chiropractic clinical educator interview

Comprehensive Care in the Community — An Interview with UB Chiropractic Clinical Educator and NAACP President Dr. Lesly Valbrun, DC MPH MBA(c) DIANM

Lesly Valbrun, Board Certified Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine and UB alumnus, found his calling as a professor and clinical care provider through UB’s post-graduate Neuromusculoskeletal Orthopedic Residency program. Still, the passion and care Dr. Valbrun brings to the clinic and to the classroom isn’t limited to the scope of chiropractic practice — as a devoted community leader, Dr. Valbrun also serves as president of the Greater Bridgeport chapter of the NAACP. As president, Dr. Valbrun is prioritizing education and the financial growth of the city and its residents, envisioning new opportunities for the community to thrive.

We sat down with Dr. Valbrun to explore his journey to UB, his role at the Chiropractic Clinic, and his community-wide efforts to help build a healthier Bridgeport.

The Search for a Hub of Holistic Care

There is no denying that Chiropractic is a unique branch of healthcare.

Much like Acupuncture or Nutrition, Chiropractic medicine takes a holistic and conservative approach to patient-centered care. By providing manual relief for muscular, skeletal, nerve, and joint discomfort, chiropractors are able to address sudden and chronic pain while avoiding the need for risky medications or costly surgeries. Ultimately, this care serves to mitigate prescription drug abuse, all while saving patients time and money on expensive treatments.

As a professional trained in Public Health, this is what made Chiropractic medicine first appeal to Dr. Valbrun.

UB: Prior to joining the UB family, you earned your master’s in Public Health. What inspired you to pursue your Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree at University of Bridgeport?

Dr. Lesly Valbrun (LV): I was in the public health sector for years and decided to pursue a terminal degree. I wanted to be a doctor but couldn’t decide on a specialty. I did some exploratory studies and found that chiro best matched my ideals and lifestyle. I valued that, as a chiropractor, I could help my patients address pain without surgery or drugs — all while helping them improve their physical functioning and quality of life. I think that surgery and medication play a very important role in medicine, but chiropractors have the capacity to make a direct and immediate impact without it.

UB: What inspired you to enroll in UB’s School of Chiropractic?

LV: I’d been living on the west coast for several years and was looking for a program that would be the right fit. Aside from being located closer to my friends and family, UB’s School of Chiropractic was ideally suited to what I was looking for in a school — it offered a highly reputable chiro program that took a scientific, research-based approach to studying chiropractic medicine.

UB: What is your mission as a chiropractor?

LV: I would like to provide high-quality care to as many patients as possible and improve the overall health status of our community. That’s why I’ve chosen to work within a community health center. Without practicing in a community health center, many of the people I treat would have great difficulty accessing this kind of care.

Community-Conscious Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic is often a misunderstood branch of medicine. Aside from claiming that their practice is based on fake science (or “pseudoscience”), some skeptics argue that chiropractors do little more than adjust your spine.

That’s where the naysayers are wrong. Aside from its legitimacy as a branch of medicine, Chiropractic care helps patients manage chronic pain — improving their overall health and quality of life. Moreover, accessible chiropractic care has the capacity to make a meaningful impact on the landscape of public health.

As a chiropractor and public health expert, Dr. Valbrun has committed himself to providing high-quality community-based care at the Community Health Center, Inc (CHCI). Better still, he’s taken his commitment to improving public health a step further, serving as a clinical educator for the chiropractic experts of the future.

UB: Why is it important that our communities offer accessible chiropractic care?

LV: The primary benefit of chiropractic medicine is that it can significantly improve a patient’s health without (or with limited use of,) pharmaceuticals. This is especially important when you consider how the opioid epidemic has plagued our communities. Without the use of drugs, chiropractors help patients feel better and function more efficiently, even if the underlying condition that’s causing the pain can’t be cured.

In many cases, chiropractic medicine can also minimize the overall cost of a patient’s treatment. For example, when a patient can treat a joint problem without surgical intervention, they avoid expensive surgeries and post-surgical treatments.

UB: After completing your doctorate, you continued working and teaching at UB’s School of Chiropractic and within CHCI clinics. What inspired you to make this decision?

