Donald P. Kern, D.C., graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1958. Part of a chiropractic family spanning five generations, Dr. Kern’s 45-year career with Palmer began as a faculty clinician, from 1960 to 1976, including serving as clinic director from 1965 to 1970. He has held numerous administrative positions at Palmer, including director of Admissions, vice president for Student Affairs, chairman of the Technique Department and president of the College, from 1988 to 1994.
After returning to full-time teaching in the Technique Department, Dr. Kern was named senior campus administrator for Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida in 2002, and interim president of Palmer College and Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida in 2004. In February 2005. he was named president of Palmer College of Chiropractic’s Davenport campus for an unprecedented second time.
Q: What are your areas of greatest strength for the chiropractic student and the profession?
A: One of our greatest strengths is the appropriate balance of philosophy, science and art in our curriculum, as embraced by the Palmer Tenets and the Palmer Educational Principles. Palmer College of Chiropractic stands squarely in the middle of mainstream chiropractic, and our students are assured of getting a balanced chiropractic education.
The level of experience and expertise of our faculty is another notable strength. For example, our technique faculty average 20 years of experience in teaching and many of them have their own practices. Our students also are privileged to learn from world-renowned experts in radiology, research, pediatrics, sports injury and other disciplines.
Our curriculum offers an extensive list of clinical methodologies for locating and correcting subluxations. The depth and breadth of a Palmer education in the “art of chiropractic” is tremendous.
Q: What are your plans for the future of the college with regard to chiropractic?
A: Our plans are simple: to continue to graduate the best Doctors of Chiropractic possible. This is our driving force, and there are many strategies in place to carry it out.
As we plan for the future of Palmer College, we are surveying all of our key audiences: faculty, staff, students and alumni. Alumni have finished the curriculum and begun practice, so they have the best perspective for telling us what we could have done to better prepare them for success.
We have a great educational product at Palmer, but we know that it can always be improved upon.
Q: Where do you see the chiropractic profession headed?
A: I see constant improvement of service to patients in chiropractic’s future, and eventual professional unity. I can’t think of a single profession that has survived the test of time being as divided as the chiropractic profession is today. There have been indications of movement toward unity on the state level, but the two national organizations need to negotiate a merger in good faith in order to establish professional unity. This would allow for combined resources to use in educating the public about chiropractic’s benefits.
Another issue facing the chiropractic profession is an acceptance of the basis for chiropractic and scope of practice. I believe one solution is to strengthen the science of chiropractic through more research, especially research into the effectiveness of various techniques. This would give us a better opportunity to identify those techniques that have the highest degree of effectiveness.
Alliances with members of other healthcare professions are also key to the growth of chiropractic. We need more multi-disciplinary collaboration. I would like to see more chiropractors joining hospital staffs and working side-by-side with medical doctors. Not only will our profession grow and benefit but, also, our patients will be healthier.