As first reported in the Jan. 1, 2010 edition of DC, despite torrential rain every afternoon with cannon-like thunder and gigantic lightning bolts that give all appearances of a major typhoon to a Westerner, the new chiropractic degree program at the International Medical University (IMU) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is making history daily. As you read this, the inaugural class has is nearly three-fourths of the way through its first semester.
Thirty young Malaysians - 16 men and 14 women of Malay, Chinese, and Indian descent - began taking classes in mid-February. The opening day of the semester started with an assembly to honor the new chiropractic program. It involved the entire university including its medical and dentistry students and representatives from nursing, pharmacy and other health careers, along with their families. The president of IMU, Abu Bakar Suleiman, MD, gave the welcoming address and was followed by Thomas Ong, DC, former president of the Malaysian Chiropractic Association, and Michael Haneline, DC, MPH, head of the IMU Chiropractic Department.
Classes began a week later after orientation sessions and Chinese New Year celebrations. The basic science subjects are being cross-taught by faculty from other programs within the university, and the chiropractic subjects are being taught by licensed doctors of chiropractic. I was later named professor and chiropractic program coordinator, and within a few weeks the new clinic director, George Le Beau, DC, had arrived to prepare for the opening of a new 4,000 sq. ft. chiropractic clinic on the lower ground floor of the main building, adjacent to the new medical and dental clinic facilities and the pharmacy and Chinese medicine center.
The enthusiasm of the students here is positively overwhelming. After I warned them that the volume of things to learn in a new chiropractic curriculum is huge and would be like eating an elephant - only possible one bite at a time without being overwhelmed - the class responded by naming itself the "Enthusiastic Elephant Eaters" and quickly started tackling their assignments.
The students began learning spinal palpation in the Skills Centre of the campus, which has been equipped with 30 new chiropractic tables, and spontaneously formed a "chiropractic palpation conga line" to add fun to their learning!
As the first chiropractic degree program in southeast Asia and one of the few in the world within a fully accredited major medical university, the IMU program uses the integrated multidisciplinary model and is designed to meet World Health Organization guidelines, regional accrediting standards, and the strict governmental requirements of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) of the Ministry of Higher Education and the Ministry of Health.
The IMU Web site has additional information on the chiropractic degree program and its other programs. IMU is a prestigious private international medical university in its 18th year of teaching, research and community service, with over 2,500 students training for health care careers at its three campuses. The university has established credit transfer partnerships with more than 30 prominent medical and dental schools around the world, and with RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia for the chiropractic program.
"We are recruiting and hiring additional teaching faculty and clinicians right now," said Dr. Haneline. "Qualified people are invited to join us in making history here." For more information, contact Dr. Haneline by e-mail: .
For background on the chiropractic program at International Medical University, read "Chiropractic Taking Big Steps in Malaysia" in the Jan. 1 issue.
Click here for previous articles by Rand Baird, DC, MPH, FICA, FICC.