n May 15, 2013, the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic, under the direction of adjunct professors Dr. Mark Studin and Dr. Bill Owens, and a group of highly credentialed chiropractors presented an overview of chiropractic and chiropractic evidence-based research to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) New York Chapter in Buffalo, New York. The focus of the presentation was to show family practice MDs when, how, and why to refer for chiropractic care as a “first-line” referral choice based upon the evidence for musculoskeletal issues. They discussed chiropractic’s role in diagnosis and advanced imaging, pain management, and disability prevention. The primary care medical doctors in attendance were inquisitive, supportive of the process, and welcomed a collaborative arrangement with doctors of chiropractic.
The meeting ended with a formal request for names of the chiropractors present and their locations to spur referrals and collaboration. The meeting was so well received that a subsequent invitation was discussed among three different chapters of the organization meeting in Syracuse, New York. The highlight of the evening was when the vice president of the AAFP said, “I wonder why chiropractors and family physicians don’t work more together. We are both focused on the conservative treatment of our patients without the use of drugs or surgery unless absolutely necessary.” According to Dr. Owens, “In the end, we were all more alike than we were different and we discovered that we can work together in the best interests of patients without any of us changing our philosophy. We don’t have to become like each other to work together.”
This meeting was historic on many fronts and the physicians in the room were more than surprised to hear that this was the first such meeting in the country between chiropractors and an organization for family medicine primary care physicians. This meeting paved the way for a second seminar in New York and we will continue with the third, fourth, fifth, etc., until we meet with every chapter of this organization and educate every family medical practitioner on how to collaborate and refer to chiropractors in his or her community. We are already setting the groundwork for the same type of collaborative environment in multiple states, as our goal is to engage with every primary care provider in the world. This might sound “Pollyannaish.” However, as difficult as it was to create the first meeting, which took five years, the second meeting took five minutes to create.
When we consider chiropractic education, we realize the importance at the doctoral level to train potential chiropractors and at the post-doctoral level to help keep our treating doctors on the cutting edge of new technology and applications. In addition, an incredible amount of positive research is being published at this time on the efficacy of chiropractic care. As a result, we are seeing an organizational shift from the top down, starting with chiropractic educational institutions, with a focus on both furthering chiropractic research and increasing the utilization of chiropractic based upon the research outcomes. In support of continuing this collaborative process between medicine and chiropractic, Dr. David Wickes, dean of the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic, has committed the resources of the college to further this process and to help ensure the future success of this collaboration.
For the first time, medical academia is spurring the research to prove chiropractic works and this paradigm shift in chiropractic research will potentially open doors to future research dollars previously unavailable to the chiropractic profession.
Chiropractic is part of the solution to the opioid epidemic in the United States, and organized medicine, starting with the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Family Practice Program has already realized that we are a “first line option/referral” for the solution. As a result, two things have occurred.
First, Dr. Bill Owens has been conferred as an adjunct assistant professor of clinical sciences at the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine, Family Medical Practice Department and has been training family medical practice residents on how to integrate (refer) chiropractic care within a primary care setting. Second, as a result of the success of the program, Dr. Owens, Dr. Studin, and the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic have been invited by the medical school to collaborate in research to help verify what the chiropractic profession already knows: chiropractic care helps people get well without the use of opiates. For the first time, medical academia is spurring the research to prove chiropractic works and this paradigm shift in chiropractic research will potentially open doors to future research dollars previously unavailable to the chiropractic profession.
According to Dr. Studin, “The future holds much promise including the continuation of family practice medical residents rotating through Dr. Owens’s office to see firsthand the benefits of chiropractic care, and after our first successful meeting with medical primary care providers, we are accelerating the program. The next step is to escalate the process to teach chiropractors across the country to create these types of relationships and present chiropractic to the medical community as a ‘first line option for referral’ for conservative spine care and take a huge step in eradicating the opioid epidemic.”