Matthew Arnott, a CMCC 2020 grad, is from Ottawa but aims to change lives in Uganda. He is the 2020 recipient of CMCC’s Jean A. Moss Fellowship Award, which invites graduating students to submit proposals for a global health and community development initiative.
Matthew’s $5,000 winning proposal is to provide a west Ugandan village, Kyakabaruka II, with access to clean water. Sponsored by an Ottawa non-profit, Ryan’s Well Foundation, which has partners in Uganda, he hopes it will be a first step on a lifelong journey leading global health initiatives.
As part of the project, Matthew plans to travel to the village to provide hands-on help, once it is safe to do so following the COVID-19 pandemic. He will fundraise his own travel there and back.
“I’m looking forward to meeting the people impacted by this project and sharing my knowledge about chiropractic and wellness,” he says. “Building a protected spring and providing WASH training (water, sanitation and hygiene), helps them stay in school, grow a sustainable community and improve overall health.”
In addition to clean water, he looks forward to bringing the learnings from his four years of chiropractic training as well.
“Chiropractors are uniquely trained in listening, empathizing and relating to people from all walks of life,” Matthew says. “On my trip, I hope to further improve the community’s health with my chiropractic knowledge and their insight on what health challenges exist.”
The journey to becoming a chiropractor
It was several years ago when Matthew’s work as an athletic therapist for the men’s varsity hockey team at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, sparked his interest in chiropractic. When players experienced back injuries he could not resolve, Matthew sent them to a chiropractor. The players’ recoveries after treatment piqued his interest in a chiropractic career.
“I’ve always wanted to work with people and with my hands,” he says. “The more I learned, the more it fueled my passion. And once I got to CMCC, I knew I had found the right spot.”
Building a career during a pandemic
Matthew plans to practice in his hometown, while recognizing the challenges of being a new practitioner. Joining the profession during a pandemic will not make things any easier, but he sees technology – especially telehealth – as an important resource.
“Chiropractors are going back, learning new standards and I think telehealth can be a vital tool,” he says. “So much of what we do is education. Patients think they’re just getting the adjustment, but the whole time we’re teaching them lifestyle skills, exercises and what they can do at home to improve their health. We can still ease their fears. All that can be done quite well over telehealth.”
As part of the graduating class of 2020, Matthew is also using resources developed by the CCA for new graduates to ready himself as they await their clinical competency exams to be able to practice.
“I’m looking forward to the webinars of the Chironomics series offered to us,” he says. “It will be helpful to understand how to get started, overcome hurdles, manage COVID and run a business. It makes it easy for us.”
His words of wisdom to aspiring chiropractic students: “Put in the work. It seems tough, and it is, but if you’re passionate about it, you’re going to get through it. My four years went by in the blink of an eye.”