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Research Personnel, Adjuncts, and Affiliates


Monica Smith, DC, PhD

Dr. Monica Smith is the Director of Research at Life Chiropractic College West. Since 1987, Dr. Smith has been affiliated with various health services research programs/projects at St. Louis University School of Public Health, SLU School of Medicine, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Louis, MO (VA-STL), Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, University of California, San Francisco Institute for Health Policy Studies, and Department of Veterans Affairs-Greater Los Angeles (VA-GLA). Her research interests and published work is focused on evaluating and improving cross-disciplinary coordination of health care; evaluating and improving the cost, quality, outcomes, availability, and integration of evidence-based chiropractic and complementary/alternative health care; and supporting evidence-based health care delivery (organization, financing, utilization, practice/provision, education, policy). Dr. Smith has presented extensively at national and international forums for health care research and health policy.

Charles Henderson, DC, PhD

Dr. Charles Henderson is a graduate of Western States Chiropractic College (DC, 1977) and practiced in Springfield, Oregon, until he enrolled in a doctoral training program at the University of South Florida, College of Medicine (PhD in Medical Sciences awarded in 1992). He retired as an associate professor of research from the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research in 2012 and has since served as a technical consultant in statistical analysis, study design, and grant and manuscript preparation through Henderson Technical Consulting. Dr. Henderson has researched and published scientific papers on the biomechanical, histological, and neurophysiological consequences of intersegmental spine hypomobility. Dr. Henderson serves as a senior member of the research staff at Life Chiropractic College West (LCCW). His interest in chiropractic education has prompted him to collaborate on many education-research projects with chiropractic faculty. This collaboration has been quite successful, being regularly recognized at the Association of Chiropractic Colleges Research Agenda Conference. Most recently, Dr. Henderson designed the research training component of the LCCW Masters Program in Diagnostic Imaging (MSDI), and is appointed as an adjunct faculty member to mentor residents in that program.

Dale Johnson, PhD

Dr. Dale Johnson is a Research Scientist at Life Chiropractic College West and serves as the Research Compliance Officer and Chair of the Research Compliance Board. Prior to assuming his current role, Dr. Johnson served multiple roles at the college, including six years as the Director of Institutional Research, seven years as the Director of Research and 12 years as a faculty member in the Chemistry and Anatomy Department. He continues to work with teams of researchers on chiropractic clinical studies investigating outcomes of care (subjective and objective), clinical imaging, and educational research. He received his doctorate degree in physical chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1994, his master’s of science degree in Industrial Chemistry from the University of Central Florida, and his bachelor’s of science degree from North Carolina State University.

Donna H. Odierna, DrPH, MS, CIP, RH(AHG)

Dr. Donna Odierna is a Research Specialist and the Chair of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the Protection of Human Research Subjects at Life Chiropractic College West. The overall focus of her research is on social exclusion and health equity, with an emphasis on how structural and individual factors interact to affect population health. She is a Certified IRB Professional (CIP). She received her doctoral degree from the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, and completed postdoctoral studies in health policy and health services research at the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Odierna studied Clinical Herbalism at the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine and is a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild. In addition to her work at Life West, she serves as a peer reviewer for multiple scientific journals and conferences, and she volunteers as an herbalist at the Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic, which provides free integrative health services to low-income women with cancer in Oakland, California.

Krista Ward, DC, MPH

Dr. Krista Ward is a Research Specialist at Life Chiropractic College West. She earned her DC degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic West in 2003 and then gained skills in epidemiology and biostatistics through the Master in Public Health program at San Francisco State University. At SFSU, she received a Graduate Student Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Master of Public Health Program after completing a secondary data analysis of the California Health Interview Survey, assessing the association between insurance status and health-related quality of life in cancer survivors. Her research interests include health disparities, non-pharmacological pain management, quality of life and well-being, and educational effectiveness. Dr. Ward also teaches public health and research literacy classes at Life Chiropractic College West.


Joel Alcantara, DC

Dr. Alcantara’s interest in research began at the University of Calgary in the Department of Biological Sciences as an undergraduate student working on biofilm formations. As a chiropractic researcher, he has been affiliated with the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research and Life Chiropractic College West. His research interests are diverse with publications in the quality of life and patient satisfaction of chiropractic patients, the safety and effectiveness of pediatric care, women’s health (particularly during pregnancy) and biomechanics of the spinal adjustment. Dr. Alcantara has presented his research at scientific conferences worldwide and is a post-graduate faculty in a number of chiropractic colleges. In addition to his research contributions at Life West, he coordinates the largest and most successful practice-based research network in the chiropractic profession as Research Director for the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association.

Aditi Joshi, PhD

Dr. Aditi Joshi is a research consultant for Life Chiropractic College West. Her research interests are psychophysiology and stress responses. She has a strong academic background in neuroscience and has taught courses in Neuroscience at the UC Berkeley Extension. She is also interested in pedagogical research related to universal design for learning (UDL). Dr. Joshi received her doctoral degree in human physiology from the University of Oregon (2007) and conducted her post-doctoral research at the University of California, Los Angeles PsychoPhysiology Lab and Department of Neurology (2007-2013).