For the past 31 years, Donna Liewer has been on a personal mission "to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." In her role as executive director of the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards, Liewer has accomplished that and much, much more.
Referred to as the "ethical compass" for the profession, Liewer has been a powerful driving force for state chiropractic licensing boards for more than two decades, although her influence and vision have not always been highly publicized. On July 17, 2014, Liewer will retire from her post, but her legacy as a champion of chiropractic seems certain to keep driving the profession forward long after her departure.
"Through her dedicated service to our profession, FCLB has earned the respect of national and international regulators in both chiropractic and other professions," said Dr. LeRoy Otto, federation president, in announcing her retirement.
Making an Impact
One glimpse into Liewer's professional background and it isn't too hard to see how her hard work and dedication have enabled chiropractic licensing boards across the country to better serve the profession today.
Liewer's involvement with the chiropractic profession began in 1983 at the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, where she helped ensure the licensure and competency of doctors of chiropractic. In 1989, she made her way to the FCLB. Since then, she has spearheaded a long list of innovations including the Chiropractic Information Network / Board Action Databank (CIN-BAD); Providers of Approved Continuing Education (PACE), which streamlines CE provider assessment and reduces paperwork for CE approval and credit; NewsAlerts – which alerts state boards to chiropractic media stories and potential disciplinary issues in their jurisdictions; and most recently, a groundbreaking program to certify chiropractic clinical assistants (CCCA).
She also co-authored a two-volume history of chiropractic regulation with Dr. Joe Keating, consolidated all of the federation's primary functions through a central database, and took the federation into the future by launching its website.
In her quest to make the world a better place for chiropractors and their patients, Liewer has ensured accountability and patient protection remained at the forefront of her career focus at all times. This drive earned her the prestigious George Arvidson Award for Meritorious Service to Chiropractic in 2006 – adding to a long list of accolades she has received throughout the years.
Her push for a "revolution of vision and civic duty" was noted at the awards ceremony, as well as her leadership in expanding the federation's accessibility and services to member boards.
Leaving Her Mark
In addition to her work at the FCLB, Liewer also has earned the respect of her colleagues throughout the years with her involvement in other important health care entities as president of the Federation of Associations of Regulatory Boards, and FCLB representative to the National Practitioner Databank and the International Chiropractic Regulatory Collaboration.
As an active participant in the improvement of the profession, we can all thank her for a stellar legacy that will undoubtedly continue to influence the advancement of our state licensing boards in the future.
"It is my deep and abiding desire that the Federation will continue to grow and thrive," she commented upon announcing her retirement. "This has been more than a job for me these past 25 years; this has been an adventure shared with brave explorers seeking a better world for the public."
As she begins the next chapter in her life, Donna Liewer (newly married and now Donna Cohen) can walk away knowing she truly made a difference and leaves big shoes to fill.
For a glimpse into Donna's perspective on chiropractic and regulation over the years, read "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow in Regulation," published in our 500th issue of DC (July 29, 2004).