Seven years ago, Jamie Motley became the first African-American to graduate with a master’s degree in radiology and earn her DACBR, which means she is a chiropractor who is a Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Radiology.
She’s still the only one.
Dr. Motley has recently been named director of Life Chiropractic College West’s new master’s of diagnostic imaging program, which is kicking off with the Fall 2019 quarter. She’s the only African-American woman to lead such a program.
So when she says she’d like the spotlight to remain on how exciting it is to see such a program come to light at Life West, Dr. Motley acknowledges that it’s hard to overlook these other important firsts.
But, she says, “I’m an entity in a great program. This is a new degree program that will support chiropractic in a way we haven’t seen at the college so far. I think this will open the doors for additional degree programs in the future.”
Early focus on chiropractic
Dr. Motley said she knew early on that she would be a chiropractor, when she met her dad’s chiropractor during a series of visits after he had an injury in a car accident.
“As I was going with him for visits, I had the opportunity to learn more about chiropractic,” she said. “I was very intrigued by what the chiropractor did to him there, and I started asking questions. The doctor was very open to communicating to me on what chiropractic is and what chiropractic does.”
That was the early education she needed, and she never looked back. “Even in my 15-year-old brain, I felt naturally this was the way to go,” she added. “This was how I can help.”
Everything after that was about getting to and through chiropractic school, she said. She was the first in her family to earn a college degree, then in 2006, she started her studies at Life Chiropractic College West, near her home in the Bay Area. While at Life West, Dr. Motley said she worked up to an attraction to imaging and realized as she was going through the curriculum’s X-ray classes that she could see what her teachers were talking about – she was visualizing and understanding what the X-rays were showing.
She attended a conference for DACBRs and felt right at home, so finding a residency training program after she graduated from Life West in 2009 became her next step. That led her to New York Chiropractic College for DACBR training, where she became the first African-American chiropractic radiologist in the world in 2012.
A few years later she rejoined Life West, but this time as a faculty member teaching imaging with a chiropractic lens.
Like many of her colleagues who are DACBRs, Dr. Motley wears many hats. In addition to directing the new MSDI program, she’s teaching classes and leads seminars for Continuing Education credits in the field. In fact, she was recently presenting for the X-ray track at The WAVE 2019 in Oakland, California, Life West’s annual chiropractic conference.
You can hear from her next in December, when she’ll teach a course on X-ray, Pediatric Imaging: Normal Characteristics and Beyond.