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Dynamic Chiropractic – February 1, 2023, Vol. 41, Issue 02

Remembering Dr. Joseph William Howe (1930-2022)

A Pioneer in Chiropractic Radiology and Education

Editor's Note: The following tribute was submitted by Sharon Jaeger, DC, DACBR; Reed B. Phillips, DC, DACBR, PhD; John A. Taylor, DC, DACBR; and Terry R. Yochum, DC, DACBR.

Joseph William Howe, DC, DACBR, passed away on Oct. 21, 2022, at age 92. Dr. Howe's contributions as a pioneer in the chiropractic profession, the specialty of chiropractic radiology and chiropractic education are momentous. This giant will be sadly missed around the world.

Joseph Howe was born May 27, 1930, in Galeton, Pa. Both his parents were chiropractors who practiced in Potter County, Pa., and later, New Cumberland, Pa. Joseph graduated from New Cumberland High School in 1948 and then attended Pennsylvania State University and Elizabethtown College before enrolling in the Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1950.

After graduation in 1952, he joined his parents in practice. In 1954, he joined the army in Indiana, serving as a medical corps X-ray technician until 1956. When he completed his military obligation, he returned to New Cumberland and assumed his parent's practice when they retired.

Dr. Howe married Mary Dolores Rathfon (Dee) in May 1953 and they remained happily married for almost 70 years. Family was always their most important purpose and a driving force in their life. Together, they raised six children who have produced 32 grandchildren and 50 great grandchildren. The family has belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, where Dr. Howe served in many leadership positions.

Dr. Howe is best known as the profession's pre-eminent chiropractic radiologist and educator. Early in his chiropractic career, he met Dr. Joseph Janse, president of National College of Chiropractic. The two would become lifelong friends and colleagues in the pursuit of excellence in chiropractic education.

In 1958, Dr. Howe enrolled in an advanced roentgenology program at NCC under the direction of Dr. Roland Kissinger; and in 1959, Dr. Howe became the 13th certified diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Radiology (DACBR). In 1969, Drs. Howe and Janse established the first off-campus radiology residency. His first full-time residents were Drs. Michael T. Buehler and John Danz.

In 1972, Dr. Howe moved his family to Naperville, Ill., to succeed Dr. James Winterstein as professor and chairman of the department of radiology at NCC, where he tutored several residents who achieved their DACBR. He also served as director of the Clinical Science Division at NCC.

In 1978, Dr. Howe assumed a position as professor and chairman at Los Angeles College of Chiropractic (LACC). One of his NCC radiology residents, Dr. Sharon Jaeger, accompanied Dr. Howe to California, where they developed LACC's radiology program – which soon became the largest full-time residency training program in chiropractic history. Dr. Howe considered his residency training of radiologists to be his most fulfilling accomplishment in chiropractic education.

Dr. Howe established several significant academic relationships with the medical profession that have played a major role in the education of DACBRs. He was responsible for establishing rotations for chiropractic radiology residents with pre-eminent medical radiologists such as Donald Resnick, Deborah Forrester and Steven Rothman. These relationships have led to numerous collaborative projects, publications and affiliations involving DACBRs.

After retirement in 2000, Joseph and his wife, Dee, moved to Missouri, where he continued to tutor residents at Logan College of Chiropractic until 2019. Throughout more than 60 years of teaching, Dr. Howe trained over 100 DACBRs, many of whom have gone on to train subsequent generations of radiologists.

He has served on the faculty of at least three chiropractic colleges and has taught hundreds of continuing-education radiology courses and seminars. Many of Dr. Howe's trainees have followed in his footsteps to teach at every chiropractic institution worldwide, and several of those have served in senior administrative roles in chiropractic education.

Over the years, Dr. Howe has published over 35 journal articles and nine book chapters. His scope of scholarly influence extended beyond the chiropractic profession. He addressed the 1975 National Institute of Disease and Stroke, National Institutes of Health conference on The Research Status of Spinal Manipulative Therapy, one of the very first interdisciplinary meetings that included chiropractic as part of the broader health care community. He also represented chiropractic on the Health Physics Society and Council on Radiologic Health of the American Public Health Association.

In 1982 he was bestowed a fellowship in the International College of Chiropractors (FICC) and in 1991 he was unanimously elected for the prestigious Fellow of the American Chiropractic College of Radiology (FACCR). In 2020, to demonstrate their appreciation of everything he has contributed to our specialty, the ACCR honored Dr. Howe with the first Gold Medal Award – an honor bestowed only once, befitting his stature.

Throughout his remarkable career, Dr. Howe was a leader, a pioneer and a giant in chiropractic radiology. Every DACBR worldwide owes Dr. Howe a debt of gratitude for all he has accomplished in his distinguished career.

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