Dynamic Chiropractic – March 11, 2002, Vol. 20, Issue 06
The Alliance of State Chiropractic Spokespersons
By Chester Wilk, DC
The Alliance of State Chiropractic Spokespersons (ASCS) has been formed to bring together the "best of the best," handpicked from every state, with its prime mission being to contact virtually every radio station, TV station, newspaper and legislator in America to effectively communicate the chiropractic message.
We'll need the "official spokesman" title to get the attention of the media.
We need to take the lead from some of the "media hogs" who grab every opportunity to get before a microphone, TV camera or newspaper reporter. For example, Ralph Nader and Jessie Jackson received more exposure in the past year than the entire chiropractic profession has in the last 30 years! Disregard their political or philosophical views. That's not the issue! I'm talking about media exposure, period! We need to emulate them, and we don't have to apologize for assertively going to the media because our message is vital to the nation's health and welfare; with the appropriate spokespersons, we can deliver our message with dignity and class.
Our adversaries used to snicker when we'd say we adjust the spine to correct vertebral subluxations as a safe and effective means to correct and maintain health. Now they want to steal spinal adjusting and take it into the gutter with second-rate imitators and medical "weekend wonders," while isolating superiorly trained chiropractors from the mainstream. The danger of chiropractors ultimately losing their identity as spinal adjusters who correct subluxations is genuine! I am not crying "wolf!"
The ASCS can become our prime weapon for public education. The best health care demands honest and objective interprofessional cooperation and the best service that each profession offers. While this sounds very basic and logical, it simply isn't happening to the extent it should. Doing any less than this is like putting a bandage over a hemorrhage. Drug houses spend a billion dollars a month promoting drugs and, at times, mislead consumers about their effectiveness.
The only way chiropractors can effectively compete in the health care market and set the record straight on conservative rational health care is by taking our powerful message to the media with certified "state association chiropractic spokespersons." The agonizing and frustrating question has been how to most effectively prepare spokespersons. We knew what had to be done, but didn't know how to do it. Our best chiropractic presidents may not necessarily be the best media communicators. Inversely, our best media communicators may not necessarily make the best presidents. Each has a niche. Speaker bureaus were considered as one option to educate the public, but they had some glaring deficiencies. There had to be a better way, but it was not clearly evident until now. The Alliance of State Chiropractic Spokespersons provides the best answer.
The Function of ASCS
- First, this is not just another organization. It is a funnel for gathering the names of certified state chiropractic spokespersons, and inviting them to Chicago to share ideas on how to best communicate our message. I will donate my time and moderate the meetings to keep them lively and informative. There will be no fees for attendance, other than covering expenses of the meeting room. The state associations can sponsor and send their best official spokespersons. Their state associations, as "official chiropractic spokespersons," should certify the participants. Being an "official spokesperson" is what opens doors to the media and press, while providing the highest credibility and exposure at no cost. It would be a great honor and privilege to share ideas and information with the finest chiropractic communicators in the country!
- The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) gave its unanimous official endorsement to my book, Medicine, Monopolies, and Malice (MMM). The top brass in both ACA and International Chiropractors Association (ICA) like the book, and the ACA Board of Governors took the initial step with its endorsement of the book. First, the book provides solid evidence supporting the therapeutic superiority; safety; cost-effectiveness; scientific/clinical/government studies; high patient satisfaction ratio over medicine; and the quality of our training. Second, it brings in the valuable historical background necessary to fully understand chiropractic's roots, especially for those becoming spokespersons. Third, it cites examples of medical abuses and dishonesty, and then shows the reader what must be done if we are to have honest and rational health care.
- The ACA also gave unanimous official endorsement to developing chiropractic spokespersons. This is extremely important, since it brings credibility and a major influence to this vital program. Since the ACA is officially supporting the spokesperson program and MMM, I urge you to support the organization. If you are not a member, now is a great time to join and show your appreciation for its courage and wisdom, while sending a message to the others. This program can become the biggest PR success story in chiropractic's history! On the other hand, if you favor the ICA, urge it to officially endorse the book and program, and if it does, support that group. We want official support of all chiropractic organizations, and we'll work with and support all who work with us. We are all in this together.
- I run an ad that goes to 5,000 radio and TV stations in the U.S. and Canada through the Radio, TV, Interview Report (RTIR). I'll let you know if I get any calls for radio or TV interviews in your state. (These are usually done by telephone.) These numbers represent the tip of the iceberg! Much more information is found in MMM, which contains everything you need to know to be a spokesperson (and educated patient).
- Certifying state chiropractic spokespersons. Search your state for the best communicators with the appropriate temperament, impeccable integrity, and the willingness to be team players by communicating the views of the state organization. The state associations can use study groups to test the spokesperson candidates on how well they respond to questions, and think on their feet. MMM could be their textbook, since it enjoys virtually the approval of all chiropractors. The book could eventually become chiropractic's white paper. If you doubt it for a moment, read it critically and see for yourself!
- States with multiple associations and differing views. Don't get hung up on minor differences. Does every medic agree on everything? Of course not. That's the nature of health care. There's an old saying: If you get three radiologists to read the same set of x-rays, they will give you three different opinions. It is both unrealistic and na¥ve to think that we can ever get 65,000 chiropractors to agree on everything, including the time of day. We agree on far more, so we should dwell on where we have common ground.
- Where do we get books? My original publisher was purchased by another company and replaced. When this occurred, my book was dropped from the new publisher's line and all book rights reverted to me. I became the sole supplier for the book, so you can purchase it in case quantities and get a far better discount from me than any publisher could ever afford to give you. Besides, I have divested myself from all profits on the book (after expenses) with 80 percent going back into chiropractic. This way, I can shamelessly and aggressively promote the book without appearing like a mercenary.
When we have official state chiropractic spokespersons appearing on talk shows, I urge that they promote MMM as being available from their local chiropractors. Get listeners into chiropractic offices to meet the doctors, staff and see the facilities! They can advance the chiropractic profession and their own images in the process, and become local media celebrities and heroes. It's a "win-win" situation.
- How will funds be distributed to the profession? Since the ACA was the first to officially endorse MMM, it was given the right to choose the benefactors. We are a crisis-prone profession. There will always be some worthy 401C3 chiropractic tax-exempt cause to support, like ACA's current S.O.S. project to "save our subluxation," or some other cause. The ACA will choose wisely. A certified public accounting firm will submit quarterly records of book income and expenses to the ACA and certify their accuracy. With spokespersons promoting the book in all states, it can bring millions of dollars into chiropractic. Imagine the exciting impact of hundreds of America's finest chiropractic communicators contacting every radio, TV, newspaper and legislator with our message as "official state chiropractic spokespersons," while bringing in new patients to chiropractic, and millions of dollars to some worthy chiropractic causes. I trust that you share my enthusiasm. Any chiropractor not getting excited about this program needs to check and see if he or she has a pulse!
for previous articles by Chester Wilk, DC.