A Dawn to Dusk Commitment
Student: Doctor of Chiropractic
During the weekdays, Saad Yamlikha is often on the Life University campus from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. going to classes, teaching Trigger Point classes in the Wellness Center, working as a gym supervisor, helping as a research assistant, working on his own research project and working in the clinic with patients. His dedication to Chiropractic and wellness is from dawn to dusk.
Yamlikha was born in Syria, but he lived most of his life in Dubai. When he was ready to start his undergraduate degree in Biology, he moved to study at Shawnee State University in Ohio where he lived with a host family. Yamlikha always knew he wanted to get into the healthcare field because he has always been fascinated with the functioning of human biology.
“Back when I was in middle school and high school, I used to read my science textbooks from front to back for fun.” But for a while, Yamlikha didn’t know what he specifically wanted to do in the healthcare field.
After he graduated with his undergraduate degree, he wasn’t sure where to go next, so he worked in Columbus, Ohio for a year at an insurance company.
Yamlikha discovered Chiropractic and Life University around the same time. In October 2015, his “American mom” got into a car accident.
“Luckily the injuries were not too bad, but she was suffering from severe back pain and got referred to a chiropractor that helped her a lot,” he says. “At that point, I was working in the insurance company and had checked out physical therapy, nursing and pediatrics, but nothing was resonating. I hadn’t heard of Chiropractic back then, so my American host mom encouraged me to check it out because I was also suffering from lower back pain.”
After Yamlikha shadowed at three separate chiropractic offices, they all suggested he attend Life University, even if they hadn’t attended LIFE themselves. They suggested he go to a LIFE Leadership Weekend and see it for himself. The mission and vision of the University resonated with Yamlikha, and he knew right then he had finally found his path.
“I fell in love with the school message and spirit, and here I am,” he said. “I felt like this was a place where I belonged, and Chiropractic is for me. I loved that it was a natural way to help the community with minimal side effects compared to other forms of health care that encourage pills and surgery.” He started studying Chiropractic at Life University in October 2016.
“Both my parents have degrees in architecture, so it doesn’t directly run in the family, but my uncle who lives in Ohio is an M.D. and a few other relatives are also in the medical field.”
His family had never heard of Chiropractic, and because a lot of family members are M.D.’s and didn’t know what it was, they were not initially supportive of him attending a chiropractic program. Yamlikha was able to educate his family, and many of them began to see the benefits.
As someone who is often at the University from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Yamlikha is very involved on campus. “I feel like my time at Life University has been both challenging and rewarding. Transitioning from Biology to the first year of Chiropractic wasn’t too difficult because I was familiar with the beginning courses, but the second year became a little more challenging. However, I feel like they prepared me well,” he explained. “I really enjoy Dr. Fox’s classes in Radiology and Clinical Diagnostics. It may be unpopular choices because these classes are not easy, but he holds SI sessions every Monday, and even after finishing his classes several quarters ago, I still go to his SI sessions to retain the information.”
Yamlikha’s typical schedule includes a class at 7:00 a.m., then working in the gym as a supervisor, lunch for an hour and then working with patients, then two more classes and going back to the gym to teach a fitness class called Trigger Point from 6:00-7:00 p.m. “I am also a research assistant and have a personal research project I am working on because I am on a RISE scholarship,” he adds.
The Research, Innovation, Service and Education (“RISE”) Scholarship provides opportunities for students to compete for $2,250 in scholarship funding while working under the mentorship of a Life University faculty or staff adviser on research or other evidence‐based education, service, entrepreneurial or creative project. Yamlikha’s topic of interest is exploring the neurobiology of patients before and after chiropractic care to see if there are significant changes.
For more than two years, Yamlikha volunteered in the research center and was recently hired as a research assistant. “I do a lot of literature searching, clinical investigations, data collection and analysis,” he says. “Right now, we are mostly working on the depression study with the NeuroLIFE institute. Patients who are on medication that isn’t working for them go to NeuroLIFE to get treatment and see the difference without medication.”
In his free time, Yamlikha likes to read news and books related to healthcare topics, such as nutrition, sleep and exercise. He enjoys playing video games with friends, and on summer and winter breaks he goes back to Ohio and visits both his host family and his uncle. “My parents still live in Dubai, and because they are Syrian nationals, it is difficult for them to travel these days.” He hasn’t seen them in person for almost six years, but they Skype almost on a daily basis.
The PEAK (Practice, Excellence, Art and Knowledge) program is a program designed to allow senior interns to complete their clinic requirements under the direction of an off-campus doctor. In one of his seminars last year, Yamlikha met a doctor that he related to.
“I felt like we were on the same level mentally, and he had recently applied to be a PEAK doctor, so I will be his first intern,” he noted. “So, I went to visit this last summer and fell in love with the clinic. The atmosphere felt similar to the clinic I imagine I would run in the future.”
Yamlikha plans to graduate in June 2020 and may either stay in Charleston, South Carolina with the doctor he interns with or go back to practice somewhere in Ohio near his two families.