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Dynamic Chiropractic Canada – November 1, 2008, Vol. 01, Issue 02
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Giving New Chiropractors a Helping Hand

By Jennifer Paige

In an effort to encourage and assist young practitioners as they develop and grow their practices, while at the same time providing more experienced members with an opportunity to network with their peers and give back to the profession, the Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA) has launched an innovative new mentorship program.

"Lending a Hand," a program coordinated through the association and available to OCA members throughout the province of Ontario, was initially introduced in early July 2006 in the Kitchener/Waterloo area and was tested for a six-month period with 15 mentors and mentees. Participant feedback proved the program was a worthwhile experience and meaningful tool for both young chiropractic professionals and experienced mentors to interact and grow within their own professional community.

Dr. Joel Weisberg of Toronto was one of 15 established doctors who participated in the Lending a Hand pilot program last year, serving as a mentor to Dr. Adam Williamson of Waterloo, Ontario.

"I had a fantastic time with it," said Dr. Weisberg of the mentoring experience. "I've kept in mild touch with my mentee, although he's soaring high on his own wings now. We have the open door and the promise of more mentoring to come, but he has been doing extremely well."

Dr. Weisberg's and Dr. Williamson's mentorship experience was somewhat unique. Because of the geographic distance between the two, they never met in person but instead connected by telephone. As Dr. Weisberg explained, the distance did not impede the progress they made: "We had a lot of very productive conversations," he said. "We set goals and objectives for our next meeting ... [but] although there was structure, it was also very flexible. If a particular question [came] up, we would put aside our plan for that meeting and tackle that question."

Dr. Williamson, a practicing DC since 2001, was seeking guidance in some specific areas, according to Dr. Weisberg,  "We did planning and goal-setting; those were skills that he wanted," he said. The program, which matches applicants and provides resource materials to structure the mentorship experience for six months, has already drawn considerable interest among OCA members.

"There's so much that happens your first year in practice," added Dr. Weisberg. "There's so much to pay attention to, and so many new ways to think and behave, new decisions that have to be made, new skill sets that have to be brought forward. I think every new grad should have some type of partnership in which they can develop these skills."

Dr. Weisberg has gained a lot from the experience as well. "I did benefit from it. I surrounded myself with a handful of very important people in my life. That's part of what I tried to share with my mentee. For me it was an incredible part of my maturation as a chiropractor and a person."

Jennifer Paige has 10 years of experience in journalism with the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, Toronto Life and Saturday Night, as well as within other Canadian media. She is manager of communications and marketing for the Ontario Chiropractic Association. For questions and comments regarding the association’s mentorship program, e-mail .

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