Tay Pei Shen graduated with a chiropractic degree from International Medical University (IMU) in 2017. She is currently a full-time chief resident and lecturer at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic and lectures part-time at IMU, as well as a consultant for chiropractors in Malaysia and New Zealand. She is also the first Malaysian Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Radiology (DACBR). Here, she relates her journey on how she became a DACBR.
My humble journey started one ordinary weekday evening when I was working as a chiropractor at IMU Chiropractic Centre. An elderly lady was brought in by her son following a fall and was unable to move her arm. I decided to refer her to IMU Medical Clinic for x-rays of her shoulder. Unfortunately, there was no radiologist on site in the evening, so I had to write a referral letter to an orthopaedic specialist. Being a fresh graduate with minimal exposure to medical referrals, I gathered up my confidence to write up a referral letter for a posterior shoulder dislocation – which is not a common presentation of a shoulder dislocation.
Since then, I decided to pursue the residency in diagnostic imaging to earn a Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Radiology (DACBR) certification to be a chiropractic radiologist who can confidently analyse x-rays and other advanced imaging such as MRI. With the help of my previous chiropractic radiologist lecturer, Dr Kenneth Reckelhoff, I was introduced to the residency programme in New Zealand College of Chiropractic (NZCC), the only chiropractic programme in the southern hemisphere that offers this opportunity. I was told from the beginning that this journey will be a long one and it was very true!
It all started in 2017 where I wrote an email to Dr John Bassano, the residency director of NZCC, to enquire about the requirements needed to enter this residency programme: First I needed to be a registered chiropractor in New Zealand, then pass the residency exam and interview.
And so the adventure towards my goal began, I started preparing for the Council of Chiropractic Education Australasia (CCEA) board exam in order to be registered and practice as a chiropractor in New Zealand. I was lucky to have a senior to guide me and friends to take the board exam with me. After passing my CCEA boards, I travelled to NZCC in 2019 for my residency exam and interview.
It was perfect timing when I was accepted and managed to slip my way into New Zealand to start the residency right before the pandemic started in early 2020.
I had the opportunity to be trained under a very knowledgeable chiropractic radiologist, Dr Bassano, who is the residency director in NZCC. He has trained multiple chiropractic radiologists in Los Angeles Chiropractic College (LACC) and in NZCC. I’ve had weekly didactic and film sessions with him as part of my training. This residency programme was also designed to train residents to be an educator, so I was taught to assist and teach certain subjects in the chiropractic programme in NZCC. During my time there, I had the opportunity to meet wonderful colleagues who have made my experience in New Zealand even better!
After 2 years of training from Dr Bassano, I went on and sat the American Chiropractic Board of Radiology (ACBR) exam. I was fortunate to be able to sit Part 1 of the examination remotely from New Zealand until the borders opened just in time for me travel to Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa for my Part 2 exam!
Dr Bassano and I was sponsored by NZCC to attend the ACBR conference this year in Cleveland, Kansas for continuing education and to receive my Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Radiology (DACBR) certificate. It was a great opportunity and experience to connect and meet other chiropractic radiologists and residents, as well as Dr Reckelhoff, who has thought me all my radiology basics way back when I was a chiropractic student.
I am currently juggling a few jobs with my new qualification up my sleeve. While being a full-time chief resident in NZCC, I am also presenting online lectures for the Radiology course in IMU, as well as reporting films for chiropractors in Malaysia and New Zealand.
I am honoured to be the first Malaysian chiropractic radiologist and looking forward to share my knowledge to help the profession grow in Malaysia. It had been a crazy, tough journey and I am very grateful for all the support I received from my family, partner, mentor, colleagues and friends.
The chiropractic programme in IMU have provided me the knowledge and shaped me into being a competent chiropractor. I am very grateful to be able to pursue and complete my chiropractic education locally. The programme is accredited by the CCEA board and it gave me the foundation to pass my CCEA board exam and it was also where I got my radiology basics which prepared me for my NZCC diagnostic imaging residency exam. I am also very thankful to be accepted and loved by the NZCC family where I was able to continue my chiropractic journey with my further studies.
Written by Tay Pei Shen
Edited by Chang Jen May
Related article: Why I Became a Chiropractor?