Monday, April 17, 2017

An Open Letter Encouraging Change, Innovation, and Opportunity

The following is written specifically to the Chancellor, Provost, and Board of Trustees at North Carolina State University, in hopes of breaking new ground in health care through the opening of the first public Chiropractic school in the United States.

Dear Dr. Woodson, Dr. Arden, and Others To Whom It May Concern,

I write to you today thinking about innovation and opportunity for North Carolina State, my alma mater, and encourage NCSU to consider advancing the cause of the first public university school of Chiropractic in the United States. 

In the winter of 2005, I was in the midst of completing my undergraduate degree in psychology and had been accepted to the two most prestigious Chiropractic colleges in the United States.  I went onto receive a merit scholarship, for which one of the requirements was a written essay about the future of the Chiropractic profession. 

At that time, I was just beginning to learn about Chiropractic’s place in American society.  I knew of it previously only through a patient’s perspective.  I was thirteen years old when I experienced my first debilitating bout of pain.  Medical physicians knew not what to do with a case like mine other than to prescribe pain medication, but a family friend, who was a Doctor of Chiropractic, got me back to functioning and feeling relatively normal again.  It was not until years later, when I began to consider becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic myself, that I first learned that seeing a Chiropractor was uncommon or that it was considered “unscientific” by a medical community whose leadership (namely the American Medical Association) had been found guilty of violating the Sherman Act with an unlawful conspiracy against Chiropractic by the United States District Court (1), a decision affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals in February 1990 (2). 

With the above in mind, I wrote my merit scholarship essay about the advancement of Chiropractic in the mainstream through a new Chiropractic college set to be opened by Florida State University.  There are presently only fifteen schools in the United States which offer the Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree; FSU would have been the first public school to house a Chiropractic college on its campus.  Unfortunately, Florida State rejected the project, citing protests primarily by its medical school staff, but the subject of my essay has stuck with me and I have long thought my own alma mater to be the perfect site of the nation’s first public Chiropractic school.  Since receiving my Doctorate in Chiropractic, I have seen firsthand the perception that my profession faces; I have seen the public resistance in my own clinic; I have seen graduating classmates, frustrated by the lack of acceptance for Chiropractic, return to school for medical doctorates or leave the health care field altogether.  It is, in some ways, a constant uphill battle.  However, change does not happen without forward-thinking innovators, the types that we produce regularly at North Carolina State.  I like to think that graduates of NCSU are the more logical sorts who, in a world where so many see a problem and circle around it endlessly, instead draw a straight line toward getting to the root of the issue and solve it. 

It is a very logical assertion that Chiropractic as a profession would greatly benefit from an association with a school like NC State and that, in turn, NC State would greatly benefit from its forward-thinking status as the home of the first public Chiropractic school in America. 

From a business standpoint, the front-end costs (such as facilities and staff) would be quickly off-set by the popularity of the program.  If NCSU were to adopt a similar tuition-structure as the Veterinary School (roughly $80,000 total over four years), for example, the 10-trimester or 14-quarter D.C. program would be more cost-effective for aspiring Chiropractors than any other school in the country which, combined with the early year novelty of attending the first public Chiropractic college and the eventual reputation for an unmatched standard of excellence that I can only assume NCSU would produce, would make for a very profitable venture. 

In addition to tuition fees and the added influx of what realistically could reach as high as 150 students per graduating class, NC State could expect to be a harbinger for federal grants related to researching alternatives to medicine.  The results when Chiropractic has been properly studied have disproven the dated, unjustified notion of it being unscientific; for example, a 2008 randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study through the University of Chicago showed a highly specific correction  in the upper neck (down to the nearest millimeter and degree) was more effective at consistently lowering blood pressure than two antihypertensive medications (3); and an on-going study by a team of medical scientists in Italy of an upper neck misalignment’s direct link to the disruption of cerebral spinal fluid flow (4) and its consequent causative relationship with the onset of conditions such as Migraines and Multiple Sclerosis has offered powerful evidence to support the outcomes that millions have achieved through specific chiropractic procedures. 

So, again, I return to my thoughts of innovation and opportunity for NC State.  We need change in American health care.  A report of the Commonwealth Fund stated in October 2015 that the U.S. spent 17% of its GDP on health care – more than 50% greater than any of the other countries studied (5) – yet according to the World Health Organization, we rank 37th in health statistics (6) despite our consumption of 80% of all the pharmaceutics produced in the entire world (7).  Americans collectively suffer from a lack of education and understanding about the basic necessities for healthy living (8). 

We have to shift health care’s priorities in the United States.  A grassroots movement to broaden the philosophic scope of health care research has been underway for years, with people becoming increasingly sick and tired of being sick and tired, and chiropractic has been a leader in that movement.  It would be of great benefit, though, if the process happened faster and I believe that the nation’s first public chiropractic school could further stimulate the necessary adjustments.  A mutually beneficial relationship between North Carolina State University and the chiropractic profession is just waiting to be cultivated.  Will you accept the invitation to help us lead American health care out of the doldrums and into the future?

Yours in Health,

Dr. M. Chad McIntyre

1- Wilk v. American Medical Ass’n, 671 F. Supp 1465, N.D. III. 1987
2- Wilk v. American Medial Ass’n, 895 F.2d 352, 7th Cir. 1990
3- Journal of Human Hypertension (2007) 21, 347–352
4- Mandolesi S, et al. Ann Ital Chir. 2015 May-Jun.

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