Dr. Richard G. Brassard was appointed president of Texas Chiropractic College (TCC) in 2004, following several years of association with TCC as a member and chairman of the Board of Regents. He is a 1965 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, following in the footsteps of his late father, Dr. Jerry Brassard. He is licensed to practice in both Texas and New Hampshire. Prior to his appointment as TCC president, Dr. Brassard maintained a private practice for 36 years in Beaumont, Texas.
Dr. Brassard is a past president of the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), serving in that capacity from September 2005 to September 2007, as well as a former president of the Texas Chiropractic Association (TCA) and the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Additionally, he is a diplomat of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, a Fellow of the International College of Chiropractic (honorary), and a fellow of the American College of Chiropractors (honorary).
In an interview with The American Chiropractor (TAC) magazine, Dr. Richard G. Brassard (Brassard) tells us about education based on science.
TAC: Dr. Brassard, could you tell our readers some of the exciting things that TCC has been experiencing?
Brassard: There is a lot of activity and excitement around campus these days. We completed the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) reaffirmation of accreditation process just this past December after our Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) had been accepted without recommendation, an achievement of which we are quite proud. We ran the pilot program for our Quality Enhancement Plan, which is titled "From Student to Clinician: Enhancing Clinical Reasoning Across the Curriculum," the past two trimesters, and this spring have begun full implementation into our academic program.
As a part of the QEP implementation, and in conjunction with our faculty’s research on establishing a "blue print" of the TCC graduate of the future, we have been expanding the ranks of our faculty. We have welcomed many new members to our family, including Dr. Rahim Karim, our new Dean of Clinics. I have great expectations regarding his abilities to enhance the clinic experience for our students as well as to further strengthen our Hospital Rotation program.
I am also excited to welcome to the Texas Chiropractic College family Dr. Diane Resnick and Dr. Shari Wynd from Southern California University of Health Sciences, and Dr. Nancy Wills from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. In addition to their teaching duties, these professors will be leading and expanding research activities at the College.
TAC: So, could you tell us a bit of your background in chiropractic?
Brassard: I am very proud of my long affiliations and involvement with the national and state associations which lead, promote, and protect the chiropractic profession. It has been an honor for me to serve as the president of the American Chiropractic Association, the Texas Chiropractic Association and the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Prior to being named the president of TCC, I served on the Board of Regents, including a rotation as the Chairman. In 1991, I was honored when the TCA presented to me the Keeler Plaque as the Chiropractor of the Year for Texas.
I am a second-generation chiropractor. My late father, Dr. Jerry Brassard, offered me, and the chiropractic profession, tremendous guidance during his years in practice and through his many leadership positions with the ACA. While my brother, as a lawyer, did not join me in following in Dad’s footsteps, I do have two sisters-in-law who are chiropractors in Ohio.
TAC: Do you have a thought on the healthcare reform debate taking place currently?
Brassard: We have concerns with some possible outcomes of the health care debate; however, I’m very optimistic that there is an opportunity that we can pursue through this debate. Whether furthering friendships or further enhancing chiropractic within other aspects of the political spectrum, there are opportunities for chiropractic to capitalize on. I’m glad the conversations are taking place; it’s something we all need to keep a close watch on.
TAC: How do you view the relationship between chiropractic and the medical establishment?
Brassard: I think the relationship is continuing to grow and develop in positive ways. Now when our students graduate, they are often seeking positions in integrated practices that include medical doctors and physical therapists. Along those same lines, we are seeing MD’s looking for DC students with experience in our Hospital Rotation program. Those doctors are realizing, and embracing, the fact that having chiropractors on their teams (with the specialized care that trained DC’s bring to the table) can improve the lives of their patients.
This development is, in part, why we are always striving to enhance and expand our Rotation program. In September 2008, we entered into an agreement with the Rice University Athletics Department to help treat their NCAA Division I student athletes. Now in its second year, we have had many positive responses from the coaches and athletes there, and the experience attained by our students is tremendous. I want to thank the folks at Rice for choosing to work with us.
We have also just begun to work with a local alcohol and drug rehabilitation program. Although this program is still in its infancy, I truly believe that the chiropractic care offered by TCC student interns from our Moody Health Center will be a great benefit to these patients trying to better their lives.
TAC: What are the techniques taught to your students?
Brassard: We teach a variety of techniques without giving credence to one over another. We try to give our students a solid foundation in a variety of techniques so that, as they themselves grow in experience and confidence, they can then determine what may work best for them. Also, by giving them a broad-based foundation, I believe that our graduates will be better prepared to help their patients if a specific technique proves less effective.
When I was in practice myself, I would, on occasion, have a patient that didn’t respond to treatment, so I would send them to a practitioner of a technique that I didn’t use, but which I thought might work better for them. If the patient got well because of the other technique, that’s what was important—the patient got well. Other practitioners did the same and it always benefitted the patient.
As we learn to work together as a health care team, we also must work together as chiropractic professionals. Chiropractors and other medical practitioners must work well together. We don’t want to just integrate the practices of chiropractic and medicine; we want to integrate the further utilization of our colleagues as well.
TAC: What is the most unique aspect of being a student at Texas Chiropractic College?
Brassard: I think the sense of family that develops here makes the TCC experience unique for students. Speaking personally, my door is always open to our students. I try to always be available to talk to them, share different techniques with them. When the Harris Administration building was being designed, the President’s Suite included an adjusting room which gets a lot of use by our interns and doctors. This open door policy is true for the faculty and staff at TCC. I gain great pleasure when I hear our students at commencement publicly laud so many members of our faculty and the support that they provided.
And while it may not be unique to TCC, we stress to our students the necessity of their involvement in the profession’s associations. It’s important for them to keep building the chiropractic profession through these organizations, whether on the local, state or national levels. I take great pride when I attend NCLC and see not just TCC students, but representatives from so many chiropractic colleges working together for the future of chiropractic.
TAC: Any thoughts on the overall importance of postgraduate education and what TCC’s department is up to?
Brassard: : Our postgraduate office is consistently trying to provide everything that chiropractors need to be successful, especially with the constantly changing laws and marketplace. They are constantly changing course offerings as needed and looking for new learning opportunities for our alumni and the professional community, including the addition of some webinars. The goal of our postgraduate office is not just to help DC’s maintain their licensure, but to provide the best opportunity for chiropractors to enhance their practices.
TAC: Any final thoughts or words for our readers?
Brassard: TCC is continually striving to provide a great chiropractic education for the sons and daughters of our alumni and many others, an education based solidly in the sciences. Also, many people may not realize that TCC has a large Board of Regents, with individuals from diverse professional backgrounds. This size and diversity provides us with a broad spectrum of advice and leadership from lawyers, MD’s, bankers, educators, etc., as well as other chiropractors.
I would encourage any prospective chiropractic student to visit our campus and see for themselves the great educational opportunities and challenges that await them each day in our classrooms, our student organizations, and our community. TCC really is the future of healthcare!
Visit www.txchiro.edu for more information on TCC or call 1-281-487-1170.