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Dynamic Chiropractic – January 29, 2008, Vol. 26, Issue 03
Dynamic Chiropractic
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Dynamic Chiropractic

The FCER - Past, Present and Future: The Fulfillment of a Vision

By Reed Phillips, DC, PhD

The Past

Note: The following historical information was taken from a history of the FCER written by Dr. Arthur Schierholz.

In 1943, Dr. Earl Liss, Michigan delegate to the National Chiropractic Association (NCA) convention, had a vision and presented a plan.

His plan was the creation of a foundation within the NCA for the purpose of conducting chiropractic research. The resolution was approved and the Chiropractic Research Foundation (CRF) was formed. Clarence Weiant, DC, PhD, was named the first director of research.

The CRF was charged with four primary goals: 1) Obtain radiographic evidence of anatomical changes brought about by a single adjustment; 2) Study the effects of posture on the degree of subluxation; 3) Investigate asymmetries of the vertebra, particularly those which would have a bearing on radiographic interpretation; and 4) Study the physiological effects resulting from the adjustment of a specific vertebra.

Articles of incorporation and bylaws were drafted and approved by the NCA at its convention in 1944. The Council of Past Executives (past presidents of colleges and other NCA organizations) was given charge to organize the CRF. The CRF accepted the following as charter members/trustees/officers, each of whom contributed $1,000: Dr. Charles G. Lemly, Texas (secretary/treasurer); Dr. Harry K. McIlroy, Indiana; Dr. Arthur W. Schweitert, South Dakota (president); and Dr. Frank O. Logic, Michigan (vice-president).

The original articles of incorporation designated the following purposes of the foundation.

  • To receive gifts for the use and benefit of chiropractic education, research, sanitariums and hospitals.
  • To promote the science of chiropractic, particularly in the research of all the scientific aspects of chiropractic.
  • To promote adequate facilities and equipment for the full and complete education of students in chiropractic colleges.
  • To promote chiropractic sanitariums, hospitals and clinics.
  • To gather and disseminate reliable information concerning the science of chiropractic, and to generally promote the science of chiropractic.

By February 1945, Chiropractic's Jubilee Year, 130 members were listed as "donors," at the cost of $500 each. Under the leadership of Dr. Weiant, research director for the CRF, a five-point program was presented to the NCA at its 1944 convention. The five points were:

  • The problem of defining and recognizing the forms of anatomical relationship to which the skeleton is subject.
  • The problem of determining to what extent these forms are fixed or vary with alterations of posture and other physiological activity.
  • The problem of recording the anatomical changes produced by the application of the various chiropractic techniques.
  • The problem of determining the physiological effects resulting from the application of chiropractic techniques.
  • The problem of recording objective clinical results and correlating these with the data obtained in the pursuit of problems one through four.

In addition to these five points, Dr. Weiant also circulated a research questionnaire to the NCA membership through the NCA Journal. In this same year, the NCA set aside $5,000 to support the CRF.

By 1946, with the war over, there was great enthusiasm to build the CRF and thereby build chiropractic. A professional fundraising and public relations firm was hired. The firm of McGruder and Associates of Denver put forth a six-year program which included:

  • Public relations to further acceptance of chiropractic.
  • Raising the ethical standards of chiropractic.
  • Developing a national lay organization to support the CRF.
  • Construction of high-standard chiropractic schools at large universities.
  • Construction of hospitals and sanitariums where chiropractors could work with laboratory facilities.
  • A greater amount of research to be pursued for the benefit of mankind.
  • The development of a strong professional unifying force through the CRF.
  • Supporting legal counsel to correctly inform the public on legislation opposed to chiropractic.
  • A financial plan to back the program.

After about 18 months of diligent effort to raise public awareness of the benefit of chiropractic care and, in turn, obtain significant funding, McGruder and Associates were dismissed and all fundraising efforts were stopped. The effort had been a failure and the CRF went into a form of hibernation.

In 1952 when post-WWII college enrollments began to fade, Dr. Lorne Wheaton of Connecticut proposed a fundamental change in the purpose of the CRF. He felt that endowing chiropractic colleges was the most significant need to assure future survival and viability. A thrust to raise educational standards and facilities and to obtain accreditation should be high on everyone's priority list.

