Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

Features Collaboration Profession
Graduate Studies at CMCC

August 29, 2011
By Special report provided by CMCC faculty


CMCC’s division of graduate studies has proven a fertile training ground
for many of the profession’s brightest stars since the academic
residencies were first established in 1975.

CMCC’s division of graduate studies has proven a fertile training ground for many of the profession’s brightest stars since the academic residencies were first established in 1975. The list of alumni is a who’s who of chiropractic, and among the program’s 94 graduates, 72 are still actively involved in academia and research both in universities and chiropractic programs. A further 11 occupy posts as senior administrators in academic institutions around the world.


These exceptional minds have been drawn to graduate studies at CMCC by the breadth of opportunities these offer, as well as the innovative windows they have opened up for the profession, and its members, to expand through. 


Dr. Pierre Côté, an alumnus of the graduate studies program at CMCC, is one of these prominent minds whose studies at CMCC have helped him take chiropractic into new frontiers.  Among other appointments, Dr. Côté is a scientist in the Division of Health Care and Outcomes Research at the Toronto Western Research Institute and an associate professor of epidemiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. He was also a member of the Scientific Secretariat of the Decade of the Bone and Joint 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and is currently conducting the University Health Network Whiplash Intervention Trial, a large randomized clinical trial of the effectiveness of three programs of care for the treatment of whiplash injuries.

“My graduate studies at CMCC helped to shape my understanding of the etiology, prognosis and treatment of back and neck pain from a systemic and policy perspective,” says Dr. Côté. “It was an experience that has been foundational to my academic and scientific career.”

Originally focused on clinical sciences and radiology, CMCC’s graduate program introduced a sports sciences fellowship in 1994 and expanded its capacity from just five candidates per year to 10 in 2009 to accommodate and feed the demand for an increasing number of high-quality academic and research leaders for the profession.
As well, the program was an early adopter of the new culture of interprofessional education and collaboration that is shaping the wider health-care system in Canada and abroad. This is resulting in the recruitment of faculty members into the program from a range of health-care and basic science disciplines, and means that graduate students/residents can go on to support interprofessional education through placements and academic partnerships with other health-care and laboratory facilities.

Dr. Rhonda Kirkwood is a Clinical Sciences Fellow who completed her graduate studies at CMCC in 2000. The former assistant dean of Professional Education at CMCC, Dr. Kirkwood is now at CBI Health in Bedford, Nova Scotia, working within a multidisciplinary team of physiotherapists, occupational therapists and medical physicians and is completing her masters in rehabilitation sciences through McMaster University in Ontario.

“Completing the clinical sciences graduate program at CMCC gave me the ability to work within multidisciplinary teams with confidence,” notes Dr. Kirkwood,  “and to demonstrate, with excellence, what I can do as a chiropractor.”

But for all the innovations and successes of the past 36 years, the next 36 promise to be better still for the graduate studies programs at CMCC – and 2011 is shaping up to be a pivotal year. Among the significant developments, a new partnership was struck between CMCC and the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) in Bournemouth, England, giving CMCC’s postgraduate students the ability to enroll in the AECC’s Master of Science Advanced Professional Practice (Clinical Sciences) program, known as AECC/Bournemouth University Master’s degree.

Current students in the graduate program at CMCC.
Back row: Jairus Quesnele, Erik Yuill, Jason Porr
Middle row: Brynne Stainsby, Peter Lejkowski, Danielle Southerst
Front row: Jessica Wong, Michele Laframboise, Chadwick Chung, Angela Bagnulo


“We’re very excited about this program because it finally offers the opportunity for more chiropractors to access postgraduate education,” says Dr. Paula Stern, a fellow of CMCC’s clinical sciences program who now serves as director of graduate studies at CMCC.

“As well as being available on a part-time basis, there is flexibility to the program. As a professional master’s, it allows individuals to tailor courses or programs that parallel their practice or personal interests. A candidate may choose to focus on a variety of topics such as geriatrics, chronic pain or disability prevention, among others.”

Dr. Jean Moss, president of CMCC, sees the program as a natural evolution within graduate studies at CMCC. “We’re seeing much more interprofessional collaboration than in the past,” says Dr. Moss. “Offering a master’s degree helps to harmonize the academic qualifications among professionals.”

In addition to the AECC/Bourne-mouth University Master’s program, CMCC’s division of graduate studies will begin accepting applications this fall for its newest offering: the Work Disability Prevention Program, which will be offered as a stand-alone advanced certificate program and as part of a professional master’s program in partnership with AECC.

Developed and led by orthopedic surgeon and work disability prevention pioneer Dr. Patrick Loisel, the program aims to impart a high-level understanding of the pain problem and causes of disability, as well as biological, psychological, cultural, legal and systemic impacts and influencers.

The program is a timely addition to CMCC’s graduate academic calendar: in Canada alone the cost of work-related disability is more than $6.7 billion each year and, with an aging workforce, increased rates of disability and rising health and drug costs, there is a recognized need for expertise in assisting injured and disabled workers to return to work safely and sustainably.

“What’s more,” says Dr. Loisel, “CMCC seemed a natural fit for such a program.”

“The value in working with chiropractors is their holistic perspective when it comes to patient care,” he says. “Often the nature of their work requires them to understand their patients’ lives to the degree that is optimal for successful disability prevention.”

