As Straighten Up coordinator, I recently made back-to-back breakthrough presentations at two global conferences: the Global Network Conference of the Bone and Joint Decade in Washington, D.C., Oct. 22-24, 2009; and the World Health Organization's 7th Global Conference on Health Promotion in Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 26-30, 2009.
At the BJD Global Network Conference I presented Straighten Up to all conference delegates, engaging them in practice of the posture pod exercises, and noted the growing burden of lifestyle related spine disorders and advocated for empowering proactive solutions. The audience was very responsive and enjoyed participating in the posture pod. I called on all the Bone and Joint Decade (BJD) leadership to commit to the practice of one minute of spinal health exercise every day.
At the Nairobi 7th Global Conference on Health Promotion, I presented the NGO and Civil Society technical paper on grassroots empowerment in health promotion at the Civil Society and NGO subplenary session. This session addressed the critical issue of closing the health equity gap between rich and poor. In presenting the technical paper, "Focusing on Community Assets for Health Promotion: The Role of NGOs and Civil Society in Local Empowerment," I referenced global spinal health promotion work with Straighten Up and also featured the Bangalore Model Healthy City Initiative. Additionally, the breakthrough technical paper presentation included highlights from 16 other health promotion initiatives from around the globe.
Care Department, International Federation of Red Cross, IFRC, Geneva; Berhane Ras-Work, executive director, Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices, IAC, Addis-Abeba, Ethiopia; and Dr. Eliya Zulu, director of research, African Population and Health Research Centre.
Grace Fong coordinates International Red Cross and Red Crescent community health programs across the globe. Berhane Ras-Work, the granddaughter of former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie (Time Man of the Year), has been spearheading advocacy and educational efforts to end female genital mutilation across Africa, with 17 nations now having laws in place against this dehumanizing practice. Eliya Zulu, a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, is one of the foremost demographers in Africa.
Fortuitously, the WHO conference in Kenya marks the first time that NGOs and Civil Society have presented a technical paper and conducted a subplenary session at a WHO global health promotion conference. On this basis, leaders of the WHO Health Promotion Cluster and a number of very powerful NGOs are very appreciative of the chiropractic profession's role in facilitating this breakthrough.
Many WHO, NGO and BJD leaders will participate in the crafting of the next round of Straighten Up modules through a Delphi panel review process. Presently, seed panelists are preparing several short draft Straighten Up modules for Delphi panel review. These modules will be designed to address the growing global burden of spine disorders. It is time for the public to be empowered to improve their spinal health and quality of life.
Dr. Ron Kirk is a professor at Life University and the seed and Delphi panel facilitator for Just Start Walking. He serves in a similar capacity for the Straighten Up spinal health initiative. Contact Dr. Kirk with questions regarding the Just Start Walking program at