One doctor called asking if I had been reading his state association's mail, and if not, how I knew about a recent situation. An association executive director suggested that the article had made many of their board members "really angry." Others called to thank me for exposing problems within their association.
The reality is that the article was not written about any specific national or state association. It was written about all of them. The comments made in the column were reflections on conversations with DCs across the country. If you re-read the article, you will notice that no association was ever named.
But let's look at the facts:
- The health care world is involved in a dynamic evolution. Managed care is causing DCs to wonder if they will be able to continue practicing. Changes and "reforms" are leaving many chiropractic practices at 60-70 percent of where they were just a few years ago.
- State and national association membership numbers have dramatically fallen in the last five years. Less than 25 percent of the DCs in the US belong to any national chiropractic association. There has even been talk of creating yet ANOTHER national association, as if quantity was the problem.
- Times have changed. As the chiropractic profession begins its second century, involvement is needed more than ever. The fax network, e-mail and other technological systems are making it faster and easier to communicate, but these aren't addressing the underlying problems. Just ask yourself: "Why are most state and national conventions so poorly attended?"
Looking for the "end of the good ol' boy era" is an attempt to be critical of the situations that are holding associations back. It is not meant to be critical of those dedicated men and women, DCs, students and lay people who work so hard within each association.
But without solid membership support for our chiropractic state and national associations, this profession will be voiceless in the political arena. Disregarding all of the other services that chiropractic associations are capable of offering, the political service is crucial to the success of our profession.
The call for change within most of our associations could not be clearer. If you listen, and don't take offense to it, you can hear it all around you. Today's challenges are demanding better solutions. Our associations need more membership dollars to address the many issues facing them, and DCs want value for their membership dollars: not an easy task.
Our association leadership is faced with numerous challenges that can only be met with substantial change. Our leaders can either recognize this as an opportunity to transform their chiropractic organizations, or they can put all their efforts hopelessly into maintaining the status quo.
In this era when the public is moving away from medicine, drugs and technology, the chiropractic profession enjoys almost unlimited potential. But it won't be met by a few people making all of the decisions and doing all of the work. This requires large scale involvement unlike anything we have experienced before. It's time to build the capacity for involvement as the primary component within every chiropractic organization. This must become Job #1.
Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.