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Troxell Intern Program... Making History?

To the Presentations Committee (Association of the History of Chiropractic)

This presentation summary is presented in the hopes that it will be accepted for a presentation in the short (10 minute) category at the upcoming Association for the History of Chiropractic in New York.


The Troxell Intern Program an Expose?

The Troxell Intern Program has been active since 1968 when it was founded by Dr. Larry Troxell, a 1967 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic. Troxell had “spent a great deal of time learning from his mentor Dr. Gonstead.  He attended approximately 100 seminars and spent time at the Gonstead clinic learning firsthand the methodologies.”

” …before C.S. Gonstead passed away in 1978.  Dr. Gonstead left endorsements of his teachings to four doctors in writing.  These four Doctors were Dr. John Thatcher, Dr. Dale Applegate, Dr.Tim Obert, and Dr. Larry J. Troxell.”

The Troxell Intern program is still going strong.  “There are 1,000+ interns that have graduated from Palmer and gone into practice all over the world.”

“The Troxell Intern Program is a not for profit group, who's sole mission is to continue our longstanding tradition of, “changing lives through education”.  Blah! Blah! Blah!  These are the dead facts of history.  The lifeless, juiceless, squeezed dry type of data that is the bedrock of a good historian’s presentation.  Unfortunately for you I am not a good historian.  I care little for the rules of proper presentation etiquette.  I am more National Enquirer than National Archives. 

Through the type of extensive research that was formerly only found in a political op ed report we have located a former Troxell Intern from the 1970s who has given us an inside look at what the Troxell Intern program really was.

Rick Elbert, DC entered Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1973 and began attending Gonstead seminars in 1974.  He began the Troxell Intern Program in the first quarter of 1977 “at Dr. Troxell’s Dewitt, IA. office on Saturday mornings.  I worked there for the first quarter of 1977 and the next quarter an intern position opened up at the Locust and Eastern office and I worked on Monday nights there for the rest of 1977.  I was head intern on Monday nights the last 6 months of 1977.”  So Dr. Elbert was on the inside and is the perfect person to give us the scoop on the organization.

“Each week on Monday morning, the intern program had a mandatory meeting at 6am at Reiffe’s restaurant in Bettendorf to discuss what was happening and keep everyone on task.  Then we had to be at Palmer for class at 7:30. Classes were usually over by 3:30 and we went to the clinic and started working at 4:00 until 10:00 or 10:30pm.  Mondays were the busiest day of the week and Dr. Troxell saw over 100 patients every Monday.  When we worked, we did case histories, examinations and reexaminations of the patients, took X-rays, developed them and analyze them, did reports of findings, did Back Talk lectures to patients and followed Dr. Troxell while he adjusted patients.  At the end of the night we would vacuum the entire clinic and take out the trash.  We also shoveled the sidewalks if they needed the snow removed from them during the day.  We usually finished up and left about 11:30 or 12:00 pm.”  But student Elbert was not the only one involved. Elbert asked Dr. Troxell if his wife could come into the clinic and learn the process of running a chiropractic office.  Dr. Troxell agreed and when Dr. Elbert received his chiropractic license he hit the ground running, prepared to start his practice.


So how does Dr. Elbert feel about his Troxell Intern Experience?

“I was never shown how to operate a chiropractic office or manage patients at Palmer College or the Palmer Clinic.  Being able to do case histories, examinations, take x-rays, do reports of findings, do Back Talk Classes, follow Dr. Troxell and watch him adjust patients and interact with them gave me the skills necessary to operate my own office.”

But the proof is in the practice.  Dr. Elbert is still in practice.  So the Troxell Intern Program has been exposed.  It helped Dr. Elbert turn a Palmer education into a successful professional life by introducing him to a real life practice and today it helps other Rick Elberts learn more to do more.  Or as I always say, “Education is expensive.  Too bad we don’t get it all in school.” 

As a side note, one of your present board members, Jean Coleman was a patient of Dr. Troxell.  Amazing how small the chiropractic world really is.  

Respectfully submitted by Roger R. Coleman, DC

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