Dr. Charbel Medlej
Originally from - Arlington, VA
Current location - Virginia
Year graduated - 2020
Name of practice - McGuire Hunter Holmes VA Medical Center in Richmond, VA
I grew up in the DC area, and spent most of my life there until moving to the Quad Cities to become a Palmer College student and rugby player. My family is from Lebanon so I was prepared for a big culture shock moving to Iowa.
I wanted to become a chiropractor so I can be a part of the healthcare field that manages pain, primarily spine pain, from a conservative and holistic approach. Being an athlete my whole life, I have seen the negative impact musculoskeletal pain can have on people's lives, and so I wanted to be part of the solution for that. Palmer College having a rugby club I could join while being a student made the decision a no-brainer. There's no sport in the world that is as inclusive and welcoming as the rugby community and so I knew I would instantly have a family from day one at Palmer that would serve as a close support network through the busy and difficult 3 years of the academic program.
I quickly learned that this family was not just through my teammates at school, but also through the extensive Palmer Rugby Alumni network that were still very connected with the school and the rugby club. And just as the older rugby players and alumni help guide you through the program and early part of your career, you give back to those younger than you in the same way.
Rugby was also a great outlet from school, and it allowed me to travel all over the Midwest to see places and have experiences I never would have had if I was not part of the rugby club. Through Palmer's rugby club, I met my now wife, Riley Durbano, who started at Palmer two years after me. Riley became the Athletic Trainer for the women's team during my last semester at Palmer. We endured long distance as she advanced through the program and I went off to do my VA Clerkships in Tuscaloosa, AL and Pittsburgh, PA and then my post-graduate residency at VA Finger Lakes in NY. Fortunately, we both eventually landed positions in Virginia. I took on a full time position at the Richmond VA Medical Center while she was hired on at the chiropractic clinic where she completed her preceptorship. Riley is working in a sports chiropractic clinic where she works with primarily high level athletes. If I could go back and do it over again, I would become a Palmer Rugby player while I pursue my DC degree 100 times over again.