D r. Frank Nicchi has served as President of the New York Chiropractic College (NYCC) since September 2000. His education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. John’s University in 1973, the Doctor of Chiropractic degree from New York Chiropractic College in 1978, and a Master of Science degree in Management (with Honors) from Roberts Wesleyan College in 2005.
Dr. Nicchi’s academic career started in 1980, when he was appointed to the faculty of New York Chiropractic College, teaching clinical diagnosis and chiropractic technique. He maintains the faculty rank of Professor in the department of Diagnosis and Clinical Practice. Additionally, he has served as a faculty clinician at the College’s outpatient health center in Levittown, NY, and as Dean of the Division of Postgraduate and Continuing Education.
Over the past two years, he has also served as President of the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC) and, as such, acts as a member of the Steering Committee of the Chiropractic Summit.
TAC: What inspired you to become a chiropractor?
NICCHI: I was first exposed to chiropractic at a young age through my brother-in-law, who was a chiropractor. Like so many others, I benefited personally from chiropractic care in my adolescence and as a young adult, leading me to pursue a career in this rewarding profession.
TAC: Did you ever have a practice?
NICCHI: Yes, prior to my appointment as President, I maintained an active chiropractic practice for some 22 years while attending to my teaching and administrative responsibilities at NYCC.
TAC: What are the responsibilities of the president of the Association of Chiropractic Colleges, and how does the ACC influence policy regarding chiropractic education?
NICCHI: Let me begin by giving an overview of the ACC. The Association is comprised of all accredited chiropractic educational programs in North America and New Zealand, whose mission seeks to advance chiropractic education, research and service.
A major focus of the association’s activity is the coordination of the annual educational and research conference commonly known as the ACC-RAC (Research Agenda Conference).
The conference begins with meetings of the ACC Working Groups, representatives from different areas of colleges (chief academic officers, chief financial officers, deans and directors of clinics, institutional advancement, assessment, research, libraries, admissions and postgraduate education) to discuss common challenges and share mutually supportive information.
Faculty and researchers representing academic institutions globally assemble to explore and establish best practices in chiropractic education and research. This year’s conference (scheduled for March 18-19 in Las Vegas) has as its theme, “Focus on Integration: Chiropractic Education & Practice in Integrative Healthcare.”
Additionally, the ACC advances education and research through its Journal of Chiropractic Education (JCE)—the profession’s only peer reviewed journal dedicated to the mission of promoting excellence in educational research in chiropractic.
The ACC provides educational information and guidance to the profession on topics such as the safety of cervical manipulation and guidelines related to informed consent. We also have consistently served as a partner with the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) in carrying out their Biennial Education Conference held in various countries throughout the world.
As president of the ACC, it has been my privilege to provide leadership and oversight to association activities and initiatives over the past two years. Through organizational planning, we have developed several specific strategic directives. These have led to the formation of focused task forces that: Examine how we might increase the prospective student inquiry pool (which is critical to enrollment growth); address the definition of “primary care provider” and explore the feasibility of developing clinical residencies as part of the doctor of chiropractic program training.
Surely, these strategic directives significantly impact on the future of chiropractic education and the students we serve.
TAC: How do you view the position of chiropractic with regard to the changes taking place with the healthcare reform?
NICCHI: First, let me express the importance of the unified effort and work put forth by the Government Relations committee of the Chiropractic Summit in helping to ensure chiropractic inclusion in the healthcare reform legislation slated to take effect in 2014. It includes a provision that will prevent insurance companies from discriminating against practicing doctors of chiropractic administering professional services consistent with their respective states’ scopes of practice.
This is historic language, as it will apply to ERISA plans as well as any plans created in the law’s new “state exchange market.” I am thrilled that the new healthcare reform law casts the services provided by doctors of chiropractic as an integral part of the healthcare system.
TAC: Anything new happening at New York College of Chiropractic that you’d like to share with our readers?
NICCHI: NYCC recognizes the critical role it plays in shaping professional and public perceptions and has forged affiliations with several Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMC). We currently offer clinical rotations at five U.S. Veterans Affairs facilities in Miami, FL, and in Buffalo, Rochester, Canandaigua and Bath, NY. This is significant, given the fact that an estimated 75 percent of all healthcare providers do part of their training at a VA facility. Having chiropractic interns work shoulder to shoulder with other healthcare practitioners helps build the cultural authority of our profession. We’ve also been able to integrate our chiropractic clinical instruction into private hospitals and long-term care facilities, as well as in the campus health centers of several state universities in New York.
NYCC recognizes the critical role it plays in shaping professional and public perceptions and has forged affiliations with several Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMC).
Consistent with our efforts to integrate chiropractic with other healthcare disciplines, we have successfully transitioned into a multi-programmatic institution, currently offering Master of Science degrees in acupuncture and Oriental medicine, diagnostic imaging, clinical anatomy, applied clinical nutrition, and human anatomy and physiology instruction. The Master of Science in Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction, the first and only program of its kind and offered almost entirely online, takes advantage of higher education’s increasing need for instructors thoroughly trained in human anatomy and physiology and who are solidly grounded in the latest theories and best practices of undergraduate education.
In addition, NYCC launched its new Academy for Professional Success, designed to provide students and alumni with the tools required for business success. We twice earned recognition by The Chronicle of Higher Education as a “Great College to Work For,” ultimately earning a place on its honor roll. This past year, we commenced delivery of our Master of Science in Applied Clinical Nutrition completely online and also opened our fourth outpatient health center in Rochester, New York.
TAC: How do you view the future of chiropractic?
NICCHI: I am optimistic about chiropractic’s future. The public is increasingly seeking more natural approaches for their healthcare needs, and the advent of chiropractic integration into diverse healthcare settings is enabling healthcare practitioners representing a variety of disciplines to better understand the benefits and effectiveness of chiropractic. This, hopefully, will lead to collaboration with field practitioners through cross referrals and a “team approach” to healthcare.
To learn more about NYCC and our educational programs, please visit our Web site at www.nycc.edu.