As the 11th president of the International Chiropractors Association, I assume the position held by some of the greatest individuals ever in chiropractic.The enormity of the fact that I have been given the stewardship of the organization B.J. Palmer, the developer of chiropractic himself, started is only beginning to sink in. But the fact is that time is critical, and reflection is a luxury I do not have. It has now become my task to set forth an agenda to lead our profession into its second century.
The fact of the matter is this: No matter what numbers have been boasted by national chiropractic organizations, over two-thirds of our profession do not belong to any national association. This number is staggering, considering the challenges our profession faces on a regular basis. One would think issues such as managed care, attacks from the press, Medicare, standards of care, research, and political lobbying efforts would be enough to motivate all doctors to join. Obviously it hasn't. The question, "Why don't they join?" has been baffling national association leaders for years. No longer!
The answer is clear. To the question, "Why should they join?" I reply, "Why should they!" Have we as national associations given the profession something they can use? Have we truly served our members? Or have we been asking them to serve our needs? Let's look at the history of our association and ask the question, "If we were not politically motivated (most practicing chiropractors are not), would we join us?" I'm afraid the answer might not be pleasing to our ears. The history of both major national associations is marred with in-fighting, egos, and the "I know better" attitude. I dare say that in certain instances the practicing chiropractor has been treated like a commodity, kept in the dark and used as a financial resource for personal agendas. This ends now!
As of now, the in-fighting stops! As of now, the concept of straight vs. mixer dies. As of now, ICA will show you ways to help yourself without forcing anybody to practice in any particular way. As of now, ICA will not ask you for your hard earned money without giving the value you deserve for your dues. As of now, the ICA rededicates itself towards service to its members and the profession at large in a way that reaches into your practice and benefits you and your patients directly. As of now, the history of our national associations' behavior ends with the ICA.
I will not ask you to join the ICA! All I ask is that you put aside all concepts of the past and objectively give us the opportunity to earn your dues dollars. If we do not prove ourselves worthy of this task, do not join! As president of the ICA I refuse to take your money and not give you the value you deserve.
Over the coming weeks and months you will see articles, ads, and programs started by the ICA to serve you. In the process I hope we can win your confidence and trust. We in chiropractic are at a critical point in health care. As we enter the second hundred years of our profession we are poised to shape the very consciousness of society's viewpoint on health. With communication, education, and perspiration, we will make history. No matter what you thought of the ICA or any other national association in the past, everything has changed, as of now!
Robert Braile, DC