Rusty Kjos, DC

DC Alumnus

Catching Up: Five Questions and a Wildcard

Graduated in: September 2012

Currently living: Bismarck, North Dakota

Prior Schooling: University of North Dakota, BS Interdisciplinary Studies: Health Sciences

1. Tell us about what you have been up to since graduation? What are you doing now?

Following graduation from UWS, I moved back to North Dakota and joined a clinic here in Bismarck. I currently work in a large clinic with five other chiropractors seeing and treating patients of all ages and activity levels. I have seen a patient that was two days old and recently treated one that just celebrated their 100th birthday.

2. When you look back at your experience at UWS, what sticks out the most? How did your time at UWS prepare you for your career/life?

Looking back at UWS there are many memories and moments that stick out. I often reflect back on the classes and courses that we took and how they challenged us to think critically and become a better student and intern. I remember the first time that we were in anatomy lab trying to figure out exactly how to dissect a cadaver. It was a bit nerve-wracking and was something many of us had never had much experience with before.

I am always thankful for the opportunities and education that we were provided with throughout our time at UWS. We had opportunities to work in various clinics throughout Portland and we had the opportunity to get involved with various weekend events such as 5Ks, 10Ks, marathons, Futsol, Hood to Coast and Seaside Beach Volleyball tournament.

While at UWS, I attended a Valentine Day run to raise awareness for Fanconi Anemia and other blood cancers. Delete Blood Cancer, a bone marrow registry, had a booth there where they encouraged individuals to do a simple swabbing of their cheek cells and enter a nationwide database as potential bone marrow donors. Less than 1 percent of registered donors are ever matched with patients but five years after I signed up, I learned that I was matched with an individual who has Myelodysplastic Syndrome. I am currently in the process of doing further testing for the potential transplant. It is crazy to think that I was only out there to promote chiropractic care, stay active and enjoy the weekend, but now I could potentially help save someone’s life!

3. Are you still close to any of your classmates and do you try to get together?

I am still close with classmates, mostly through texting and other forms of social media. It is tough being so far away but I always enjoy the conversation when given the chance. I have been back out to Oregon a few times since graduation, which has allowed me to see some friends and enjoy Portland.

4. What made you choose UWS over other schools?

Most chiropractors in North Dakota graduate from Northwestern Health Sciences University in Minnesota or from Palmer in Iowa. I was looking for a change in scenery and a new challenge. My overall choice between schools came down to UWS and Northwestern. I toured both schools and after looking at various factors, such as board scores, location, campus, community and overall fit for my personality, it was obvious that UWS was the right choice for me. The education you receive from UWS is top-notch and the staff is amazingly helpful and knowledgeable. If given the opportunity again I would make the same decision in a heartbeat.

5. What made you decide on this education/career path?

While attending college at the University of North Dakota, I was a health sciences major and a bit undecided about what I wanted to do long-term. I was competing as a track and field athlete at that time and I utilized chiropractic care to keep me in top shape and free of injury. I didn’t start considering chiropractic as a career, however, until my sophomore year when I was in a car accident that lead to neck and lower back pain. Not only did my chiropractor provide me with relief from the accident quickly, but I stayed well and was able to continue to compete at a high level. That is when things started to click and I decided I wanted to be involved in chiropractic for the rest of my life.

WILDCARD: What was your favorite thing to do around Portland?

Portland is such a beautifully unique city with so much culture, amazing food and beer, spectacular views of the mountains, ease of access to the coast and ocean and opportunities to explore. My time at UWS was great – the program is challenging but so worth the struggles. You receive a great education, meet wonderful people and get to enjoy it all in an amazing city. You leave UWS with a degree that is going to greatly help people, while being part of a profession that is at the forefront of the health and wellness movement.