California Chiropractic Association

Dr. Smith First Black President of Major Chiropractic Association

By Editorial Staff
On June 16, 1990, Dr. Willard Smith of Oakland, California was sworn in as the president of the California Chiropractic Association (CCA). In a moving ceremony at the CCA Convention in Sacramento, Dr. Russel Erhardt read the oath of office to Dr. Smith and the other incoming executive committee officers.

Dedicating his administration to renewed strength and professional solidarity through the CCA, Dr. Smith is the first Afro-American president of a major chiropractic association. During his acceptance speech, Dr. Smith noted that his election can be considered a landmark for the profession and called to mind a much earlier landmark event that involved an Afro-American named Harvey Lillard and a chiropractic doctor named Daniel David Palmer.

"The first chiropractic adjustment tied the chiropractic community and the Afro-American communities together forever," stated Dr. Smith. "We don't want to forget that both communities have had to struggle against injustice, discrimination, and prejudice."

To begin his administration of the largest state chiropractic association in the United States, Dr. Smith challenged each member to recruit another doctor as a member. He also pledged his support of the funding for standards of care research and praised the work of the Consortium for Chiropractic Research with the RAND Corporation.

In his acceptance speech Dr. Smith noted, "If we do not pursue a standard of care which is acceptable to the reimbursement community, someone else will do it for us. Let's be proud of the fact that we sought out a prestigious and respected organization like RAND and are conducting a study. As we understand it, the American Medical Association is conducting a similar study, but had to be dragged into it, kicking and screaming."

Pointing out that HMOs now comprise 30 percent of the health coverage in California, Dr. Smith stated that CCA would continue to prepare legislation to open HMOs to chiropractic doctors. He also affirmed that insurance relations would be stressed under his administration and announced that for the first time, CCA would hire a staff insurance consultant to press the chiropractic case to business decision-makers.

Referring to CCA's assertive Public Opinion Management Campaign, Dr. Smith said that much has been accomplished by CCA on the job of increasing awareness and understanding among consumers and decision-makers. "Our campaign on radio and in popular magazines has gotten the attention of the consumer public and business persons," said Dr. Smith. "Now it is mandatory that we follow through to build on that awareness."

Dr. Smith is active in several professional and civic organizations. Since joining CCA in 1968, he has served as the state association's second vice president, treasurer, and secretary. Dr. Smith is also past-president of the Alameda County Chiropractic Society. A graduate of the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic, Dr. Smith was appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., to the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners in 1976 and served a total of eight and one-half years on the board. Dr. Smith has also been active in the American Black Chiropractic Association.

Locally, Dr. Smith was involved in establishing the West Oakland Health Center where he served as public relations director for three and one-half years. He also served on the board of directors for the Oak Center Tower, a senior residential center. A former member of the West Oakland Social Services Corporation's board of directors, Dr. Smith is currently a member of the Urban League and the NAACP. He is also a member of Down's United Methodist Church.

Incoming CCA executive committee officers also installed with Dr. Smith are: Vice President of External Affairs, Dr. Jeffrey Nowicki of Anaheim; Vice President of Internal Affairs, Dr. William Brennan of Anaheim; Vice President of Finances, Dr. James Peterson of Santa Maria; Vice President of Communication, Dr. Patricia Connelly of San Francisco; and Immediate Past President, Dr. Merlyn Green of Salinas.

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