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Dynamic Chiropractic – July 29, 2008, Vol. 26, Issue 16

Looking Back: 1998

By Editorial Staff

As we celebrate our 25th anniversary as the definitive news and information source for the chiropractic profession, we look back at the important events as reported in DC since 1983, while also looking forward to the future.

Throughout 2008, we will feature a review of the top headlines in chiropractic for a given year, along with an article on the future of chiropractic authored by an influential member of the profession.

January 1998: Recognizing the Best in Chiropractic Philanthropy

Webster's Dictionary defines a philanthropist as "one who expresses a desire to help mankind as shown by the giving of gifts to charitable or humanitarian institutions." If one had to find an example of a philanthropist, one would be hard-pressed to come up with three better choices than the recipients of this year's Dynamic Chiropractic Philanthropist of the Year Award.

NCMIC: Over the past five years, the National Chiropractic Mutual Insurance Company (NCMIC) has provided significant financial support to such groups as the American Spinal Research Fund, the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research, various state and national chiropractic associations, Kentuckiana Children's Center, as well as many chiropractic colleges. In all, NCMIC has contributed almost $4 million to the chiropractic profession since 1993.

A majority of that money has gone toward much-needed chiropractic research. NCMIC has donated nearly $3 million to help fund numerous research initiatives, including the famous RAND study. Other studies funded by NCMIC have provided valuable information regarding chiropractic's role in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, childhood asthma, hypertension and chronic otitis media.

Foot Levelers: Another organization that has helped promote the chiropractic profession with its generosity is Foot Levelers, Inc. Since its inception in 1952, Foot Levelers has helped to promote and endorse chiropractic through its dedication to whole-body wellness.

The organization has supported chiropractic at all levels, contributing approximately $3.5 million to help advance the profession. Foot Levelers has donated millions of dollars to the chiropractic colleges to help build libraries, expand campus grounds, construct new buildings and offer scholarships to chiropractic students.

Foot Levelers also has supported chiropractic research, contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars for research grants, positions and valuable studies. State and national chiropractic associations also have received financial support, and Foot Levelers has helped fund numerous special projects and national PR campaigns to help spread the word about chiropractic to the general public.

Dr. William Harris: As much as large corporations and organizations have helped to further the cause of chiropractic research and fund-raising, the contributions made by individual chiropractors are no less remarkable. A case in point is Dr. William Harris.

From the very beginning of his career, Dr. Harris set aside a portion of his earnings to go back to the profession. In most cases, he offered his donations as a "matching fund." This encouraged other DCs to donate what they could, usually doubling the initial donation.

The best example of this is the Chiropractic Centennial documentary, "From Simple Beginnings." Dr. Harris donated $300,000 to the effort, but also required the chiropractic profession to match it with $500,000. He ended up helping raise far more than that. In fact, he helped raise enough money to re-air a 30-minute version of the documentary on numerous television stations across the country. It is this type of individual effort that has earned Dr. Harris such praise from the chiropractic profession.

February 1998: Prevention Opens Door to New Opportunities

Many of the books and magazines published by Rodale Press have taken a critical view of chiropractic. So when the Alliance for Chiropractic Progress announced Prevention magazine (published by Rodale Press) had been chosen as one of three forums for its chiropractic PR campaign, some in the chiropractic profession questioned that selection.

But the alliance's choice was based on the changing tide at Rodale Press that began in 1997. The most tangible evidence of that change was the selection of Anne Alexander as Prevention's editor. Ms. Alexander is a young, energetic woman who brings a renewed sense of health to the nation's largest health magazine. While not a chiropractic patient herself, she has a refreshing openness and a willingness to learn about all forms of "alternative" health care.

The reality, however, is that change takes time. The February 1998 issue of Prevention featured "A Consumer's Guide to Alternative Medicine." The article was the work of a freelance writer who lacked the resources necessary to present an accurate review of chiropractic. The section on chiropractic painted DCs as mechanists rather than doctors.

