By Jan Dean
IT was about six years ago that Zach Swarts had an important meeting with Dr. Thomas Sartor – a chiropractor and owner of NorthShore Health Associates.
At the time, Zach was at something of a crossroads.
Born and raised in Port Dover he was passionate about Lake Erie, fishing and the small-town values he learned growing up.
When he headed off to Western University in London at 18, he was planning a career in healthcare. He also wanted to return to Port Dover to practice.
At Western, Zach earned a Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences and a Master’s degree in Anatomy and Cell Biology.
It’s where he also met his future wife, Ayala David.
He was ready to start the next stage of his life and sought some career advice from Dr. Sartor –who he had known for years.
“At NorthShore Health’s first location, they had a big aquarium,” says Zach. “Fish and water have always fascinated me so I used to take care of it when I was in public school.”
When he came into the office for that meeting “Niki [Mitchell] the office manager recognized me as ‘the kid who used to clean the fish tank’,” said Zach.
“When I talked to Tom [Sartor] he really liked his career and his life here,” said Zach. “It showed me the possibilities and I made a decision.”
Zach applied and was admitted to the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) in Toronto while his fiancée headed to Thunder Bay for three years to earn a law degree.
Living in London and then in Toronto confirmed for Zach his preference for small town life.
During the summers, he worked as a fishing guide. He spent three summers at a fishing camp on the Manitoba/Ontario border and three summers working at a fishing camp 500 miles north of Winnipeg.
Everything was going according to plan when the pandemic hit during his fourth year at CCMC.
The final year is spent getting clinical experience and in Nov. 2020 CCMC turned to externships for fourth year students.
Zach came home to Port Dover for his externship at NorthShore Health Associates.
“I started by shadowing Tom and eventually got my own patients,” says Zach.
After his final exams, he returned to Port Dover to take his position as the second chiropractor and acupuncture provider at NorthShore Health Associates.
Now he is officially Dr. Zach Swarts B.HSc., M.Sc., D.C., C.M.A. Chiropractor and Acupuncture provider.
The work has been incredibly rewarding.
At NorthShore Health Associates there’s a team of five healthcare professionals – two chiropractors and acupuncture providers, a physiotherapist and two massage therapists plus half a dozen staff who support them.
The chiropractors stagger their hours which enable them to offer evening appointments.
“There’s a real sense of camaraderie here,” says Zach.
Zach’s is a physically demanding job but also one with great variety. It’s no longer just about doing chiropractic ‘adjustments’. More often it’s about soft tissue treatments with low voltage therapy, ultrasound, laser therapy and use of a Micro Therm/Diapulse Machine. They also make custom orthotics for some clients.
Many treatments require expensive technology.
“Some people still request a quick adjustment but we have a lot of different ways we can treat someone,” says Zach.
Outside the office, Zach put down his own roots here again. He and Ayala married in the fall and honeymooned in St. Lucia.
They bought a house, renovated and moved in – all since last February.
Ayala works in family law at the Simcoe firm of Cobb and Jones.
Zach has joined the Minor Hockey Association in Port Dover and plays regularly – as his father continues to do and as his grandfather did.
Life is pretty good for Zach.
“Growing up in Dover was amazing and it’s been good to see the town grow,” says Zach. “My goal has always been to come back here.”
NorthShore Health Associates is located at 697 Highway #6 in the mall next to St. Cecilia’s School and welcomes residents to call them to discuss any of their services.
Originally published January 11, 2023