A Call to Chiropractic: Be Bold
There are plenty of big moves happening in healthcare right now. We are guided by a new set of healthcare laws, with contributions from healthcare practitioners of all stripes. Consumers find healthcare financial coverage by a brand new online system. Information about health- both personal and general- is increasingly available through innovations in communication. But as an insider in a health profession, I still see people shying away or discouraged from pursuit of the ideas that change a culture. And I hate it.
Today the Student Government Association here at school opened up their meeting to all members of the campus community, drawing a participating audience from a collection of students, administrators, and faculty. Though technically the open meeting had always been an option, nobody had ever extended an invitation. Later, as I was leaving class alongside a professor who attended, she commented, “It is great to see the steps that students are taking to address their concerns here instead of only grousing about it.” One of the student leaders told me that this professor had been an enthusiastic supporter of the active problem solving going on at the meeting, though she had never previously been included in any such student affairs.
From the SGA perspective, such a meeting was something of a risk. More voices in a meeting could meant lengthier conversations or more opposition. Inviting faculty and staff could have led to ideas being cut down in their infancy. They could have been met with a room empty of any new interest at all.
Yet they took the risk of being open to a wider community, and it paid off by increased support for student initiatives, and a more positive view of the student body.
This may seem a small scale, but at least they are not simply playing it safe. And I see this at the student level every day, on my own campus and others. A student outlining plans for a documentary about chiropractic education. Students who know congressional health aides by name as they set up appointments for the National Chiropractic Legislative Conference. Groups of students banding together to educate each other, developing new skills beyond the scope of their classes. Like the sounds of that? The list goes on.
They don’t have to do any of that. It is not even easy to make time. But these students have vision, long-term goals motivated by passion for the path they have chosen, belief in their own ability to improve the public’s health status, and a sincere love of people.
So, chiropractic, get on a level with us students. If you have not done something noteworthy, why not?
Recent graduates, let’s see you start a practice unlike what everyone else is doing. The breadth of chiropractic education prepares you to offer patients much more than what I have seen in most chiropractic offices I have experienced. Doctors, let’s see you give back to the institutions who educated you, so that every generation of chiropractors is better than the last. Or get involved beyond the doors of your office by connecting to professional associations in chiropractic, public health, policy, or otherwise. Office and education administrators, let’s see you find passion beyond your job description, bringing energy and vision to healthcare even beyond your organization, for the simple sake of making life better.
Call it the energy of youth, call it optimistic naïvete. But you have to call it good. It’s the only thing that will change this world.
Thanks to my many fellow students who inspired this post, and keep me excited every day. This includes the leadership and members of the Student American Chiropractic Association on my campus and others, the aforementioned NYCC Student Government Association, classmates who simply demonstrate a bit of enthusiasm each day, everyone who was mentioned indirectly above, and the community of faculty, administrators, patients, friends and family who support all of us.