Since last spring, I have toured and made presentations at nine different chiropractic colleges in the U.S. and overseas. I always love speaking to students as their enthusiasm is thoroughly contagious. From my observation, it appears that people who have chosen to make chiropractic their life’s work are truly dedicated to helping people get and stay well, and not just in it for profit.
I have never fielded better or more realistic questions than I have in these past several months. Usually, the questions I get are those I have heard a hundred times before, but this time was different. For example, at Palmer Florida, a freshman asked me a question about research that I hadn’t previously considered, and his insight has actually influenced the direction of one of our current studies.
It was also my impression that students are more interested in data than dogma, which I believe is both healthy and progressive. When I was a student those many years ago, we had no data and were forced to rely on dogma, or what we called “philosophy.” I am happy to report that, following my presentation at Northwestern Health Sciences, a student came up to me and said this was one of the best “data-driven” lectures he had heard since starting his chiropractic training. The aspect he appreciated most was the fact that we were not afraid to admit we didn’t know everything, and if we tested an idea and it was not solid, we discarded it and moved on. I told him this approach is known as science.
I do think we are finally maturing as a profession and the perspectives of these students reinforce that position. They are seeking fact, not fiction, and are willing to embrace new ideas if it means they can provide the best treatment possible to their patients.
Enrollments are up in most of the colleges, as students recognize that the public is welcoming natural methods of healing more often. Leadership in the administration offices and the strength of faculty at these institutions are also a credit to our profession. And the bonus: The student of today continues to have a burning desire to help people, mirroring the same inspiration that led me to study chiropractic after achieving wellness through its care. Add in that Forbes.com recently named chiropractic as one of its top small-business opportunities, and choosing the professional path of chiropractic is both intrinsically and extrinsically rewarding. As chiropractors, we should feel fortunate that our legacy is being upheld by such a strong group of new practitioners. They will make us proud, I’m sure.