Fortunately, because the alliance has a working relationship with Prevention, the communication lines are open. After examining the article and listening to the reactions of both the International Chiropractors Association (ICA) and the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), Rodale Press responded with a letter stating, in part:

"I'd like to take this opportunity to lay out a plan of action PREVENTION Magazine will take to alleviate the problems caused by our February article on chiropractic. We pride ourselves in reporting accurate information to our readers and doing complete fact checks on our edit. This was not the case in our recent piece on chiropractic ... simply put, we erred." The letter went on to propose future articles on chiropractic be sourced through the ACA and ICA, and noted the publication's April issue would feature an article titled "How to Find an Alternative Medicine Specialist." Rodale pledged to include editorial "that supports chiropractic can be used for more than lower back pain."

April 1998: The U.K.'s First University-Based Chiropractic Degree Program

The chiropractic profession enjoys independent practicing status in the United Kingdom, having experienced many exciting developments: the passage of government legislation via the Chiropractors Act in 1994 and the naming of the General Chiropractic Council in 1997. A great deal of interest in the education of chiropractors was created as a result of the curriculum advice embedded in the various reports commissioned prior to the construction of the parliamentary legislation.

The University of Glamorgan commenced early discussions with the chiropractic and other health professions, receiving valuable advice from the British Chiropractic Association regarding the feasibility of university-based undergraduate chiropractic education. Following extensive investigation of international chiropractic educational requirements, it was determined the university was qualified to offer a chiropractic degree through the school of applied sciences, and suitable funding arrangements were made.

These arrangements place the chiropractic degree within the same framework as all university undergraduate degrees in the U.K., thereby extending grants and subsidies to chiropractic students for the first time in this country. The degree is a full-time, four-year undergraduate program. Clinical practice is firmly embedded, leading to an honors degree in chiropractic, followed by a one-year clinical attachment leading to the university employment diploma. Postgraduate clinical training also will be provided for those who wish to become members of the register as required by the new legislation.

July 1998: Washington State Alternative-Provider Law Upheld

In 1995, the Washington state legislature passed a bill to give health care consumers access to all types of state-licensed and state-certified providers: chiropractors, naturopaths, physician assistants, RNs, podiatrists, acupuncturists and massage therapists. But days before the Jan. 1, 1996 enactment of the bill, a dozen of the state's largest health insurers challenged the law in the courts. The outcome of the legal maneuvering was that in the spring of 1997, a federal judge in Tacoma declared the bill conflicted with federal (ERISA) law that barred state regulation of employer benefit plans.

But on June 18, 1998, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in San Francisco reinstated the Washington state legislation. Circuit Judge Tashima wrote: "The mere fact that many ERISA plans choose to buy health insurance for their plan members does not cause a regulation of health insurance automatically to 'relate to' an employee benefit plan, just as a plan's decision to buy an apple a day for every employee, or to offer employees a gym membership, does not cause all state regulation of apples and gyms to 'relate to' employee benefit plans."

"This is a decision of national significance," said Deborah Senn, Washington state insurance commissioner. "It validates [our state's] long-standing tradition of being on the cutting edge of health-care reform."

November 1998: WFC Focuses on Global Chiropractic Education

For the first time, representatives from around the world convened to address the intricacies of providing quality education in the face of the proliferation of chiropractic colleges worldwide. The World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) sponsored the three-day conference, held in Manila, the Philippines.

Conference delegates (65 individuals from 19 countries, including representatives from 22 chiropractic colleges) were welcomed by Brother Andrew, secretary of education for the Philippines, and Dr. N.V.K. Nair, western Pacific regional office director of health infrastructure for the World Health Organization. Jameson "Sonny" Uy, DC, president of the Asian Chiropractic Federation, coordinated the meeting with Dr. Cecilia Santos-Acuin, director of De La Salle University's Center for Indigenous Medicine.

Program directors Alan Adams, DC (Los Angeles College of Chiropractic) and Prof. Andries Kleynhans (RMIT School of Chiropractic) designed the meeting to help develop understanding among the chiropractic institutions, particularly for recently established institutions or those coming to fruition. Topics discussed included the international nomenclature of chiropractic; chiropractic programs around the world; models of international cooperation; philosophy as a foundation for the development of a chiropractic curriculum; research questions that guide a curriculum team; sociological and cultural foundations of the curriculum; curriculum design strategies; and competency-based assessment of chiropractic students

The attendees resolved that there should be a general conference every two years, with specific workshops held between the conferences as needed. These educational conferences will be facilitated by the WFC and will be held in various locations around the world.

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