Beginning in January 2012, the new contemporary graduate-level program in Work Disability Prevention will provide education and training for health professionals to appropriately co-ordinate processes for the effective return of the disabled worker to the workplace.

The program will be offered at two levels:

  • Return-to-Work Specialty Consulting Advanced Certificate Program – two years;
  • AECC/Bournemouth University Master’s Program – three years, including the CMCC Return-to-Work Specialty Consulting Advanced Certificate Program.

In preparation for the program’s practicum component and/or final thesis/project, course work explores a range of subjects, including:

  • The Work Disability Paradigm – biological, psychological and social dimensions and interrelations in the pain problem and pain management strategies;
  • Making a Work Disability Diagnosis – causes and psychological and behavioural implications of work disability, and facilitating a disability diagnosis;
  • Research Methodology – basics and best practices of study design, sampling, source of data and data analysis;
  • The Stakeholders’ Systems – the nature and origin of work disability within the context of workers compensation boards and public and private insurers;
  • Coordinating Return to Work – effective case co-ordination and identifying systemic influences on a patient’s thoughts and behaviours to achieve a safe and sustainable return to work.

But while doctors of chiropractic are well suited for the field of work of disability prevention, in keeping with CMCC’s culture of interprofessional education and collaboration, the new graduate program is also open to students with a health professional degree in medicine, occupational therapy or physical therapy, or a master’s in social work.

Students entering the program will have access to a CMCC research supervisor and some of the institution’s own graduate-level programs/courses.

The AECC/Bournemouth University Master’s degree has been developed to support professional development. The program provides a unique opportunity for health-care professionals to attain the generic skills and attitudes of continuing professional development, experiential learning and reflective practice, and to develop advanced clinical and practical skills in specialized areas of practice. It is a part-time, “at a distance,” program enabling health-care professionals to combine professional learning in the workplace with a postgraduate academic qualification.

“By engaging a range of health professionals and fostering an atmosphere that encourages dialogue and sharing of perspectives, our graduates will be well prepared to take  leadership roles in education, research and patient care into the next generation,” says Dr. Jay Triano, dean of graduate education and research at CMCC. “Our goal is to educate the leaders of tomorrow.”

For complete details on graduate programs, visit the CMCC Graduate Studies website at .

Where Are They Now?
Alumni of the CMCC graduate studies programs have become prominent representatives for the profession of chiropractic and can be found in various research and educational institutions, and/or working with governments and other health-care professionals. A few examples are:

Michael Wiles, DC, MEd
Michael Wiles, DC, MEd, is the provost and VP for academic affairs at Northwestern Health Sciences University in Minnesota. He is a 1976 graduate of CMCC. Dr. Wiles also holds a bachelor of science degree from the University of Toronto and a master’s degree in education from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. Previous to accepting the position at Northwestern, Dr. Wiles served in a variety of roles at CMCC, including lecturer from 1976-1979; chairman of the department of chiropractic science from 1978-2000; assistant professor from 1980-1985; co-ordinator of the clinical residency program from 1979-1982; assistant dean from 1980-1985; and director of the division of chiropractic science from 1988-1990. Since 2003, he has served as an associate professor of chiropractic and clinical sciences. Dr. Wiles has also maintained a private practice since 1976.

Natalia Lishchyna, BSc (Hons), DC, FCCS(C), MSc
Dr. Lishchyna is an assistant professor in the division of clinical education at CMCC and is also in private practice in Oakville. After earning an honours baccalaureate degree in science at McMaster University in Hamilton in 1994, she completed her doctorate in chiropractic at CMCC in 1998. She then went on to complete a postgraduate residency program in chiropractic clinical sciences and obtained her fellowship in 2005. At CMCC, she served as vice-chair of the awards committee and as a member of the admissions committee. Dr. Lishchyna participates in chiropractic research and has published her work in the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association and other academic journals. She received the 2005 Australian Spinal Research Foundation Research Poster Award at the World Federation of Chiropractic Biennual Congress in Sydney, Australia and presented at the 2007, 2009 and 2009 WFC Biennial Congresses. Dr. Lishchyna has been a director of the Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA) since 2002. Currently, she holds the position of vice-president. Prior to being elected to the OCA board, she also held an appointment with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and served as an inspector for Chiropractic Review Committee with the College of Chiropractors of Ontario. Dr. Lishchyna is an active community volunteer. She was a member of the board of directors for the Peel Children’s Aid Society and a steering committee member of the Mississauga Halton Local Health Intergration Network (LHIN). Currently, Dr. Lishchyna is steering committee chair for the Mississauga Halton Infection Control Network.

William Hsu, BSc, DC, DACBR, FCCR(C)
Dr. Hsu is an associate professor and faculty radiologist in the division of clinical education at CMCC. He is a past president of the Chiropractic College of Radiologists of Canada and was later an assistant professor at D’Youville College in Buffalo, New York. After earning an undergraduate degree in biochemistry and a doctorate in chiropractic degree at CMCC, he pursued and completed FCCR and DACBR certifications.

Dr. Hsu’s research focuses on clinical indications for imaging and clinical presentation of various musculoskeletal entities. He has contributed articles to the Journal of the American Chiropractic Association, Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics and several other academic journals and books.