A New Frontier Exists for Rehabilitation Specialization

Kelly Pennell, DC, MSc Candidate, FCCRS(C) Candidate
January 08, 2008
Written by Kelly Pennell, DC, MSc Candidate, FCCRS(C) Candidate
Rehabilitation residency and post-graduate university studies
Continuing education is important for one’s professional development as well as for the advancement of the profession as a whole.  Since graduating recently from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC), I have been enrolled in the Master’s in Rehabilitation Sciences program at McMaster University.  This program is designed to provide rehabilitation scientists with the knowledge and skills necessary for them to assume leadership positions within the rehabilitation and research communities.  Particular emphasis is placed on the admittance of health-care professionals.

This is the first time that chiropractors have been admitted into the Faculty of Rehabilitation Sciences at McMaster, creating a unique opportunity to interrelate with members from other health professions, such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy.  Furthermore, this has coincided with the emergence of a residency program in the College of Chiropractic Rehabilitation Sciences (Canada) [CCRS(C)], which requires acceptance into a related program at an approved post-secondary institution.

With the implementation of this residency program, and the admittance of chiropractors into university rehabilitation sciences faculties, specialty opportunities are burgeoning.


Residency programs offer chiropractors the opportunity to join a specialty and contribute to the advancement of the profession through research and publication.  Though residencies have existed within various specialities of chiropractic in Canada, including clinical sciences, sports sciences, and radiology, until now no such program has been in place for rehabilitation sciences.

I was fortunate to be accepted as the first candidate in the Rehabilitation Sciences Residency Program (RSRP), instituted in October 2005, which allows doctors of chiropractic to attain post-graduate rehab fellowship status while also gaining practical experience.  Overseen by the CCRS(C), the program is designed to offer chiropractic rehab specialty training through post-secondary educational institutions across Canada.

Acting on behalf of the CCRS(C) Residency Committee, a coordinator who is a fellow of the Chiropractic College of Rehabilitation Sciences supervises the program content and progress of the residents.  My coordinator is Dr. Robert Gringmuth, FCCSS(C), FCCRS(C).

The residency program is multifaceted and includes a minimum of 1,000 hours of fieldwork.  It focuses academically on various areas in rehabilitation, including musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and stroke, neurological, and chronic pain management.  The residency permits the practical application of the academic content of the coinciding university program, while exposing residents to various rehabilitation settings.

The chiropractic profession’s role within the rehabilitation community is changing.  With the implementation of this residency program, and the admittance of chiropractors into university rehabilitation sciences faculties, specialty opportunities are burgeoning.  A new frontier exists for the rehabilitation specialty, allowing chiropractors to become leaders within the rehabilitation community, and ensuring the chiropractic profession’s inclusion within the multidisciplinary patient care context.•

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