Looking Forward to Chiropractic's Future
By Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher
This first "Looking Forward" article should really have been authored by my father, Donald M. Petersen, DC.
It was his vision that established Dynamic Chiropractic as the first and only chiropractic publication mailed to "every doctor of chiropractic, chiropractic student and chiropractic supplier known to exist on the planet Earth."
This was more than just our slogan on the masthead.
It was part of our mission to bring "unity without uniformity to the chiropractic profession through increased knowledge and tolerance" - a commitment that is renewed in every issue.
My dad was a second-generation doctor of chiropractic. He was born in 1927 and graduated from chiropractic college in 1950 after a tour in the U.S. Navy. Chiropractic was his life from early childhood to the day he died in 1988.
Dad started Dynamic Chiropractic in 1983. Sadly, he was involved in only 93 of the 588 issues we've produced during the past 25 years. I'd like to share with you what he would write today based upon he what wrote in those 93 issues. Interestingly enough, many of his comments then still have relevance today. Dad seemed to see into our future, even 20 years ago:
For those of us graduating from chiropractic college in 1950, and for those graduating before and shortly after, the battle cry was, "Well, they may outnumber us, control everything and constantly make us look bad - but the one thing we have they will NEVER have - is our chiropractic adjustment."
We were naïve then - as too many still are today. It was impossible for doctors of chiropractic graduating in the '40s, '50s, '60s and even the '70s to conceive that a major health profession would duplicate our chiropractic adjustment. We were conditioned then - just as too many are now - to believe that the adjustment of the spine and extremities was our "private domain" and that no one could, or would ever want or be able, to move in on OUR territory. Sure, we had the doctors of osteopathy, but they were small in number, and the new ones were being taught to use drugs and surgery, so they weren't looked upon as a threat.
No one bothered to get very upset and do much nationally as the physical therapists began getting state laws passed allowing them to become primary care practitioners, bypassing the traditional MD's prescription, taking patients direct and manipulating their spine and extremities. Oh, a few DCs in the state being invaded put up a fight, but no national campaign, drawing all in chiropractic together, to stop them.
Those of us that have been around chiropractic for the past 20-40 years know that it was service that won millions of people over to our profession, even when everyone else was calling us quacks. It was the doctor of chiropractic who took time to spend with each patient, to listen, and then to explain in detail what the problem was and how he or she would go about solving it, honestly, rationally - and at a reasonable fee.
Whatever our philosophy of practice, it was our chiropractic health SERVICE that pleased thousands of new people each day in the world that created the "public acceptance" that so many new doctors benefit from today.
Unfortunately, there are those who have entered the chiropractic profession primarily because they learned it was a good way to make money. These are the doctors that are providing SERVICE only to fatten their bank accounts - and if they continue, they could well "kill the Golden Goose."
The question facing chiropractic that our leaders, associations and colleges had better come to grips with soon, is whether they are going to continue to look the other way while the "rip-off" artists in chiropractic continue to destroy all the good that was finally achieved by all those years of so many rendering such good, honest, reasonable and responsible chiropractic SERVICE.
We have no right to expect that the 90 percent of the public that does NOT make use of our services (nor the news people in television, radio, magazines and newspapers) will ever respect us as TRUE professionals (and doctors) if we fail to take the necessary steps to make it happen.
United we will overcome - divided, never. Our profession can no longer afford the luxury of more than one association per state or more than one national association. Less than half the doctors of chiropractic in the USA belong to a national chiropractic association. That is shameful, both on the part of those who don't belong - as well as those running the national associations that haven't been able to create a desire for even 50 percent of those eligible to become members.
Finally, our profession must be willing to devote a great deal more money and time to effective public relations and community service campaigns that will make massive members of the general public - and most important, the press - begin to respect us- not just as a profession but also for who we are and what we are - DOCTORS of Chiropractic.
I'd like to end this article with our favorite quote from my father about the distinction between "good" news and "bad" news, particularly in terms of why we report both in the pages of this publication:
"DC is only as good as the story material we receive from the dedicated members of the profession. And when anyone is trying to take advantage of the chiropractic profession or individual members of it, you can be certain DC will get involved and try to get the true story told ... whether the news is good or bad is really in the eyes, and mind, of the person viewing that news. As far as DC is concerned, anytime a story is going to help chiropractic or any group or individual member of the chiropractic profession - then to us, that's good news. From our perspective, it is [also] good news when we can report bad things that are happening, and if by reporting it, everyone learns how and why chiropractic is getting hurt. If we can help open the eyes of those being misled, then perhaps more will unite and help put an end to the problem."
- "Beat at Our Own Game." Dynamic Chiropractic, October 1988.
- "The Singapore Sling." Dynamic Chiropractic, June 1985.
- "A Report of My Findings." Dynamic Chiropractic, March 1985.
- "Stark Naked in the Park." Dynamic Chiropractic, December 1985.
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