Chiropractic also was experiencing the dismissal or reduction of what insurance payments previously provided. Many practicing chiropractors felt the profession was on the verge of extinction.

In 1956, the foundation's name was changed from the Chiropractic Research Foundation (a name felt to have little appeal to the practicing DC) to the Foundation for Accredited Chiropractic Education (FACE). Education became the "battle cry." FACE received a contribution of $50,000 from the National Chiropractic Insurance Company in 1958, with the intent of upgrading education in chiropractic colleges. The Board of Trustees consisted of: Dr. Clyde Martin (California); Dr. Cecil Martin (New Jersey); Dr. James Dupre (South Carolina); Dr. Melvin Higgins (Idaho); and Dr. Arthur Schierholz (Iowa).

This upgrade action was opposed by the college presidents, who felt their greatest need was to put the money toward student recruitment. The need of funds in chiropractic education was so great that the NCA approved a $20-per-year dues increase in 1959 that would net an additional $100,000 per year for FACE to put into chiropractic education. However, the distribution of funds was based on the findings of an investigation of each institution and then allotted on a per-need basis. Such a plan could never be equitable to everyone and resulted in some serious internal disputes between the schools, the foundation, the NCA and the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE).

In the '60s, FACE would put pressure on the schools to raise entrance standards, improve faculty qualifications and generally improve the overall quality of the educational experience. Many schools were in need of improving or actually building new facilities that also demanded financial support beyond the ability of the schools to meet.

When CCE was finally recognized by the U.S. Office of Education as an accrediting body for chiropractic education, FACE already had adjusted to the future by going through another name change to become the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research (FCER). There was to be a renewed focus on research.

By the late '70s, FCER had formed the Chiropractic Research Commission. This body was composed of a representative (supposedly someone doing research) from each of the chiropractic educational institutions, including those who traditionally had not received support from FACE due to their affiliation with the International Chiropractors Association (ICA). A new mini-grant program also had been established to enable chiropractic institutions to invest in the beginnings of research projects and pilot studies. The foundation also started its support for doctors of chiropractic who wanted to pursue a master's degree that would provide research training.

Scott Haldeman and I were the first to receive such research fellowships granted by FCER. Since that time, more than 100 graduated DCs have been supported in the pursuit of either an MS or PhD degree. The FCER is preparing a list of such recipients and where their careers have gone.

The Present and the Future

There is much more to be said about the history of the foundation. The many corollaries between the past, the present and the future are quite amazing. For example:

  • The initial primary goals of the CRF still are fundamental to chiropractic research programs today.

  • The need for funding beyond membership dues to carry on with programs remains a challenge today.

  • The need for a better public image and the difficulties of how to make that happen (The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress).

  • The need for continually upgrading chiropractic education and institutions.

  • The momentous support from the NCMIC for research and education, then and now.

  • The need for more research-trained people who come from a chiropractic culture and background.

What the profession needs to understand is the sensitivity of the FCER to the needs of chiropractic - in practice, education and research - and its ability to adjust to help meet those needs. Going from the CRF (focused on research), to FACE (focused on education), to FCER (focused on both) is an example of this sensitivity.

In this day of evidence-based health care, the FCER has again demonstrated its agility to help the practitioner and the student. The launching of our evidence-based resource center (EB-RC) is the first step to addressing current needs. A second step is the creation of our evidence-based Web page - DCConsult. This Web page is in the beta stage of development and will be rolled out to a larger portion of the profession at the 2008 Parker Seminars in Las Vegas.

Just as in the 1940s, today doctor fees are being reduced and/or denied. FCER, as the repository for all information on chiropractic, has initiated the rudiments of a practice-based research network by enlisting representatives from each state in the U.S. (the potential for an international network is being considered) to participate. This network, once fully assembled, can become an information source that can address many problems currently being faced by the profession.

The FCER continues to accept and seeks to support applications for research grants, as well as research fellowship training programs. The requests for such support continue to supersede the available funding for the grants received. The foundation has once again seen the need for the profession and has stepped up to the plate to address these needs. The EB-RC, DCConsult Web page (more to come) and the State of Research network are but three examples of what is happening.

The functions of the FCER are vital to the health and well-being of chiropractic. The support of the individual members of the profession through membership dues, contributions, bequests and gifts are vital to the health and well-being of the foundation.


Click here for previous articles by Reed Phillips, DC, PhD.

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