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IMU Chiropractic Students’ Role in the 2023 Philippine Chiropractic Community Health Project

03 Oct 2023

From 29 August to 9 September, 2023, the International Medical University (IMU) and Intercare Chiropractic Centre Inc. collaborated in the Philippine Chiropractic Community Health Project targeting marginalised sectors across multiple Philippine cities. Leading the charge from IMU were faculty members, including Janice Chan Vey Lian, the Interim Director of Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CCAM), and Wong Yi Kai, the Chiropractic Programme Director, along with four dedicated students, namely Chong Zen Haw, Tan Jia Quan, Tan Xin Yi, and Zhang Jun Ai. Here, the students share their experience and involvement in the Project.

More Than Just Healing

Growing up, my desire to become a Chiropractor was driven by the dream of making tangible changes in people’s lives. This dream took flight when I joined the Philippine Chiropractic Community Health Project from 29 August to 9 September, 2023 – a joint initiative between the International Medical University and Intercare Chiropractic Centre Inc.

Our mission was to provide chiropractic care to marginalised communities in the Philippines. Personally, I was able to assist 137 individuals—a number that feels vast and overwhelming to me. Every adjustment, every consultation, mattered. The profound impact seen in the relief, gratitude, and hope etched on the faces of those 137 souls is immeasurable.

There’s one memory that stands out: an elderly lady, heavily reliant on her crutch, walked away without needing it after our session. This instant transformation reiterated the value and importance of my chosen profession. The sheer joy, evident in her stride and smiles, was both humbling and rewarding.


However, it wasn’t just about the medical assistance. The emotional connections forged were just as significant. From words of thanks to heartwarming gestures like hugs and high-fives, every individual reminded me of why I was on this path. Their reactions, their stories, their hopes rekindled my passion and belief in the adage, “Love is not about getting, but giving.”


During our stay, many expressed their wish to continue treatments, even hinting at following us back to Malaysia—a testament to the genuine care and difference we made. As a student, these interactions were enlightening. They moved beyond textbook knowledge, delving into the intricacies of real-world healthcare and the deep-seated trust patients place in their caregivers.


In reflecting upon this journey, the experience has been transformative. The hands-on application of my academic learning, coupled with the challenges and triumphs in the field, has enriched my professional and personal growth.


In conclusion, I urge others, especially my peers, to seek out such experiences. Not only do they shape us as professionals, but they also allow us to witness firsthand the immeasurable impact of dedicated community service. Remember, the richness of experience holds lessons no classroom can teach.


Written by Tan Xin Yi

Journey of Heartfelt Service: Reflections from the Philippines

Participating in community health services in the Philippines has been an enriching and transformative journey, leaving an indelible mark in my heart. The warmth and resilience of the Filipino people, combined with the unwavering dedication of the healthcare workers, have been profoundly inspiring.


During this trip, I had the privilege to treat 156 individuals, each with their unique stories and struggles.

This opportunity has deepened my understanding of the importance of accessible and compassionate healthcare, allowing me to not only contribute to the well-being of the community but also to witness the tangible, positive impact it has on individuals and families. I am immensely grateful to have been part of such a noble endeavor.

The bonds I’ve forged during my time in the community health services will always hold a cherished place in my heart. There’s a palpable spirit of unity, a shared commitment to enhancing the health and lives of those in need, which has been utterly uplifting. Every interaction, smile, and moment of connection served as potent reminders of the significance of service and compassion. This experience has not only broadened my perspective on healthcare but also instilled in me a renewed sense of purpose. I have deep admiration and appreciation for the incredible work undertaken by healthcare professionals in the Philippines.


Written by Zhang Jun Ai 

Beyond Borders: Serving and Learning in the Philippines

Recently, I was given the unique opportunity to be a part of a community service programme in the Philippines. This mission led us to provide chiropractic and physiotherapy treatments to local Filipinos. Through the course of the service, I had the opportunity to assist 122 individuals, a humbling experience that constantly reminded me of the vast impact small acts can have.


During this mission, I encountered people from various age groups, each with their distinct set of conditions. This was not just an opportunity to apply my knowledge, but a profound learning experience that refined my chiropractic techniques. The hands-on practice strengthened my confidence and deepened my understanding of clinical work.


In addition to our medical endeavors, we had enriching experiences visiting the Intercare Chiropractic Clinic, Far Eastern University, and the World Flying Disc Federation Asia Oceanic Ultimate and Guts Championships. Each of these visits offered unique insights and broadened our perspective.

A significant factor behind the smooth execution of our mission was the meticulous planning behind every logistical detail. From the location to the equipment, transportation, and even our meals, everything was well-organised, enabling us to stay centered on our primary purpose: offering care.


Despite the challenges and exhaustion that came with the long days, the lessons and rewards from this journey are invaluable.

I am deeply appreciative of this chance to develop both as a professional and as an individual.


My deepest gratitude goes out to the members of Intercare. Their tireless efforts and unwavering dedication transformed this endeavor into a success. Working alongside them has been both a pleasure and an inspiration. Their passion for community service is truly commendable, and I’m honored to have been a part of this impactful project.


Written by Tan Jia Quan

A 'Masarap' Journey

I never imagined I’d change lives as a chiropractic intern. My principle was simple: serve each patient as if they were a cherished family member. This belief propelled me, ensuring I always delivered my best. But my perspective shifted profoundly during the Philippine Chiropractic Community Health Project from 27 August to 9 September, 2023, a collaboration between IMU and Intercare Chiropractic Centre.


Our mission was clear: offer chiropractic care to the marginalised communities in the Philippines. Over those days, I had the honor of directly impacting the lives of 129 individuals. The sheer volume was overwhelming, especially considering I was still an intern. Their gratitude, expressed in heartwarming “salamat” or appreciative nods, was a testament to the transformative power of our work.


One group of patients remains etched in my memory. They had endured the agonising symptoms of radiculopathy for years, and in some cases, decades.

A few interventions, such as simple traction and soft tissue therapy, brought them significant relief. Witnessing their renewed zest for life underscored the profound difference I could make. This experience not only reaffirmed my commitment to chiropractic but also deepened my empathy, teaching me invaluable lessons that textbooks could never convey.

My journey in the Philippines was more than just medical outreach; it was an odyssey of personal growth. I connected deeply with my peers and mentors, gleaning insights that enriched my practice. I still recall stories of patients shedding tears of joy after our treatments. As chiropractors, these moments of transformation and gratitude are our guiding stars.


This expedition was a true “masarap” or enjoyable experience, capturing the essence of Filipino warmth and resilience. Every lecture, treatment, and shared moment added to this rich tapestry of memories, which I’ll cherish for a lifetime.


To my peers and juniors, I urge you: embrace opportunities that push your boundaries. I am eternally grateful to IMU and Intercare for this enlightening journey. Only by stepping outside our comfort zones can we truly evolve. In the words of Intercare, “Improving functional life years, naturally” encapsulates our noble mission as future chiropractors.


Written by Chong Zen Haw


Related article: IMU and Intercare Chiropractic Centre Inc. Collaborate to Bring Hope and Healing to Marginalised Communities in Philippines

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