Toca! Tira! Golasso!
While you may not recognize these words ("Touch! Shoot! Goal!"), I hear them often. Years spent watching my children play soccer (fÃºtbol) in Southern California has resulted in many close relationships that have given me an insight into the Hispanic community, its language and culture.
Some say Spanish is the language of soccer. While this is certainly subject to debate, what is interesting is that almost every professional (or ex-professional) soccer player I have ever met can speak enough Spanish to be understood on the soccer field, regardless of their country of origin.
Depending on where you live in the U.S., you have probably been noticing that our population demographics are changing. Currently, more than 17 percent of U.S. citizens (one in six) are Hispanic. That percentage is much larger in my neighborhood (my son's soccer team is more than 60 percent Hispanic). Your neighborhood may be seeing an increase or concentration of people from other cultures as well.
It is important that we as a profession reach out to people of different cultures who are less familiar with the benefits of chiropractic care and begin to educate them. You may be surprised to find they are much more receptive than you anticipate.
If you haven't done so already, please read "Educating the Growing Hispanic Population About the Value of Chiropractic Care" in this issue. You will note that chiropractic is being introduced on Univision's "Cita Con Tu Salud" ("Appointment With Your Health"). There have also been a number of chiropractic segments over the past seven years on CNN Español.
In the same article, you will read that there are now more than 50 million Hispanics in the U.S. That number is expected to grow tremendously. Every person from a different culture makes our country great and offers another opportunity to share chiropractic and introduce them to health without drugs.
The challenge for you is taking some time to learn the culture (and some phrases), and be proactive enough to step out of your comfort zone. When you share your knowledge about health and wellness, you will begin to see people respond to who you are and what you do. Until then, they only know what they have heard from the media and others.
The good news is you don't have to order a language course from Rosetta Stone in order to fit in. As is true with most cultures, your effort to learn a few phrases (and possibly hire an assistant who is fluent, if appropriate) will show you are making an effort, one that is much appreciated. It shows people you care ... even if with poor pronunciation.
Less than 25 years ago, every doctor of chiropractic in the world graduated from a chiropractic college that taught solely in English. Today, there are more chiropractic colleges outside than inside the U.S.
Likewise, our population has changed, with people from other countries and cultures looking to enjoy the benefits of living in the U.S. Here in Orange County, we have small communities of people whose heritage traces back to all over Asia, as well as Central and South America.
Reaching beyond your current patient database is an effective way to grow your practice. Look at the different cultures that comprise your community. Then see what you can do to reach out to them and share how chiropractic is the best way to maintain their health. It is always a good time to get new patients.
Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.