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Dynamic Chiropractic – May 21, 2001, Vol. 19, Issue 11

Chiropractic in the American Public Health Association

A Model Course for Public Health Education in Chiropractic Colleges

By Michael Perillo, DC, MPH
The University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic, the School of Public Health at Yale University, the Association of Schools of Public Health, and the Health Resources and Services Administration (part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), are pleased to announce a collaborative project to develop a model program for public health education in chiropractic colleges. This project, (ASPH Project #H092-04/04) is supported under a cooperative agreement from the Health Resources and Services Administration through the Association of Schools of Public Health.

The participants include the School of Public Health at Yale University, the applicant school; the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic; faculty from seven other chiropractic colleges; and representatives from the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC), and the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE).

The applicant schools are represented by:

Elaine Anderson, MPH, principal investigator, Yale School of Public Health
David Katz, MD, MPH, project director and associate clinical professor of public health and medicine, at the Yale School of Medicine; and
Michael Perillo, DC, MPH, chiropractic project director and adjunct professor of epidemiology and public health, University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic.

The amount and content of courses in public health conducted at the 16 accredited U.S. chiropractic colleges are not standardized. The course hours are considerably lower than in medical education. Courses vary widely, depending on the interests and expertise of the individual instructor. Many courses do not mention the chiropractorÍs role in public health, and neglect several important prevention topics. Through efforts begun by the Chiropractic Health Care Section (CHC) of the American Public Health Association (APHA), a template syllabus was offered. The current project, which uses the template syllabus as a jump-off point, is designed to address the issue of course content and presentation of public health for chiropractors.

The project, which officially began in September 2000, was initiated with baseline surveys of current public health attitudes; beliefs and behaviors of chiropractic students; public health faculty; and a sample of field practitioners. The assessment team is currently analyzing this data.

Project members were assembled into working teams in the core areas of public health (epidemiology; biostatistics; environmental health sciences; health service administration; behavioral studies; and health education), and such areas as occupational medicine and preventive health services. All members contributed in the design of overall program goals. Area teams then began to develop initial subject-specific learning objectives, content and instructional approaches. Each groupÍs recommendations were disseminated to the other groups for review and comment. Overall content was periodically reviewed by a combined public health/chiropractic advisory group. Chiropractic public health faculty and former task force members not directly involved with the project have also been asked to provide review and comment throughout the project. As adoption into the educational system is key, all task force and public health faculty have been informed of this project and invited to participate in some fashion.

Project participants include many of our colleagues with extensive expertise in education; private practice; research; and curricular development. Included were:

Dr. Cheryl Hawk, DC, PhD, associate professor, Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, chair, CHC model syllabus task force;
Dr. Jack Barnette, PhD, associate professor of community and behavioral health, University of Iowa College of Public Health;
Mr. David. Aberant, MS, associate professor of microbiology and public health, New York Chiropractic College;
Dr. Jerrilyn Cambron, DC, MPH, assistant professor, department of research, National University of Health Sciences;
Dr. Linda Bowers DC, professor, clinical sciences, Northwestern Chiropractic Health Sciences University;
Dr. Fred Colley, MPH, PhD, professor, clinical microbiology and public health, Western States College of Chiropractic;
Dr. Bart Green, DC, MsEd, associate professor, Palmer West College of Chiropractic;
Dr. Claire Johnson, DC, MsEd. associate clinical professor, Palmer West College of Chiropractic;
Dr. Robert Jusino, DC, MPH;
Dr. Rand Baird, DC, MPH, project advisory group, Los Angeles College of Chiropractic;
Dr. Frank Zolli, DC, EEd, dean, University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic; and
Dr. Vernon Temple, DC, DABCO, secretary, National Board of Chiropractic Examiners

The project group also conducted a public health workshop in conjunction with the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC) annual meeting in San Diego, March 12-16, 2001. The workshop, open to all conference attendees, was a combination of presentations and group discussions in key public health areas. It included the following:

  • Opening Address - Public Health in Chiropractic - What Is the Use? M. Perillo,DC,MPH.

  • Health Promotion and Preventive Services Can Enhance Chiropractic Practice! Presentation and Group Discussion: L. Bowers,DC, B. Green,MSEd.

  • Epidemiology and Immunization in Chiropractic Education - an Oxymoron? J. Cambron,DC,MPH, F. Colley,MPH,PhD.

  • Chiropractic Integration in Public Health - Stories from the Real World: C. Hawk, DC,PhD, K. Konarski-Hart,DC.

  • What do they really think? Report on Student, Faculty and Practitioner Attitudes on Public Health Surveys: C. Hawk,DC,PhD.

  • Challenges to Integration - It Doesn't Happen by Accident: Moderator: M. Perillo,DC,MPH, B. Green, DC, MSEd, V. Temple, DC, DABCO, K. Konarski-Hart,DC.

  • Field Doctors and the DOH: What Should Our Relationship Be? E. Alkon,MD.

  • CHC-APHA membership recruitment strategies: R. Baird,DC,MPH.

The conference also included several public health paper presentation sessions, in such areas as ergonomics; tobacco control; wellness; exercise; nutrition prescriptions; and others provided descriptions of recent and ongoing chiropractic college activities in a variety of public health-related areas.

The workshop and paper sessions were well attended, sparked lively discussion and exchange, and provided an excellent opportunity to inform and expose chiropractic educators to the projectÍs work. Many good suggestions were offered throughout the weekend. An unexpected by-product of the conference has been the surfacing of a number of previously unknown chiropractic colleagues who are public-health-trained or working in a variety of public health related positions. We hope to enhance relations with these newfound friends and include them as participants in the ever-increasing chiropractic - public health relationship.

The model program project will culminate in the fall of 2001 with the production of a faculty workbook that will contain program goals, subject-specific objectives and syllabus outlines. These will be disseminated to all chiropractic colleges and other interested parties.

This project provides the profession a unique opportunity to enhance chiropractic education, develop working relationships with the field of public health, and benefit the patient population through renewed and enhanced participation with the public health endeavor.

M. Perillo,DC,MPH
Rockville Center, New York

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