As a doctor, a primary care professional, I work with each of my patients as an individual, devising care plans that focus on the whole person, collaborating with other health professionals as necessary for optimal care, disease prevention, and wellness. I deliver holistic chiropractic health care and acupuncture, and I try to practice what I teach. Holistic wellness involves listening to our own hearts, paying attention not only to the science, but the art of living well.
This is the story of how I came to be a chiropractor and acupuncturist, and why I chose to practice here in Brainerd / Baxter, Crow Wing County, Minnesota. If you want to learn more about how acupuncture works, and how I became a practitioner of this traditional Chines medicine, click here.
I began with a passion for the music arts, especially piano. I started playing when I was four, and by the time I graduated from Brainerd High School in 1993, I was getting paid to teach piano at Music General. I’m grateful that my parents, Howard and Lois Person, encouraged me to take time to explore my education and career options.
Right after high school I could have attended a number of reputable private colleges. But my parents suggested I follow my older brother, Todd, and attend Central Lakes College here in Brainerd. This allowed me to refine my piano skills under the tutelage of Michelle Sakry, who prepared me for recitals and enabled me to fulfill my avocation as an accompanist.
At CLC I was also able to sample general education courses including art history. I took a year off to perform in Up With People, an international youth music showcase. During that time, I traveled to six European countries, three Canadian Provinces, and 26 states. Then I stayed an extra four months to be the group’s vocal music instructor.
It was a wonderful experience, but everyone knows going in that traveling around the world with Up With People is a temporary gig. And while it was clear that the music we made gave joy to many people, I was developing the desire to do more to actually help people live better lives. That includes developing long term relationships.
I came back to CLC for the spring term in 1996, and the college allowed me to take an extra load of classes so I could graduate and begin the fall term at Hamline University in St. Paul.
That’s where I began exploring the medical field, and volunteering weekly at the Minneapolis Children’s Hospital where I shadowed surgeries, observed pathologists, physical therapists, pediatricians, and musical therapists.
At the Children’s Hospital, I met Hunter Doherty “Patch” Adams, the physician-activist whose life inspired the film starring Robin Williams. He inspired me to make volunteerism a way of life. I have built homes with Habitat for Humanity, aided in the renovation of homeless shelters, served as a First Responder, and worked with adults with disabilities. I’m a Rotarian and chair grief camp at Confidence Learning Center every summer. Campy Journey provides 20 young people with three days of free programming in support of recovery and self-esteem.
Following Hamline, I attended Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington, and in 2002, I received a B.S. in human biology and a Doctorate in Chiropractic Science. In 2009, I added acupuncture certification.
For the first six years of my career, I practiced in the small mining city of Flin Flon, Manitoba on the Saskatchewan border, a place with long, dark winters, fourteen hours northwest of Brainerd.
When the opportunity came up to join Family Chiropractic in Brainerd / Baxter I was thrilled to be going home, where I could once again participate in cultural activities and have more personal contact to foster the lifelong relationships with friends and family that I treasure.
Inside the word “heart” is “art.” I believe in in bringing heart and art to my chiropractic and acupuncture practice, and I’m certain that the lifelong integration of volunteerism and the musical arts into my life makes me a better health care provider. The phrase “the art and science of medicine” has been a definition of the practice for many years. How can you practice the art of medicine, if you don’t practice the art of holistic wellness? A multi-faceted person embraces both logic and emotions, right and left brain, science and art. I don’t just practice holistic wellness, I try to live it.
Mine was a circular journey, coming back to where I started life in Brainerd / Baxter, Crow Wing County, Minnesota. Home is where the heart is, they say, and after all my travels around the United States, Canada, and Europe, I discovered that there really is no place like this place. There’s no place like home.
I would like to thank Steve Laller, who interviewed me and who wrote an article for Central Lakes College's Alumni Magazine. The article is no longer available online.