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Dynamic Chiropractic – September 23, 1994, Vol. 12, Issue 20


By John Hofmann, DC, FICA
"We need to restrict the number of students our chiropractic colleges accept."

"Several chiropractic college student bodies are growing way too large and should be restricted."

"We are turning out far too many chiropractors."

Since my graduation in 1968, I have heard the statements above many, many times from several different chiropractic college presidents, deans, and in particular, one national chiropractic organization.

This made me wonder whether the people who made these statements were well meaning and concerned professionals, or did this display a jealous "wringing of the hands" towards other colleges that were prospering, while their enrollments were in the decline?

The other reason could just be greed, plain old greed. "I've got my license and my practice, now let's restrict those who would come into the colleges under the guise of 'higher standards.'" Let's invent new things to keep men and women out of the chiropractic profession. The old "I've got mine and the hell with you" attitude prevails to this very day. You have only to investigate differing state to state laws that require a four year pre-professional degrees before entrance to chiropractic college to know just exactly where the leadership in those states, and the national leadership which supports them, sit on those issues.

Every student wishes for open access after passing their national or state boards to any state. "We want in!" they cry, but what happens once they get in? "My God, there are way too many chiropractors in this state." "There are far too many practicing doctors of chiropractic in my town, let alone my county." So what happens when the selfish, self-aggrandizing few wish to change the state law to increase the standards beyond the ridiculous? All those who wanted open access before, are now supporting professional birth control in their own states. Surely not because they wish to elevate the profession to a higher standard. No study that I am aware of has ever shown that four years of pre-professional education produces a far more superior doctor than two years of pre-professional education. Nor is there a study that has been done, that I am aware of, that shows that a student with a 4.0 pre-professional education makes a far better doctor than one with a 3.0 or a 2.8. No, the only thing such regulation causes is a restriction in the licensure of doctors of chiropractic in many states.

For those of you who are already licensed and in practice, don't you think it's a little bit hypocritical to say that now "I am" in practice, heaven forbid that I should ever have competition? "The last thing we need in this state are more chiropractors, especially the ones who don't adhere to the established medical model of professionalism. I am tired of having members at my country club make comments about the local chiropractors in the area. It's embarrassing!" "We really need to work more closely with the people in managed care in the insurance industry."

Well, I don't know about you but I am sick and tired of hearing this. If you have these types of people in leadership positions in your state or on your state boards it's time to get rid of them. Get active and vote them out of office. Get active in your state association, contribute financially, and place people on the state board who are true representatives of our profession, not political hacks who happen to make sure that their contribution to the governor's campaign was well noticed. We all need to remember the vast majority of all state licensing board appointees (medical, osteopathic, chiropractic, dental, etc.) get there not because there was a statewide survey to test their intelligence, professional expertise or quality. It is still a political system and the ones that are active and whose groups contribute the most usually get the appointments. For them to have a position in any type of national or state organization and say otherwise is ludicrous and insulting.

We need more doctors of chiropractic, not less! We need doctors who will continue to educate the public in the methods of chiropractic health care and wellness. We need doctors who will educate the public towards a healthier, non-drug, non-surgical lifestyle. The more doctors of chiropractic that are licensed and practicing, the more the public will become aware of the wonders of chiropractic and the less they will seek drug and surgical remedies for their ailments. When that happens, when the awareness of the American public shifts and moves toward chiropractic, advertising by individual doctors of chiropractic won't be necessary. As a matter of fact we won't have enough chiropractors to handle the demand. Dick Gregory, the famous comedian and activist, once told a group of chiropractors: "Once the public becomes aware of what you (chiropractors) have you won't be able to leave your office. Fathers will drive up and force you to stay until their wife and children can get into the office for their adjustments."

We are far more than just highly trained technicians in the evaluation of musculoskeletal conditions. Unfortunately, anything beyond that embarrasses a few in our profession, and that few will go to any length to stop the spread of chiropractic. And there are many chiropractors out there who don't wish to see too many more doctors of chiropractic come into the state once they got in practice, lest they take some of "our patients" away from us or saturate the marketplace. How ridiculous! For a profession that takes care of 10 percent of the population, (if that), we need more and more people out there telling, showing, and producing the wonders of chiropractic rather than less.

I believe that it's shameful that we have not penetrated the marketplace, and the hearts and minds of the American public, more than we have. Surely, restrictive state laws are not the way to accomplish our mission. High quality education, along with licensure examinations that make sure that any perspective licensee has the ability to perform in the most exemplary and professional manner are necessary. But restrictive, antiquated, and prohibitive licensing laws do not meet the challenge to chiropractic in the 21st century. They inhibit it!

The more that people experience chiropractic and find out about its positive aspects, the more doctors of chiropractic will be in demand. We will be in demand in the hospitals and health and wellness centers throughout the country not because we will be able to bring in more "bodies" into the system, but because we are a cost effective, drugless, non-surgical way to health. We are less expensive and the side effects of chiropractic are virtually nil.

If we had more DCs out there practicing and gaining support we would not have the difficult time with national health care that we are. Our patients would rise up and demand their right to chiropractic care. We should be caring for 75 percent of the population, not 10 percent! What a difference this could make.

Increasing the number of doctors of chiropractic throughout the world would put us on the moral high ground. It lets the people on the planet know that we are here to stay and that the service to humanity in our profession is alive, well, and in the forefront where it belongs.

Chirocide -- Professional birth control by fearful, self-important people who never have had the big picture of service, and never will.

John A. Hofmann, DC, FICA
Allen Park, Michigan

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