LV: I have a passion for teaching, mentorship, and leadership. Having the opportunity to come back and help students work through clinical rotations and coursework felt like an important way to give back to UB and the chiropractic community. As an instructor, I have the privilege to shape and mold students into individuals who can make a significant impact on patient care.

A considerable benefit of working at UB and CHCI Clinics is the integrative healthcare approach. Many chiropractic offices are isolated, but in the Clinic, doctors can collaborate and work with different specialists to make referrals, build connections, and provide patients with the most comprehensive care possible.

UB: How does the UB Clinic remain culturally responsive in its approach to providing patient-centered care?

LV: When you consider Bridgeport, we have the highest number of Brown and Black folks per capita in Connecticut. In other words, we’re the largest city land-wise with the highest population of people who are considered minorities. Our chiropractic students have the opportunity to learn best practices for working with diverse patient populations, taking the time to understand patients’ individual values, and learning about the big picture factors that may be affecting their overall wellness. By working with patients in this manner, you can help them improve both their physical and mental health. It also helps students improve on their cultural competency.

Interested in improving the health of your community? At UB, we offer a selection of programs geared to prepare you for a career in healthcare or public health. Learn more about earning your degree at University of Bridgeport.


Inspiring Social Change

Complimenting Dr. Valbrun’s holistic approach to community health are his efforts to help Bridgeport grow. Through his volunteer work with the Greater Bridgeport NAACP, which he became president of last fall, Dr. Valbrun has made it his mission to improve the quality of life for Bridgeport’s citizens — facilitating economic growth and promoting financial literacy.

UB: When did you first begin working with the NAACP?

LV: I first became involved with the NAACP in 2018. It seemed like a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community. I reached out to our community organizers to learn how I could help. I met with the president, Reverend D. Stanley Lord, who was running the Bridgeport chapter at the time. He agreed with my vision for the organization and, together, we began putting ideas into action. Economics is the area I most wanted to focus most on developing. I would like the local community to provide meaningful opportunities for people to succeed economically.

UB: You currently serve as the president of the Bridgeport chapter. Can you describe your role as president?

LV: I became president in late 2022 after the tragic passing of president Lord. I previously served as the economic development chairperson and 1st vice president. As president, I’ve continued prioritizing the financial health of our community. It’s hard for people in a community to thrive if they’re dealing with financial instability, hunger, poor living conditions, or unemployment. These factors especially impact the elderly, young adults, and families with small children.

While my primary concern is helping individuals become more financially astute, we do a lot of work to influence and help economic development within Bridgeport and nearby towns. More jobs help our community, not just in terms of employment, but also for tax purposes. Tax money helps feed and educate our schoolchildren, rebuild roads, develop our infrastructure, and provide countless other services for the community.

Continuing to foster community growth

Despite his many accomplishments to date, Dr. Valbrun continues to consider how he can help the community. For Dr. Valbrun, it isn’t a matter of achievement so much as it’s a matter of giving back and inspiring meaningful change. For both UB and its students, the opportunities to do so are endless.

UB: What advice would you offer prospective Chiropractic students?

LV: We take a scientific, research-based approach to provide a comprehensive, state-of-the-art educational experience. Be the difference, and you will make a meaningful difference in the community. That being said, it’s important to remember that the most meaningful experiences are created by you. There are endless opportunities in life — take a good look at them and decide what suits you best.

UB: How can the Chiropractic Clinic — and the University at large — enhance its support for the physical, mental, and economic health of our local community?

LV: Socioeconomic status directly affects health status. Wherever there is poverty or a low median income for a region, the “haves” and “have-nots” become distinctly visible. Still, it can be easy to overlook how many people are affected by lack of access to care. Lower-middle-class individuals are impacted by a lot of the same issues that those who are considered poor face.

If we can reach out to the community and let them know about the opportunity to receive high-quality care right here in Bridgeport, it won’t only support their overall health — it will also improve their relationships with the community at large. When institutions such as UB take an active role in the community, it has the incredible capacity to inspire change, create economic growth, and improve the entire well-being of Bridgeport and its people.

At UB, #UBelong. We offer comprehensive student support services tailored to support your personal and professional success. Achieve a career where you can make a difference in your community by earning your degree at University of Bridgeport.

Learn more about UB’s career-focused degree and certificate programs — call 203-576-4552 or text 203-275-0401.