On March 13, 2007, Dr. Gerard Clum, president of the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC), wrote a letter to Dr.Tedd Koren, asking him to refrain from teaching his "Koren Specific Technique" (KST) to "lay practitioners" (known as heilpraktikers in Germany).1 The letter was in response to reports that Dr. Koren's seminar had been scheduled for June 2-3, 2007, in Berlin. Dr. Clum's letter was based on the policies for chiropractic education passed by 85 national chiropractic associations worldwide.2 In his letter, Dr. Clum pointed out the following:
"Germany is one of those countries in Europe which has yet to pass legislation to recognize and regulate the practice of chiropractic. Our colleagues in the GCA (German Chiropractic Association) are fighting to achieve that goal, in the difficult environment where many lay practitioners and medical doctors are claiming to provide chiropractic services.
"The GCA advises that your seminar has been organized in partnership with the Berlin School of Chiropractic (the Berlin School) and that your proposed students will therefore be lay practitioners or heilpraktikers, not doctors of chiropractic or graduates of accredited schools. The WFC is not sure whether or not you are aware that the Berlin School has been opened by lay practitioners who are engaged in the commercial exploitation of chiropractic education and have made no effort to cooperate with the GCA or apply for accreditation through the European Council on Chiropractic Education.
"The WFC asks that, now that you are aware of the situation, you cancel the proposed seminar and advise the Berlin School that you are not prepared to lecture on chiropractic technique to persons who are not duly qualified chiropractors."
The letter went on to cite the 1991 WFC policy titled Seminars for Non-Chiropractors in Another Country, which specifically prohibits such action and states that "member associations should take all steps within their powers to prevent their members and all other chiropractors in their respective countries from engaging in such seminars or other educational programs, and that member associations shall notify the World Federation of Chiropractic of any such activity to enable appropriate action to be taken."
While Dr. Koren did not respond directly to Dr. Clum's March 13 letter, he did provide an e-mail response to Dynamic Chiropractic's inquiry into the event.3 In that response, Dr. Koren defended his decision to give the seminar sponsored by the Chiropractic School of Berlin. He cited information regarding the situation in Germany that was provided by a "Mr. Schwarz of the Berlin School."
In his e-mail, Dr. Koren defended his decisions, asserting that "the 30,000 Heilpraktikers or Health Practitioners (HP) who practice in Germany are a legally recognized, licensed profession. As part of their license they practice manipulation."
He further stated, "Most HPs undergo a rigorous and extensive medical training at private schools (approximately 3,000 hours) and pass oral and written examinations through a governmental Public Health Office to receive licensure as a 'Health Practitioner' (Heilpraktiker or HP)."
Regarding the Berlin School, Dr. Koren did admit that "it presently has a curriculum of approximately 800 hours and is moving towards the WHO standard Guidelines on Basic Training and Safety in Chiropractic/Limited Chiropractic Education - Category II (A) [1,805 hours] within the year."
But Gordon Janssen, DC, a Palmer graduate and a board mem-ber of the German Chiropractors' Association, disagrees with Dr. Koren's statements. Dr. Janssen insists that to become a lay practitioner in Germany, a person only needs to "finish the 9th grade in school, have no infectious disease, have committed no crime in the past and he/she must pass a test to show they are not a 'threat to public health.'"4
Like the WFC, Dr. Janssen contacted Dr. Koren directly at the beginning of the year to request that he not conduct the seminar. Failing to convince Dr. Koren, Dr. Janssen wrote an open letter to the profession.4 In his open letter, Dr. Janssen cites a previous situation that had occurred in Germany wherein lay practitioners were taught chiropractic in weekend courses.5 He went on to refute Dr. Koren's statements and expressed that he is "ashamed of our profession" for what is happening. Additionally, Dr. Janssen pointed out that the Berlin School apparently has no qualified doctors of chiropractic on staff at the school.
Dr. Koren's "postgraduate seminar" took place as scheduled on June 2-3, sponsored by the Berlin School. There were reportedly 45 attendees who paid $950 US each to attend.
Philippe Druart, DC, president of the European Chiropractors Union (ECU), responded to the seminar by saying, "Teaching our profession to non-chiropractic therapists of any kind dramatically lowers our levels of education and credibility and creates a dangerous two-tier profession where patients and State Authorities will be fooled by all non DCs.
"With people having this type of behaviour, although being in-formed months before the event, it is obvious that all the profession worldwide must be united to avoid any similar event in Europe or elsewhere. Dr. Koren has provoked this reaction. That was certainly not his ultimate goal ... but why does he need to teach less educated non- chiropractic professionals? Is it too simple for DCs ... or is there any other reason?"6
Some believe the answer to this question can be found in the almost $43,000 taken in for the seminar. But the answers to these questions also may lie in Dr. Koren's own response to the issue. Dr. Koren describes his Koren Specific Technique "as a binary bio-feedback protocol which may be applied to chiropractic, dentistry, optometry, medicine, homeopathy, nutrition and other healthcare fields. All types of practitioners may apply its safe, gentle and accurate procedures to their respective disciplines and in accordance with the laws of their lands." Dr. Koren further states that he is "available to teach KST to anyone who has the interest to learn KST, provided it will be in the benefit of the consumer and will not harm the consumer."3
A review of Dr. Koren's seminar Web site reveals there are now two German lay practitioners listed in his directory of KST practitioners. These are found alongside doctors of chiropractic - without any differentiation whatsoever.
On July 10, 2007, Dr. Clum sent a second letter to Dr. Koren, this time to inform him of the WFC's sanction:7
"By letter dated March 13, 2007, the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) requested that you cancel your proposed technique seminar in Berlin, Germany on June 2-3, 2007, and gave the background to this request.
"In summary, your invitation to speak came from the unaccredited Berlin School of Chiropractic; attendance by heilpraktikers without formal or acceptable educational qualifications in chiropractic was certain, given the absence of laws to protect standards of chiropractic education and practice in Germany; and you were appearing in contravention of the policies and wishes of your colleagues in the German Chiropractors' Association (GCA), European Chiropractors' Union (ECU) and WFC.
"In these circumstances, the WFC Council and I are surprised not to have had the courtesy of a reply. Further, we are most concerned to now hear that you proceeded with the seminar, apparently without regard to the concerns and best interests of your colleagues in Germany.
"A participant has confirmed that your audience of approximately 45 was comprised largely of heilpraktikers who were not graduates of acceptable or accredited educational programs either by the standards of the profession or the World Health Organization.
"In these circumstances, I am writing on behalf of the WFC Council and membership to confirm that you will not be eligible to participate in future meetings held or sponsored by the WFC. The WFC will be writing to its member associations, including the ACA and ICA, to encourage them to adopt a similar position."
- Letter from Dr. Gerard Clum to Dr. Tedd Koren, dated March 13, 2007. Available online at www.chiroweb.com/koren.
- Chiropractic member associations as posted at www.wfc.org.
- E-mail from Dr. Koren to Dynamic Chiropractic. Available online at www.chiroweb.com/koren.
- Open letter to the profession from Gordon Janssen. Available online at www.chiroweb.com/koren.
- Trouble Persists in Germany. Dynamic Chiropractic, Dec. 17, 2005. www.chiroweb.com/archives/23/26/15.html.
- Statement from Dr. Philippe Druart, president of the European Chiropractors' Union, received July 12, 2007.
- Letter from Dr. Gerard Clum to Dr. Tedd Koren, dated July 10, 2007. Available online at www.chiroweb.com/koren.