During the March ACA House of Delegates meeting in Washington, D.C., the delegates' message to the Board of Governors was very clear: The ACA must begin reaching out to nonmembers in unprecedented and exciting new ways, and it must answer those who continue to purvey misinformation and untruths. As a result of that message, the ACA has taken new and dramatic steps.
Beginning in January 2005, the ACA will reach the entire chiropractic profession (both DCs and students) every month with a new professional newspaper called the ACA News. This professionally written and designed newspaper will replace the current ACA Today newsletter and will educate doctors of chiropractic about developments affecting the ACA, their practices, their profession and their role as leaders in national health care issues. It will also frame the profession's national agenda, build a sense of community among all within the profession, and inform and demonstrate to nonmembers that involvement with and support of the ACA and its programs are essential to the future and professional livelihood of every doctor of chiropractic.
In my opinion, ACA News will rapidly become the chiropractic newspaper that DCs trust the most to obtain truthful and balanced information about our profession's national agenda. In a word, I believe it will quickly become the "gold standard" or "benchmark" for fair and honest reporting on the important national issues that affect this profession.
But there is much more to be excited about. Also in January 2005, the chiropractic profession's only indexed and peer-reviewed journal - the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) - will become the official scientific journal of the ACA. Print and online subscriptions will be provided free to all ACA general members. All other membership categories will receive deeply discounted rates on both print and online subscriptions.
Not only will ACA members benefit from the cutting-edge information contained in JMPT, but the ACA will also become synonymous with quality research - improving our credibility, image and status with legislators, policy-makers, the media and the general public.
To accomplish these amazing goals, the Journal of the American Chiropractic Association (JACA) will transition to a Web-only version called JACA Online. It will be housed in an online, fully searchable database, allowing ACA members instant access to a wealth of clinical and educational materials to assist them in their practices. The database will be searchable by date, keyword, author name or subject, and will be accessible 24 hours a day to members only, at no charge. Non-ACA members and the general public will be able to access the full text of articles for a nominal fee.
The ACA knows that these changes are dramatic, but extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures - exciting new measures that will impact the chiropractic profession for years to come. Yes, we are at a crossroads. Swift and compelling action now, that stirs nonmembers to action, will help us break down the remaining barriers to parity and full recognition for chiropractic within the U.S. health care system.
In the very near future, the ACA will begin officially notifying its members and advertisers about these new and exiting developments through our publications, electronic newsletters, news bulletins and a variety of other communications. We look forward to promoting these exciting changes that will benefit ACA members, nonmembers and the profession as a whole.
Author's note: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions, policies or positions of the American Chiropractic Association.
James Edwards, DC
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