

The six locations of Southwest Community Health Center deliver high-quality and accessible medical, behavioral, and dental services to the underserved Bridgeport community, often for uninsured patients. Founded on the idea that everyone has the right to health care, SCHC provides professional services through their own staff and partners like UB, in a comprehensive coordination and integration of health strategies. “Community health is changing,” says Melbourne. “And we must do our best to offer our patients new, innovative practices to manage chronic and acute pain, and curb opioid dependencies.”

The university in turn offers long-term health and wellness care for the community through our board-certified chiropractors, while our student residents receive clinical training. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for our students to gain experience with a different population,” says Dr. James Lehman, the Director of Community Health Clinical Education for UB’s School of Chiropractic. 

Bridgeport’s underserved population seeks out care from community health centers because they provide a seamlessly integrated system with many different kinds of care in-house. Some patients do not have the transportation options to follow specialist care around the state. The treatment of back and neck pain in order to reduce disability and pain is an important complementary health strategy for many of these people.

“We become a vital part of the team in a patient-centered evidence-based manner,” says Lehman. “We help with these patients that they can’t otherwise serve properly.”

This non-pharmacologic pain management is a cost-effective way to alleviate the suffering of millions of Americans, and reduces the need for medications with potentially adverse side effects. Over the past two decades, it has also become more accepted by the public, something evident in the high patient retention rates. Those patients include severely disabled, chronic pain sufferers, a group that led Lehman and his colleagues to think differently about the purpose of chiropractic and acupuncture care. “They tell me if they didn’t come in for this treatment they couldn’t get out of the house,” says Lehman. “We couldn’t resolve their condition, but could improve their quality of life. It really demonstrated the difference between disabled high-impact chronic pain patients and the regular population.” 

Many students pick UB because of this rotation in community health centers. “Most of our students find it a very rewarding experience,” says Lehman. As the only 3-year full time residency that leads to board certification and the opportunity to become a chiropractic neuromusculoskeletal medicine specialist, the university boasts one of the top Schools of Chiropractic in the country.

As of March 2021, UB chiropractors and acupuncturists are available at Southwest two days a week, both acupuncture and chiropractic care. Appointments are available by calling (203) 330–6000.