The message of chiropractic unity seems to be gaining ground, as the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA), the Colorado Chiropractic Society (CCS) and the Colorado Chiropractic Wellness Alliance (CCWA) have agreed to merge, choosing to combine their resources and focus their collective energies on advancing the profession.
The Colorado Chiropractic Unity Committee, comprised of members of each of the three state associations, was formed in November 2005 and tasked with the job of working to promote chiropractic harmony within the state. The committee moved quickly and in May 2006, held the first Colorado Unity Symposium. Just two months later, the committee forged an agreement, paving the way to work together as one state association.
Doctors of chiropractic who served on the committee included Terry Yochum (committee chair), Joe Arvay, Richard Bergeron, Jeanne Des Roche, Katherine Flesia, John Hanks, Rob Jackson, Amanda Kelley, Kristen Kells, Daniel Knowles, Tom Lankering, Hal Lease, Daniel Lemberger, Larry Morries, Robert Nelson, Bruce Shotts, Tom Stanzel, and Nelson Vetanze. Other committee members included Joyce Martello and Don Mielke. During the process, the committee sought the help of a familiar figure who has been involved in state and national unify efforts across the country - Gene Veno. The committee held a day-long strategy session with the executive director of the Pennsylvania Chiropractic Association, who has been heavily involved in unification efforts over the past several years, not only in his home state, but also in New Jersey, Michigan and Virginia.
"Unity is not about giving up your practice beliefs." Veno said. "It is simply allowing one's colleagues to have a voice in the process for the good of the profession and its future! When you achieve harmony in thought, you accomplish unity. Now that the Colorado chiropractic profession has achieved a unified association, they will become a legislative force of representation that is so needed in every state house across America where laws and regulations are written."
The unity committee will continue to work toward three basic goals: promoting the chiropractic profession to the public, enhancing the practice of the profession through legislation and education, and preserving patients' rights. "I believe it [unity] will make the chiropractic profession in this state much stronger from a legislative standpoint, as we have a new governor coming in next year," Dr. Yochum said. "The legislative liaison can deal with only one unified group. It will benefit the finances with support to seminars. It will help vendors to support one association instead of three."
The details have yet to be worked out in terms of how the members of all three associations will merge and how nonmembers will be encouraged to join in the state's chiropractic unity effort. "We will use the unification of the new Colorado Chiropractic Association to reach nonmembers within the state so they will understand that there is now strength in the numbers of one association," said Dr. Yochum. "If you are not a member of the one new CCA, then you are not being fair to your profession."
Future activities include meeting with chiropractors in a small group setting, as well as special appearances at meetings and other gatherings. Dr. Yochum will present "The Chiropractic National Anthem" at the 2006 CCA state convention in September. Dr. George Goodheart, developer of applied kinesiology, will make a special appearance, and Veno will facilitate a luncheon discussion inviting doctors, their staffs, exhibitors and chiropractic colleges to learn what chiropractic unity will mean for the state of Colorado. An open forum with the Colorado State Board of Chiropractic Examiners also is planned. Visit www.coloradochiropractic.org for more information.
"My advice [to other states seeking unity] would be to begin an open channel of communication, which seemed to be the biggest barrier in starting this process," said Dr. Yochum, adding, "This unification could never have occurred without the hard work and commitment of [the] committee. I wish to publicly thank them for their untiring efforts. In addition, a special thanks must be rendered to Mr. Gene Veno for helping to arbitrate the final discussion that led to this unification."
Will Virginia Be Next?
Officers of the Virginia Chiropractic Association (VCA) and the Virginia Society of Chiropractic (VSC) held a second meeting in Richmond on June 24, 2006, following an initial meeting a few months earlier. Meeting participants focused their discussion on the betterment of chiropractic in the state and offered open communication regarding what barriers are keeping the profession splintered throughout the state, and what can be done to lessen and remove those barriers. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Chris Frey, a general member of both organizations. Prior to their first meeting, both groups polled their membership to determine if there was statewide interest among the profession to see the organizations unified.
As a result of this second meeting, a "task force" has been formed, made up of several officers from both organizations. The task force is charged with looking at the regulatory status of chiropractic in Virginia and attempting to lessen some of the barriers of unification identified during these first two meetings. The task force began initial conversations immediately and will continue to make periodic reports to each organization's leadership.
The following doctors of chiropractic attended the second unity meeting: Scott Cypher, VCA president; Sandy Elbaum, VSC president; Joe Foley, VSC treasurer/secretary; Richard LaBarbera, VCA education committee chair; Meredith Oudt, VSC regional director; Bob Stickle, VCA district director; Larry Stine, VCA immediate past president; Tripp Stover, VSC regional director; Jefferson Teass, VCA treasurer; and Bill Ward, VCA vice president and district director. Julie Connolly, VCA executive director, also was in attendance at the meeting.
For more information about ongoing unity efforts in Virginia, contact the Virginia Chiropractic Association at and the Virginia Society of Chiropractic at .
In the past several years, five states (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan, Colorado, and Virginia) have completed mergers or are in the process of pursuing merger options. Which state will be the next to pursue unity among its doctors of chiropractic? Look for updates in future issues of DC. To learn about recent unity efforts, access the following articles online:
- Unity in New Jersey. Dynamic Chiropractic, Jan. 15, 2005. www.chiroweb.com/archives/23/02/18.html.
- Michigan chiropractic associations explore merger. Dynamic Chiropractic, Sept. 27, 2005. www.chiroweb.com/archives/23/20/09.html.
- Merger in Michigan; unification also a hot topic in Colorado, Virginia. Dynamic Chiropractic, June 6, 2006. www.chiroweb.com/archives/24/12/11.html.