Unity -- What a Concept!
The Profession Speaks Out
By Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), PublisherIn the December 6, 1991 "Report of My Findings" the question was asked: "Does chiropractic unity require one national association?" This was obviously an informal polling of those readers who chose to respond. These are the results of that poll:
Exactly two-thirds (66.7%) of all respondents were ACA members. Of those ACA members, 96.6% believed that unity did require one national association.
DCs not members of a national association were the next largest to respond, representing 21.8% of the total. Most non-members (94.7%) believed in unity by one national association as well.
ICA members comprised 11.5% of the total. Of that group, 60% believed that one national association was required for unity.
A few comments about the results of this informal poll:
The 60% of the ICA members that believed that national unity required one national association is still below the two-thirds (66.7%) vote that would be required for the ICA to take any such action.
Of those DCs polled, quite a number of them were members of both the ACA and the ICA.
Most of those who stated that one national association was required for chiropractic unity made comments that suggested a need for unity in the face of outside issues such as legislation, insurance, etc.
Many of the non-members who agreed that one association was needed for chiropractic unity stated that they would join if national unification could occur.
The survey allowed space for comments. The comments of the respondents who supported one national association were overwhelmingly similar. A comment echoed by many was exemplified by Dr. Larry G. Brown, a member of the ICA: "One association is essential to combine resources to fight politically to insure our inclusion in the eventual, inevitable national health care system!!!"
Perhaps even more revealing are the comments of those who stated that one national association was NOT required for chiropractic unity:
"Chiropractic unity will require the quality of mutual understanding, harmony, and respect, based on the inalienable right to freely choose and disagree." (Name withheld by request.)
"Mature cooperation between separate associations and speaking with one unified voice in Washington, D.C. are feasible and necessary for growth and nourishment of our profession. But since this has not been happening, perhaps one association would be better for us." -- David P. Holtrop, D.C.
"The ICA and ACA should unite in programs of public relations, insurance relations, legislation, education, and standards of care (PILES). Unity will be destructive to conservative input and conservative input will be necessary for our preservation as an alternative to medical care." -- Fred Barge,D.C.
"Too much waste of energy/money. I would think it more feasible to have a united voice to speak for the profession." -- William B. Marshall, Jr., D.C.
Also revealing are the comments made by those who don't belong to any national association:
"I don't know of two "AMA's" -- why two chiropractic associations??? Yes, democracy has two major political parties but goes by _majority _ and all follow the rules, laws, etc., of the majority." -- John M. Ostergren, D.C.
"At present I belong to two state (WI & MI) associations but not a national. I used to belong to the ACA but got tired of the constant infighting, but I would gladly join one national (united) association even if the dues equaled the same as joining the ACA and ICA combined." (Name withheld by request.)
"I will be proud and happy to join one national association." -- Carl W. Meinhardt, D.C.
"In order to establish a strong relationship with the U.S. government, the chiropractic profession must speak with one voice. In your article (publication) this was the case in Japan and Australia." (Name withheld by request.)
This was the situation in Australia and Japan. It was not an "all or nothing" merger, but a unification that was careful, gradual, and allowed for the retention of identity and mission by the individual organizations. Perhaps there is another way to obtain the unity that most of the profession still hopes for. The results of such a unification may be best expressed by Gerald L. Galles, D.C. (not a member of the ICA nor the ACA) who wrote:
"Paul Harvey once said, 'The chiropractors worst enemy is themselves.' We can't seem to get ourselves together on a state or national level. However if it ever happens _watch out_! We now have the chance to do things our forefathers didn't dream about. When we unify, I'll join state and national organizations, I promise!"
DMP Jr, B.S., H.C.D.(hc)
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