Dr. Lorraine Golden, Dynamic Chiropractic's "Chiropractor of the Year"
By Editorial StaffThis has been a bittersweet year for Lorraine Golden, DC, the founder and executive director of Kentuckiana Children's Center.
Never seeking recognition for herself, Dr. Golden was once again honored for her work with children with special needs.On May 29, she was one of the six regional Community Health Service award recipients of the Alliance for Chiropractic Progress and Prevention magazine.1 She was then selected as the national award winner.
Just after the announcement of the Alliance awards came the heartfelt moment: Dr. Golden declared that she would step down as the center's executive administrator after 41 years.2
Kentuckiana has been such a shining, proud beacon for chiropractic. "Her children" have been receiving care and education since 1957. Kentuckiana has grown from a small outpatient clinic to a multibuilding facility that serves the clinical and educational needs of hundreds of children each year.
"I am a chiropractor today because of hearing Dr. Golden speak," Sharon Vallone, DC, Kentuckiana's acting executive director told DC earlier this year. "Dr. Golden has touched individuals for years with her heart, her devotion and her inspiration."
The retirement of Dr. Golden marks the end of an era for chiropractic. Today, Kentuckiana is fighting for economical survival and a fundraising campaign is underway.3
In the Beginning
Dr. Golden had planned on becoming a medical doctor until she learned about chiropractic and sought to use the natural resources of the body to heal.
A 1942 Palmer college graduate, Dr. Golden was under the tutelage of B.J. Palmer. She characterizes him as having enormous charisma, being extremely courteous, respectful, calm, kind and warm person.
The upper cervical technique was the primary technique Dr. Golden used in practice at Kentuckiana. She learned from the master, B.J. Palmer. "It was a thrill to watch B.J. do his HIO recoil technique. I did learn the lower back adjusting, but I still think B.J. was right (about using the HIO), and it's going to take many a year for enough of us to believe that strongly enough to really stay with it."
B.J. asked Dr. Golden to work with him and stay at the clinic. "Sometimes I have a feeling of regret. Would I be the same Lorraine Golden if I had to work beside a person like B. J.?"
Dr. Carl Cleveland III, president of the Cleveland chiropractic colleges in Los Angeles and Kansas City, interviewed Dr. Golden shortly after her retirement this year. Dr. Golden shared with him personal memories of 41 years of service.4
"I've always loved children and I've always wanted to see that they got the very best we have to offer." That was the motivation for opening Kentuckiana. The center found a home when the Veterans' Hospital allowed people to set up businesses in the facility's unused space. "They welcomed us with open arms. We went around and picked out the building we wanted," she explained. The bonus was that the government didn't charge her rent.
On October 18, 1957, her clinic for handicapped children opened. The special education center would come later. Over the door was the message: "Doorway of Hope." Many of the early volunteer staff were Mennonites. Dr. Golden later developed what was one of the earliest chiropractic assistant programs. The CAs were dubbed the "ladies in blue."
Who came to the center? Those that needed care and could not afford to go to a private practitioner. This was a period of polio epidemics. "I personally took care of 97 children myself during the polio epidemic. There were many anxious moments and praying," Dr. Golden recalls.
Early financial support for the educational side of Kentukiana came from major corporations and philanthropist W. Clement Stone. Dr. William Harris, the chiropractic philanthropist from Georgia, made the initial contact with Mr. Stone.
Kentuckiana Children's Center had one of the early multidisciplinary approaches to health within a chiropractic facility. There were doctors of optometry, medical practitioners and dietitians. Dr. Golden was the gatekeeper for the multidisciplinary team.
"I had always wanted this combined approach," she explained. "I'm a chiropractor and I certainly believe utmost in chiropractic. I say that we need to utilize all the disciplines and not just think, 'I'm the greatest and the only one,' that may help the patient."
The early days of Kentukiana were difficult. The Kentucky Medical Society attempted to close down the center. Articles in the Louisville Courier Journal appeared with critical commentary from MDs seeking to discredit Dr. Golden and the center.
Dr. Golden recalls: "I had to be extra cautious about everything, especially records. Some of our staff became perturbed at me because I was so strict. I would not let us be closed down based on technicalities. I said every record has to be in order so that if a medical doctor tries to come in and close us down, the records would support our activities. I had always told the girls that if anyone wants to see a record, just pick them at random. So they came in and reviewed the records, and the conclusion was that I had better records than they did."
Dr. Golden invited the press out for a tour to see for themselves. "(The press) tried to be objective," she ventured, but the Kentucky Medical Society went so far as to try to thwart Kentuckiana's efforts to gain support from the United Way.
Why? "They considered us nothing but cultist," Dr. Golden explained. "That was the image they were trying to position in the minds of people. But the community could see our good work, and that's why we were able to stay open."
Attorney George McAndrews, the lead attorney in Wilk et al. vs. AMA et al., used the examples of harassment of Kentuckiana by the Kentucky Medical Society in the Wilk case as further evidence of the medical establishment's campaign to destroy the chiropractic profession. It was just one more piece of damning evidence against orthodox medicine that led chiropractic to victory in Wilk.
By the will of Dr. Golden, Kentukiana survived those attempts to destroy it, but beginning in the 1970s, lack of funds forced the need to layoff staff. Dr. Golden took out loans against personal assets to make payroll at the center.
Sadly, this fall, the children's school had to be closed. There simply was enough money to keep it operating. Dr. Golden estimates that the minimum costs to keep the school and clinic open is $60,000 a year. But the children's clinic continues to operate with a limited staff. Dr. Golden's dream lives on, barely.
Without financial assistance, Kentuckian may soon be just a memory. Donations to this tax-exempt, nonprofit organization can be sent to:
Kentuckiana Children's Center
Passing the Torch
Dr. Golden's generation of chiropractors felt the full brunt of medical discrimination, yet kept moving forward. Now some of that generation is retiring and leaving the fight to the next generation. What advice does Dr. Golden have for today's chiropractors? It is, aptly, the Golden rule: "Treat each patient as you would like to be treated."
And what does she think of the chiropractic profession today?
"The philosophy of chiropractic is solid and natural. It is the usage and application of chiropractic that has changed considerably. I would love to see chiropractic returns to its fundamental principles."