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Integrated Clinical Practice Chiropractic Residency Program

The Integrated Clinical Practice Chiropractic Residency Program at VA Palo Alto health care focuses on the provision of chiropractic care in integrated health care systems, collaborating with primary care, specialty care, and other medical and associated health providers and trainees.

The residencies provide advanced clinical training in multimorbid case management, allowing recent graduates to increase their scope and depth of clinical knowledge, experience, and acumen. Residents are mentored by senior VA chiropractors, who are national leaders in integrated chiropractic practice. These clinicians share their expertise in patient care, academics, and research to provide a robust educational experience.

These hospital-based training programs expand the residents’ ability to collaborate with other health care professionals in team care, as trainees learn with and from other health care providers during interdisciplinary rotations. Residents develop their knowledge of hospital practice, policies, and procedures, and are better prepared for future positions in VA, other health care systems, and/or academic settings.

Program outcomes

  • 100% (3 of 3) Program graduation rate
  • 100% (3 of 3) Hospital setting job placement

Program duration

Full-time (40 hours/week) for 12 months, from July 1 through June 30 of the following year. Additional weekly time may be dedicated to scholarly or other training activities.

Number of positions

One resident position each year

Learn more about the program below.


The mission of the Clinical Practice Chiropractic Residency Program at VA Palo Alto health care is to prepare chiropractic residents for clinical practice in hospitals or other medical settings, and/or academia, through hospital-based clinical training, interprofessional education, and scholarly activities.

Eligibility requirements

  1. Applicants must hold or be scheduled to receive a DC degree from a CCE-accredited school prior to the start of the residency program, with a minimum GPA of 3.25/4.00.
  2. Applicants must be eligible for or hold a current, full, active, and unrestricted chiropractic license in a state, territory, or Commonwealth of the U.S., or in the District of Columbia.
  3. Applicants must have documentation of at least 3 months of direct patient care activity within the last year. Clinical rotations during chiropractic school will suffice for recent graduates. Observer experiences and non-clinical graduate work do not meet this requirement.
  4. Applicants must submit the names and email addresses of 3 references. Strongest weight is placed on references who have directly supervised the applicant in an official capacity, and/or have direct knowledge of the applicant’s clinical/professional abilities. These individuals will receive an email asking them to complete a reference form for the applicant.
  5. Applicants must meet all VA employment requirements, including U.S. citizenship and Selective Service registration when applicable.
  6. Applicants must have sufficient written and spoken English language skills as to make patient care safe and effective.

Resident goals/objectives

Residents will acquire postgraduate clinical experience in hospital-based chiropractic care.

  • Residents will provide supervised patient care at satisfactory levels of competence to a broad population of musculoskeletal cases, most commonly spinal, in the context of collaborative team-based care.
  • Residents will gain experience in managing a range of complex/multimorbidity cases.

Residents will engage in interprofessional educational experiences with relevant medical, surgical and associated health specialties.

  • Residents will complete clinical rotations in primary care, physical medicine and rehabilitation, other relevant medical or surgical specialties, behavioral medicine, and other associated health disciplines.

Residents will participate in scholarly activities to gain experience relevant to integrated practice and/or academia.

  • Residents will complete scholarly assignments, online didactic courses, and collaborate with other chiropractic residents to complete group assignments.
  • Residents will attend scholarly presentations among available hospital and/or academic affiliate offerings.
  • Residents will engage in research activities, present scholarly material and/or clinical workshops to staff or trainees at VA or academic affiliate venues.

Program faculty

Robert Walsh, D.C. (Residency Program Director)

Dr. Walsh received a B.S. from Simon Fraser University and his D.C. degree from Palmer West in 1995. He has been with VA since 2015 after becoming the first chiropractor appointed to the medical staff at VA Palo Alto health care. He has a background in sports, working as both a certified chiropractic sports physician (CCSP®) in private practice for 20 years and as a team doctor for multiple sports teams ranging from local to the NFL level.

Dr. Walsh was appointed to the VA Chiropractic Field Advisory Committee and has been the residency program director for the Palo Alto program since its inception in 2019. He has been a professor and faculty member at Palmer West for 10+ years and has had years of board of directors experience for his state chiropractic association. He is additionally acupuncture trained and employs this regularly at the VA Palo Alto’s combined chiropractic/acupuncture clinics.

Attending Staff Faculty

The VA Palo Alto Chiropractic Residency Program consists of 8 attendings in total; 3 attendings are located full-time at the main Palo Alto campus, and the rest providing services at the Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC) in Fremont, Livermore, Monterey, and San Jose.

Together, the team holds over 100 years of clinical practice, bringing to VA years of diverse experience from private practice, as well as treating athletes at the professional, Olympic, and amateur levels. Four attendings are prior graduates from the VA Chiropractic Residency Program across the country and bring the added benefit of first-hand resident experience to this site.

