Dr. Paul Dougherty

1990 Logan Graduate

Dr. Paul Dougherty’s introduction to chiropractic came in junior high when he witnessed a chiropractic physician treating his father’s back. Ever since then, Dr. Dougherty had his sights set on becoming a chiropractor.  

“I’m one of those people who knew this was the only career I wanted to do,” he said.

After earning his undergraduate degree in biology from Northwestern College in Iowa, Dr. Dougherty decided to enroll at Logan. There, he would meet professors, such as Drs. Norman Kettner and Glenn Bub, who would have a profound influence on his career, especially in the area of research.

“They took an evidence-based approach to clinical care and I very much admired that,” Dr. Dougherty said.

Following graduation in December 1990, Dr. Dougherty’s career took him from private practice in New York to an assistant professor position at New York Chiropractic College during which time he directed one of the first chiropractic clinics within a nursing home. 

Today, in addition to teaching, Dr. Dougherty is challenged with the task of being one of the first chiropractors to conduct research at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center.  

“Being the first to do something is a blessing and a curse,” he said.  “It’s a blessing because you get to write your own destiny, but it’s a curse because you get to make all the mistakes.”

Dr. Dougherty has not let the fear of mistakes keep him from evaluating the effects of spinal manipulation on frail elderly patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or assessing the brain and its response to pain—a study that has brought him back in touch with Dr. Kettner.

Not only has Dr. Dougherty conducted multiple research studies, he has excelled in them. In 2006, he received a VA Merit Award and was the first chiropractor to be named a principle investigator for a VA Merit grant.  In 2011, Dr. Dougherty was named the American Chiropractic Association’s Academician of the Year and received the Reed Phillips Award, which is unique to VA chiropractors. 

Dr. Dougherty recognizes the excitement his work provides and he credits much of his success to the opportunities he received at Logan, from an externship at the former etropolitan North and West Hospital in St. Louis, to valuable guidance from mentors, like Dr. Kettner, who have greatly influenced his career.  

Dr. Dougherty says he continues to be blessed with a variety of experiences involving patient care, teaching and research, and whenever given the opportunity, he encourages his students to diversify their experiences in the field.

“I tell my students to go and shadow a variety of chiropractors who practice differently than the way you think you might want to practice,” he said. “This helps you gain a better appreciation for different techniques and philosophies.”