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Keeping up with…David Harvey

As the University celebrated Black History Month* in October, we caught up with David Harvey DC (Master of Chiropractic, 2015) as he reflected on his life choices en route to becoming the recent co-founder of Health Shak, an award-winning healthcare startup. 

Keeping up with…David Harvey

As the University celebrated Black History Month* in October, we caught up with David Harvey DC (Master of Chiropractic, 2015) as he reflected on his life choices en route to becoming the recent co-founder of Health Shak, an award-winning healthcare startup. 

What inspired you to study Chiropractic at USW?

Growing up, I competed in Track & Field at a National level, but my progress was inhibited by a persistent, non-traumatic back injury which nobody could seem to find a solution for. After seeking help from a friend and training partner, who was also a chiropractor, I finally found a solution. Having seen the powerful effects of the treatment first-hand, when all else had failed to deliver, I was inspired to do the same for others.

For me the turning point in deciding what to study at university came in 2010, a year before I began my studies, when tuition fees rose to £9,000. 

As the level of investment to study at university was raised, I made the conscious decision to choose to a subject that would directly open doors to specific work. I believe that university study should be seen as an investment which pays you back over time. My course gave me specific skills and knowledge to become a professional and be able to carry out a specific type of work, which I am immensely grateful for. Where many new graduates struggle after leaving university to find employment opportunities, I was able to secure a job within a few months of my graduation.

What brought you to USW and how was student life for you?

The chiropractic course at USW is one of the nation’s finest, and I was thrilled to see a top 3 ranking position for Health Professions maintained in the recent 2021 Guardian League Table. 

On the course we were provided with extensive educational resources, supportive tutelage and mentorship, as well as state of the art facilities. Throughout our study, we were shaped and moulded into enthusiastic and driven professionals. During my studies, I also competed in Track & Field, especially the Long Jump event, achieving the BUCS National Championships Finals, and became Welsh Champion in 2013. The University provided a platform for me to be able to excel in both academia as well as competitive sports, by providing opportunities and support across the board.

2021 Guardian League Table

It’s been five years since graduation, so where has life taken you?

I am proud to be Co-Founder and Clinical Director of my own chiropractic business, called Health Shak. We are based in Chiswick, West London and since graduating I have continued my learning in Advanced Biostructural Correction™ (ABC) and Applied Kinesiology (AK). I am currently studying to become a certified ABC instructor and training for my first powerlifting competition. I aim to prove that it is possible to lift heavy weights without causing long term damage to the body, and I apply this knowledge and experience to treat elite sports professionals.

Less than 1% of Chiropractors in the UK are from black backgrounds

General Chiropractic Council; Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Report, 2017

During my studies, as well as in the working world after graduating, I was surprised by the diversity demographics within my profession. After discovering that only 0.6% of Chiropractors in the UK are from black backgrounds and only 16% are aged under 30 years old, I have made it my mission to empower others and inspire future generations through representation. In medical and health professionals, black people are massively underrepresented, and I believe it is our job as professionals to provide social proof to encourage and motivate young people, in particular, to consider careers in health and serving others.

What advice would you give students following in your footsteps?

If I could change one thing about my time as a student at USW, I would focus on two things in particular – networking and finding mentors. 

Finding a good mentor can help to accelerate your learning curve massively. By learning from people with real-life experience, you can avoid making the same mistakes they did, and thus grow more quickly. I would attribute much of my success to the support from my coaches and mentors over the years, as well as my ability to listen and act on advice from them. Understanding that the greatest successes require teamwork is a major key, and the mentor-mentee dynamic is very much a two-way street.

Networking has changed so much since I was a student, but its value is just as important as ever. The exponential growth and impact of social media cannot be underestimated, and utilising it as a tool in the world of business is now imperative. Finding other like-minded people, an interest group or a particular niche market is just a few clicks away. I would encourage students to start building their professional networks as soon as possible (the USW Careers Service and Alumni Team can help with this) so that they will already have a platform to springboard from when they graduate.

How can we keep in touch with you?

Website: healthshak.co.uk
Instagram: davidharveydc
Facebook: davidharveydc
LinkedIn: David Harvey DC

*Founded in the UK in October 1987, Black History Month is a nationwide celebration of African and Caribbean culture, arts and history, which recognises the achievements and contributions of Black people to British society.