The staff has over 30 years of experience in higher level education, serving as both associate professors and adjunct faculty at our academic affiliates. Team members hold multiple diplomates and certifications in subspecialties including sports, orthopedics, rehabilitation, and manipulation under anesthesia. Members of the VA Palo Alto chiropractic staff are actively engaged with the broader chiropractic profession, having served on state boards, state chiropractic associations, the American Chiropractic Association, American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians, and as a CCE site-visit team member.

The VA Palo Alto chiropractic division also engages in several research opportunities with a growing number of peer-reviewed articles, and team members regularly present at local and national conferences.


Training takes place throughout the health care system, and although the resident will primarily be located at the main hospital (3801 Miranda Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94304), they will also be expected to travel to our medical center in Livermore, as well as the Monterey, Fremont, and San Jose Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC) to familiarize themselves with the unique differences and challenges between a medical center and a CBOC's needs and resources.


  • Livermore: 4951 Arroyo Road, Livermore, CA 94550
  • Monterey: 201 9th Street, Marina, CA 93933
  • Fremont: 39199 Liberty Street, Building B, Fremont, CA 94538
  • San Jose: 5855 Silver Creek Valley Place, San Jose, CA 95138

Learn more about VA Palo Alto health care

Clinical facilities

The VA Palo Alto chiropractic clinic is composed of 3 exam/treatment rooms furnished with state-of-the-art exam/treatment tables, computers, and other necessary equipment. Two additional conference rooms with computers and high-resolution imaging viewing stations are available.

The Monterey and San Jose chiropractic clinics are composed of 2 exam/treatment rooms furnished with state-of-the-art exam/treatment tables, computers, and other necessary equipment.

The Fremont and Livermore chiropractic clinics have one treatment room furnished with state-of-the-art exam/treatment tables, computers, and other necessary equipment.

Library support through VISN 21 Online Library is available as well as Palmer College of Chiropractic Librarian services.

Curricular overview

Residents provide full diagnostic and management services of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions under the mentorship of senior VA Doctor of Chiropractic (DC). This includes team-based management of complex conditions in collaboration with other medical specialists and health care providers.

Residents also engage in clinical educational rotations through services, including primary care, medical or surgical specialties, mental health, and rehabilitation disciplines.

Additionally, residents participate in various scholarly activities, and attend and give presentations at multiple academic/research venues of VA facility and/or its affiliates.


The resident stipend is established based on geographic location by the VA Office of Academic Affiliations. The compensation for the 2023-2024 academic year was $47,047, and is expected to be $47,988 for the 2024-2025 academic year.

This stipend is not contingent upon resident productivity. Residents are paid on a 2-week salary period. Residents receive paid federal holidays, and accrue vacation and sick leave. Residents are also eligible for life and health insurance.

Residents are protected from personal liability while providing professional services at a VA health care facility under the Federal Employees Liability Reform and Tort Compensation Act, 28 U.S.C. 2679 (b)-(d).

Certificate of completion

Upon satisfactory completion of program requirements, the graduate will receive an official certificate of residency, and records will be maintained at the VA Palo Alto and the VHA Chiropractic National Program Office.

Application process

Resident selection is through a competitive process considering factors such as academic background, relevant experience, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and telephone and/or in-person interviews.

A call for applications is issued each year in January. All VA Chiropractic Residency Programs participate in the national chiropractic residency common application and match process. For further information and to apply, visit Chiropractic Residency Match. Applications are only accepted during the open call. Visit the VA Chiropractic Education and Training website for more details.

Decisions are made by a selection committee.


The chiropractic residency program at VA Palo Alto health care received its initial accreditation status in January 2023 by The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE), 8049 North 85th Way, Scottsdale, AZ, 85258-4321; phone: 480-443-8877, or website.

This marks the beginning of the next 3 year accreditation cycle, with the next routine accreditation activities for VA Palo Alto health care scheduled to be a self-study report in spring of 2025, followed by a site visit in fall 2025.

Chiropractic leadership and staff at VA Palo Alto

Robert Walsh

Robert Walsh DC, CCSP® (RPD)

Chief of Chiropractic Section

VA Palo Alto health care


Annie Babikian

Annie Babikian DC, CCSP, DACBSP®

Chiropractic Supervisor

VA Palo Alto health care


Dr. Alec Schielke

Alec Schielke DC, DACRB

Staff Chiropractor

VA Palo Alto health care


Bret Sullivan

C. Bret Sullivan DC, DABCO

Staff Chiropractor

VA Palo Alto health care


Kevin Kaldy

Kevin Kaldy DC, DACRB, CCSP®

Staff Chiropractor

VA Palo Alto health care


Peter Hibl

Peter Hibl DC, MS

Staff Chiropractor

VA Palo Alto health care


Robert Butler

Robert Butler DC

Staff Chiropractor

VA Palo Alto health care


Patrick J. Rukavina DC

Patrick J. Rukavina DC

Staff Chiropractor

VA Palo Alto health care


Bryan W. Ignacio DC, MS, CCSP®

Bryan W. Ignacio DC, MS, CCSP®

Staff Chiropractor

VA Palo Alto health care


Ellen M. Chevillet DC

Ellen M. Chevillet DC

Current Chiropractic Resident

VA Palo Alto health care