As she walks around the 15th floor of the Center for Health and Healing at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), Jordan Graeme, DC, MS, greets everyone with a warm smile and is eager to show off the picturesque clinic space overlooking Portland’s South Waterfront neighborhood.
Whether interacting with the front office staff, patients or fellow health care providers, Dr. Graeme offers kind-hearted conversation and a sense of genuine empathy.
At the 2017 Symposium and homecoming celebration, Dr. Joseph Brimhall, UWS president, presented the Alumna of the Year Award to Dr. Jordan Graeme. Dr. Graeme earned two degrees from UWS, a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in 2011 and Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine in 2014.
“I was extremely humbled and honored upon getting the news that I had been chosen as the UWS Alumna of the Year,” said Dr. Graeme. “The way that I work with my patients on a day-to-day basis is what’s always been important to me, so I didn’t realize how it effects other people, such as those at my alma mater. It was very humbling to connect with my nominator and hear him explain how my job also makes a difference for him. It’s nice to know that you’re making an impact.”
Dr. Graeme was nominated by the 2016 UWS Alumnus of the Year, Jason Young, DC, MS (‘07). Dr. Young currently lives in Corvallis, Ore., and works at the Body of Health Chiropractic and Wellness Center. He developed tremendous respect for Dr. Graeme through their interactions in their shared UWS human nutrition and functional medicine courses. The two met in person for the first time at the 2017 Symposium since the HNFM program is online.
“She is a great role model for women in the profession,” said Dr. Young. “Too often, when we recognize women for their achievements in our society we say things that make it sound like she did well… for a woman. I think that is unfortunate. What Dr. Graeme is doing is special for a man or a woman and is a great example of the type of leadership we have from the many great women in chiropractic. I think all chiropractors in the state of Oregon owe her a debt of gratitude for representing us so well on such an important stage.”
Currently, Dr. Graeme serves as the chiropractic physician on the Comprehensive Pain Center team at OHSU in Portland. The health care team is comprised of physicians, nurses, psychologists and other experts in whole body therapies. The OHSU pain center is among the largest in the region and offers treatments for acute and chronic pain.
“Dr. Graeme provides a wonderful example for chiropractic physicians seeking to provide integrated, team-based health care,” said Joseph Pfeifer, DC, vice president of clinic affairs at UWS. “Her work within the Comprehensive Pain Center provides great advantages to her colleagues and patients there. Our academic affiliation with OHSU and Dr. Graeme provides valuable clinical training experiences for our chiropractic students. She is most deserving of the recent UWS Alumna of the Year award.”
Because of the affiliation between OHSU and UWS, chiropractic students are able to complete preceptorships with real-world application under direct supervision. Recent UWS graduate Ricki Schoepp, DC, gained invaluable knowledge through collaboration with Dr. Graeme during her three-month preceptorship.
“I had a great experience with Dr. Graeme at OHSU,” said Dr. Schoepp. “She is kind and extremely knowledgeable about chiropractic, nutrition and the most up-to-date, evidenced-based and effective treatments for patients. She was incredibly patient in helping me to learn the patient flow and was always open to any questions or concerns I had as an intern. It was obvious to me that she has a passion for chiropractic and she was attentive and warm to all of her patients. I consider her to be my mentor in going forward with chiropractic and aspire to successfully help patients in the same way that she can and will continue to do.”
The philosophy within the community of health care providers at the Comprehensive Pain Center is the belief that medication works best when integrated with lifestyle coaching and therapies such as chiropractic care, physical therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, stress reduction therapy, nutrition counseling and more.
“One of my favorite things about this group of health care providers is that once a month, the entire clinic has scheduled meetings where we discuss complicated cases or patients that may not be responding the way we had hoped,” said Dr. Graeme. “We collaborate together to see what we may be missing. We openly discuss how we can work together to ensure that the patient is getting what they need and, if not, how we can solve it together.”
Dr. Young added that in Dr. Graeme’s role at OHSU, she is not only providing an integrated and unique clinical training experience for UWS students but also bolstering the chiropractic profession.
“Dr. Graeme’s position at OSHU is very unique and important,” said Dr. Young. “I can’t count the number of arguments about the legitimacy of chiropractic health care that I have ended when I referred the other person to the OHSU website showing Dr. Graeme as a part of that organization. The beauty of it is that she’s not there in an academic or ornamental capacity. She is doing what chiropractors do.”
Dr. Graeme became the first chiropractic physician on the Comprehensive Pain Center team three years ago, after the center’s initial launch. A massage therapist and acupuncturist were also hired around the same time. With the growth in recognition of integrated care, the team just hired another chiropractic physician, UWS graduate Ty Weingard, DC (‘09), as well as two more acupuncturists and a naturopath. The clinic has also expanded to a location in Beaverton, Ore., where Dr. Graeme will rotate twice a week.
Patients today expect an open dialogue between their health care provider team, and Dr. Graeme recognizes that collaboration is ultimately what is most beneficial for the overall care of the patient.
“I think being in the position I am, I see both sides,” she explained. “I see both the allopathic and holistic side and we both have walls. We both have misconceptions of one another and what each other does. At the end of the day, we’re all just doing the best we can for patients, so being open to bridge that gap is crucial so we can be more collaborative in not just this setting, but in every setting.”
Each year, University of Western States (UWS) hosts the UWS Homecoming and NW Symposium, an event with opportunities for health care practitioners to attend seminars and network with peers. This event also features the presentation of the Alumni Recognition Award, which honors alumni whose achievements have elevated the fields of integrated or chiropractic medicine, made a difference in the community and upheld the university’s mission.
HEART TO HEART WITH DR. GRAEME
A sense of community has always been of utmost importance to Dr. Graeme, both in her personal life as well as in the office. Growing up in Madras, Ore. and Klickitat, Wash., Dr. Graeme graduated with a class of 11. Klickitat High School had just 52 total students, all of whom she was close to.
In her spare time, Dr. Graeme, her fiancé and their tight-knit community of friends play in co-ed softball and volleyball tournaments, as well as rotate a schedule for who cooks dinner for the group. Living without cable, they also love to get out and travel, play card games such as rummy and pinochle and spend time with her horse.
While a student at UWS, Dr. Graeme recalls the connections she made with her classmates and professors as one of the most special takeaways. “The community you gain through the school was what made everything so special to me,” said Dr. Graeme. “No matter where I go, I feel very proud to say I’m a UWS grad.”
“For students who are currently going through the program, my advice to you would be to soak it all in, enjoy the comradery and trust that your career will work out the way it’s supposed to. Often, it’s easy to stress about one thing and have an idea or plan on how things should be but it doesn’t always end up that way,” said Dr. Graeme. “If you would have told me at the start of chiropractic school that I would be working for a collaborative pain team at OHSU, I would have never imagined that, but I wouldn’t have it any other way now. Don’t stress about the grade; stress about the patients. In the end, that’s all that matters.”