Columnist note: I am pleased to announce that Dr. Mike Flynn is the author of this month's "Unity" column. Mike grew up in a chiropractic family. He is proud to say that his first adjustment was by Dr. B.J. Palmer when his dad was a student at Palmer. His father, the late Dr. John E. Flynn, practiced for 20 years in Louisiana without a license and was the president of the state association when chiropractic was granted licensure in 1974. Dr. Mike is a former state-association president, two-time president of the Louisiana Board of Examiners, and ACA chairman of the board. He has served as a member of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress board since its inception.
Author David McCullough wrote, "History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are." Then there's the often-repeated saying from philosopher George Santayana: "Those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them." The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (FCP) has learned from the lessons of the past and is leading a successful public awareness campaign that is unprecedented and, as Kent Greenawalt, founder and president says, "just getting started." The foundation board is made up of successful businessmen and doctors of chiropractic who are committed to the profession and its high levels of achievement.
Some would say we are in perilous times as a profession. Others see a time of great opportunity. Whichever your attitude, this is the time to get behind and support the FCP in its mission to convey positive press on a large scale to a society that needs the care only a doctor of chiropractic can provide. As the son of a chiropractor in the southernmost part of Louisiana and in my 34th year in the profession, I have seen some dramatic changes; not as many changes as my dad or those who have been in practice much longer saw, of course. Since many doctors of chiropractic have practiced less than 25 years, it is obvious to me that they sometimes need to be reminded of these historical changes.
When I think of perilous times, I think of the Wilk case and the shameful tactics used to first contain and then eliminate the profession. In 1987, Judge Getzendanner found the AMA and 1,800 local and county associations guilty. In her opinion, she wrote, "The evidence has also established a continuing injury to reputation ... which would constitute an anti-competitive effect of the boycott. ... This kind of injury more likely than not was sustained. ... In my judgment, this injury continues to the present time and likely continues to adversely affect the plaintiffs. ... Finally, based on Dr. Stano's testimony, the plaintiffs have established a likelihood that their incomes have been diminished as a result of the boycott. ... The systematic, long-term wrongdoings and the long-term intent to destroy a licensed profession suggest that an injunction is appropriate in this case."
In upholding the guilty verdict, the 7th Circuit Court said, "The district court's form of injunction ... was a reasonable attempt at eliminating the consequences of the AMA's lengthy, systematic, successful and unlawful boycott." The systematic boycott was successful in injuring the reputation of a profession that has so much to offer health care; a profession whose methods are being proven every day to be of great value to an overmedicated, overweight and out-of-shape society in need of an adjustment.
In the rich history of chiropractic, it can be written that the profession has not only withstood long-term wrongdoings, but also paid a scandalous price in injury to reputation. The FCP, now in its fourth year, will continue to tell the truth about the many benefits of chiropractic care. Professional gains in recognition from the success of our care need to be told - and told again - this year and in the years to come. The profession continues to help elite and weekend athletes, celebrities and scholars, blue- and white-collar workers, active-duty military personnel and veterans, pregnant women and children - everyday people. It is up to all of us to help spread the good word about our profession.
What the foundation has been able to accomplish by getting a positive message distributed in a wide range of media sources is not just impressive; it is colossal. Take a look for yourself and see what has been accomplished at www.foundation4cp.com. The signing of football legend Jerry Rice (one of the game's most durable players) is huge. Not only does Rice have three Super Bowl rings, 13 trips to the Pro Bowl and 38 career records, but he also is proud to talk about how chiropractic care kept him in the game. This puts another convincing face to our message. More than 10,000 newspapers received the Rice testimonial and all national medial outlets will receive an embedded video of him speaking out for the profession. Rice follows Sarah Harding-Traverso, Ms. Fitness USA 2006/2007, who served as the foundation's first spokesperson. Who will follow Jerry Rice?
The success of the FCP is essential to help get our public reputation back. That is why so many leaders in the profession, national and state associations, colleges and vendors have put their support into this campaign for chiropractic progress. What is missing today is thousands of doctors and students joining the cause. Only you can change that today for tomorrow.
At the recent Parker seminar in Las Vegas, FCP board members observed great interest in the campaign by several thousand DCs. The doctors were excited about the Jerry Rice half-page ad in USA Today on the Thursday morning of the conference, and the current ads in Sports Illustrated, Men's Fitness and Women's Health. They liked the four posters the foundation has created (which are available to all contributors). Many saw the potential on what this campaign can accomplish for their practices and for the benefit of patients who need to hear about chiropractic care. Thousands of media outlets are currently being sent positive information on chiropractic care regularly. Plans for ongoing, continued positive press are extraordinary. Never again can we let competitors and adversaries define who we are - that is our responsibility.
Remember our history and be part of making history anew by becoming a monthly contributor to the campaign. When we reach 1,000 monthly contributors, we are going to have their names published in chiropractic publications so we can proudly proclaim the first "1,000" supporting the FCP and the mission of positive press. We expect thousands more to follow.
William Pollard wrote, "It is the responsibility of leaders to provide opportunity, and the responsibility of individuals to contribute." What can you do? Make the decision to contribute to the foundation on a monthly basis at whatever level you are comfortable with, and lead by example. Then contact your colleagues and encourage them to look into what the FCP is accomplishing for the profession in a massive positive press campaign for all the right reasons. Share your decision with them and ask them to sign on as well. To learn more about the FCP or to arrange an automatic monthly donation, visit www.foundation4cp.com or call (866) 901-3427.
Click here for previous articles by Kent Greenawalt.
Dr. J. Michael Flynn former state-association president, two-time president of the Louisiana Board of Examiners, and ACA chairman of the board, has served as a member of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress board since its inception. He is the current president of the WFC.