Who knew that to become a chiropractor in California, you have to know a lot about public health? And a lot about wastewater treatment because it is crucial to ensuring peoples’ health?
Hayward-based Life Chiropractic College West trains students to become chiropractors. The rigorous 12- to 14-quarter curriculum includes two courses in public health, providing students with a better all-around understanding of the factors that contribute to holistic health and well-being. In their second year, students take the first of four parts of a national exam necessary for chiropractic licensure. Historically, the test has included questions about public health, including wastewater treatment.
Krista Ward, public health instructor at Life West, explains: “Studies indicate social and environmental conditions have a larger impact on population health than health care.” Last year, she inquired about taking students on a field trip to Hayward’s Water Pollution Control Facility, located just blocks away from the college.
Plant Manager David Donovan was very receptive. “Our staff is proud of what we do every day, protecting public health and the health of the Bay and its wildlife. We welcome the opportunity to give tours to show how much is involved in cleaning the water.” Feedback from the first two class visits was overwhelmingly positive. Most had never been to a wastewater plant before and found the visit one of the most memorable learning experiences from the class. Two more classes have recently toured the plant, and the next visit is being planned.
Meryl Abramson, a lead operator at the plant, led the most recent tours. She and Krista found they had many interests in common. Krista notes, “I do have a passion for public health! I volunteered and worked as a chiropractor in community clinics in San Francisco, where I saw firsthand the impact of the social determinants on our patients’ health. After pursuing a Master of Public Health at SF State, I have been lucky to combine both interests by teaching at Life Chiropractic College West.” Meryl believes that public awareness of wastewater treatment and the science behind it are important so that people will understand and protect their watersheds and thus their own health and the health of others, including animals and plants that share the water.
Life Chiropractic College West’s mission is to advance chiropractic through world-class chiropractic education, clinical excellence, philosophical inquiry, research and scholarly activity in a climate of love and service. The vision of Life Chiropractic College West is to create a brighter future for humanity. The college has been located at its Hayward campus on Industrial Boulevard for about 20 years.
The City of Hayward’s Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF) is an award-winning plant. In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency deemed Hayward’s WPCF an On-Site Generation Partner and Green Power Leadership Award winner. In 2016, Acterra selected the plant as its Business Environmental Award recipient. The Hayward City Council has a stated goal of zero net energy for municipal services by 2025. The WPCF is important to this strategy, through production of solar energy and biogas generation, both sources of renewable energy. At this time, the plant’s co-generation engine creates enough electricity to run the entire plant and feeds the grid to cover much of the energy used at City Hall.
— Guest blogger Meryl Abramson works for the Hayward Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF).