Motivating and helping people to do something good for themselves is sometimes difficult, especially when everyone is so busy and schedules are filled to the last minute. Whenever I think about trying to motivate others, I recognize that most people need some sort of target date or goal in order to plan and look forward to an event.With a small amount of effort and free materials from organizations, health-oriented events can help us motivate our patients and provide a positive focus to building our practices.
As doctors of chiropractic, we are usually searching for ways to better serve our patients. Many people first enter our practices with back and neck pain, but over time realize that we can provide much more to help them achieve better health. With that in mind, consider planning some additional health-focused activities into your practice event calendar. By planning these events in advance, you will give your patients something to get motivated about and to look forward to.
Check out the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) National Health Observances calendar (www.healthfinder.gov/nho/) for some great ideas. There are many events, several of which may be a good fit for your practice focus. Calendar events you could focus on in 2010 include the following:
Do you care for families and children in your practice? Depending on when you are reading this article, National School Backpack Awareness Day (Sept. 15) has just passed or is right around the corner. Regardless, with the school year just starting, there's no better time to teach parents and children about backpack safety. You can have your young patients bring in their backpacks individually or organize a special after-school educational session and show them what they need to do to promote spinal health. Consider setting up a presentation at your local high school or elementary school. Materials you can use include a backpack checklist provided by the ACA (www.acatoday.org/press_css.cfm?CID=1834), along with other information found at www.promoteot.org/AI_BackpackAwareness.html.
Women's Health and Fitness
Considering the high numbers of women who visit chiropractors, you should definitely consider celebrating National Women's Health & Fitness Day on Sept. 29. You can encourage your female patients to participate in setting healthy goals and ask them to bring their sisters, mothers and other female friends to participate. More information can be found at www.fitnessday.com.
Breast Cancer Awareness
Celebrate National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Oct. 1-31, by encouraging your patients to be aware of breast health. (By the way, men can also get breast cancer, although not as commonly as women.) Wear a pink ribbon pin and/or provide free chiropractic support services at a local breast cancer awareness walk. Provide patients with information by putting materials in the waiting room, or host a special educational session at which you and/or a local specialist discusses the importance of breast health. For more information about this event, visit www.nbcam.org.
National Chiropractic Month
As a chiropractor, why not celebrate chiropractic care to promote patient health? Observe Chiropractic Founder's Day on Sept. 18 or celebrate National Chiropractic Month throughout October. This may be a good time to brush off your history books and read up on the fascinating history of our profession (visit www.historyofchiropractic.org) or read some of the recent published research that supports the science of chiropractic. More information about National Chiropractic Month can be found at www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=1823.
Bone and Joint Health
Do you have a sports-focused practice and/or do you treat senior patients? Consider celebrating the Bone and Joint Decade National Action Week Oct. 12-20. The Bone and Joint Decade has plenty of free material you can use to educate your patients about the need for better bone and joint health. Visit www.usbjd.org to learn more.
Undoubtedly you're concerned about your patients who smoke, but are you struggling with the best way to approach and warn them about the dangers of tobacco? You may wish to participate in the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 18. For more information on the WFC campaign against tobacco, visit: www.wfc.org/website/docs/ChiropractorInformation.pdf. Also available is a free patient brochure to help you educate your patients on the dangers of tobacco use. Other sources of helpful information can be found at the American Cancer Society's Web site. Additionally, the WHO encourages all health care providers including chiropractors to participate in its annual "World No Tobacco Day" on May 31, 2011.
These are just a few ideas taken from national health campaigns that you can use to help promote health and motivate your patients. Celebrating these events can be as simple or elaborate as you want them to be. Consider participating in one or more of these events in the next few months and see what type of positive changes occur in your patients and your practice.
If you are already a member of the Chiropractic Health Care section of the American Public Health Association, you know how important the relationship is between public health and chiropractic. If you are not currently a member, consider joining and becoming active in this exciting organization. This year's APHA annual meeting in Denver will feature sessions with chiropractic presentations from Nov. 6-10. For further information on participating in the public health effort by joining the APHA, go to www.apha.org/about/membership.
Click here for previous articles by Rand Baird, DC, MPH, FICA, FICC.
Dr. Claire Johnson is a professor at National University of Health Sciences and editor in chief of JMPT, the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine and the Journal of Chiropractic Humanities. She also serves as the communications chair for the American Public Health Association (APHA) Chiropractic Health Care (CHC) section.