One of the biggest and most important sessions of the program was one that was led by Cynthia English. Cynthia works for the Gallup organization as a chief survey development person, and she worked closely with Palmer College on the second part of our identity project. Here, the public was surveyed about their attitudes and beliefs about chiropractic. This was the largest survey ever such conducted, and it involved over 5000 individuals who provided their insights and opinions. We learned that the use of chiropractic seems to be larger than past studies have shown, that people have generally quite positive attitudes toward chiropractic, that for those with little experience with the profession, uncertainty about insurance coverage and safety is a concern, and that the more people know about us, the more they like us. There are reams of data for us to study, but this is exciting stuff.David Chapman-Smith, the past Secretary General of the World Federation of Chiropractic and new head of the international sports chiropractic association (FICS) looked at the growth of chiropractic world-wide, and also discussed his experience in looking at chiropractic identity with the WFC. Of note, their work informed Palmer’s identity work.
Drs. Christine Goertz and Bill Meeker provided a history of the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research. They looked at the steps the college took that led to our status today as the leading chiropractic research center worldwide, recipient now of over $35 million in federal funds. Dr. Goertz also introduced a new program- 20-20-20, which is designed to raise funds for chiropractic research.Dr. George McAndrews, who was the lead attorney in the famous Wilk case, gave an utterly fascinating description of the legal strategies and maneuverings and behind-the-scenes information about that case. He showed where collusion occurred out in the public eye (you may never look at “Dear Abby” the same way again), and he looked at how he and his group was able to prevail. Mr. McAndrews brother Jerry was, by the way, past president of Palmer College.
And our closing session was from Dr. Lou Sportelli, past president of NCMIC Group and now head of the NCMIC Foundation. Between Dr. Sportell and Mr. McAndrews, those 2 may have done more on behalf of the chiropractic profession than any other 2 people now living. Dr. Sportelli gave lessons on leadership- how little things led to great change for him and for the profession. Lou’s little lessons are well worth noting; I found that I had followed many of them myself. And it was interesting to note that Dr. Sportelli- head of the profession’s largest insurance group- does not carry a cell phone. He has good people, you see…I hope you had a chance to go and listen to these leading lights. It was a good time, and the break-out sessions were exciting as well.