Donor generosity has enabled the UW Department of Family Medicine (DFM) to establish the new Dr. Martin and Charlotte Gallagher Scholarship for Prolotherapy.
The scholarship supports family medicine residents, fellows and/or clinicians who have a strong interest in prolotherapy, and who are committed to providing it in their practice.
Prolotherapy is a regenerative injection therapy in which a physician injects a sugar-saline solution into painful joints and soft tissue attachments. It’s most commonly used to relieve pain in the knees, shoulders, neck, back, and elbows.
The UW DFM is a leader in prolotherapy-related education and research, as demonstrated by its annual Prolotherapy Conference and Research Symposium in Madison, and its participation in the annual prolotherapy service-learning trip to Honduras.
A ‘Life-Changing Experience’
Alexandra (Sasha) Ilkevitch, MD, is the scholarship’s first recipient.
She, along with the DFM’s Michael Weber, MD, and David Rabago, MD, recently returned from the 2015 service-learning trip to Honduras.
The experience began with a day of lectures and workshops. Volunteers then divided into groups to set up clinics in three locations – the rural mountain town of Olanchito, and the north coastal towns of La Ceiba and Tela – where patients are already waiting for them.
For the next two weeks, Dr. Ilkevitch worked with experienced prolotherapy instructors and expert practitioners from all over the U.S. to treat people suffering from a variety of musculoskeletal pain conditions.
She said that the hands-on practice and the exposure to a variety of teachers made for an extraordinary immersion-learning experience.
“I will be applying many of these skills in my everyday practice, especially knee, shoulder, elbow and low back injections,” she reflected. “My palpation skills have improved tremendously as well, which will be a big addition to my skill set.”
“This has been a life-changing experience and I plan to use, build on, and one day teach the skills I acquired during my trip to Honduras.”
—Gallagher scholarship recipient Sasha Ilkevitch, MD
For Dr. Ilkevitch, it was also an honor to care for local Hondurans, many of whom could not otherwise afford medical care. “It was a privilege to see patients walk better and report pain relief,” she noted. “I had a patient who we treated for pain and limited mobility of the right shoulder. At the end of the session, the patient had a huge smile on his face as he got some immediate improvement.”
“I am very thankful to the Gallagher scholarship for this opportunity,” she added. “This has been a life-changing experience and I plan to use, build on, and one day teach the skills I acquired during my trip to Honduras.”
About the Gallaghers
The scholarship is named for Martin Gallagher, MD, DC, MS, and Charlotte Ciotti Gallagher, MS, DC, co-founders of Medical Wellness Associates, an integrative medical facility in Jeannette, Pennsylvania.
Originally a chiropractor, Dr. Martin Gallagher returned to medical school to become a family physician with specialties in nutrition, medical acupuncture and prolotherapy.
He first met the DFM’s Jeff Patterson, DO, and Mary Doherty—both international experts in prolotherapy—shortly after his family medicine residency.
He traveled with them to Honduras to learn prolotherapy, and has since performed it for thousands of his patients. He’s also received prolotherapy to successfully eliminate his own upper-body musculoskeletal pain.
In addition to participating in the Honduras trip and presenting at the annual prolotherapy conference, Dr. Gallagher is also on the faculty at West Virginia University’s Department of Family Medicine, where he instructs residents in integrative medicine and acupuncture.
Published: April 2015