Interview with Terry R. Yochum, D.C., D.A.C.B.R. Chiropractic Radiologist & Author of The Essentials of Skeletal Radiology

“This July will see the publication of the third edition of Dr. Terry Yochum’s textbook, The Essentials of Skeletal Radiology.  It’s hard to express the importance that this work has had in raising the profile of the chiropractic profession.   Before Dr. Yochum’s text, there had never been a chiropractic textbook published by a major publisher.  The text is now one of the best sellers for Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.  Not only is the new edition a mandatory text for all chiropractic students, over 100 medical colleges require it in their curriculum.”
Mark Sanna, D.C.

In an interview with The American Chiropractor (TAC), Dr. Terry R. Yochum shares with us more about himself and his book, which remains the primary radiology reference guide for chiropractors and medical doctors around the world. 

TAC:  First of all, Dr. Yochum, tell us a little bit about yourself?
Yochum:  I am originally from South St. Louis, MO, where I attended Cleveland High School, the same school that my sister, cousins, aunts, uncles, mother and father graduated from. I went to Southeast Missouri State College in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to play baseball and I did a pre-med course prior to entering the National College of Chiropractic (NCC), in September 1967.  I graduated Cum Laude in May 1972 and was President of my graduating class.  On June 4, 1972, I married my best friend, Inge, and we spent our honeymoon in Germany visiting her family and relatives.  On June 4, we will have been married 33 years and we have 3 children: Kimberley Ann (24), Philip Andrew (21), and Alicia Marie (19).

In September of 1972, I entered the Radiology Residency Program at NCC.  Then, after spending four years in radiology training in Chicago, I joined my father, Dr. Kenneth E. Yochum in the clinical practice of chiropractic in September of 1976.  Subsequently, I was appointed Professor and Chairman of the Department of Radiology at the Logan Chiropractic College in St. Louis, Missouri.  A unique opportunity presented itself in the fall of 1977, so my wife and I traveled to Melbourne, Australia, to build the radiology department at the International College of Chiropractic (now known as the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology). 
In September of 1983, with a contract in hand to write a radiology textbook, I migrated back to the United States and landed in Denver, Colorado, where I now reside. 

TAC:  How did you pick radiology as a specialty?
Yochum:  My father was always very interested in radiology and I believe he initially sparked my interest.  During my study at National, Dr. Joseph Janse, President of NCC, and Drs. Donald B. Tomkins and James F. Winterstein, my radiology instructors at the college, fueled this interest. 

TAC:  What prompted you to write Essentials of Skeletal Radiology?
Yochum:  Having taught radiology at three institutions full time for twelve years, I knew that there was a need for a single reference source to encompass many areas of the technological aspects of radiology to include normal and pathological interpretation.  One day, I received a letter from Ms. Toni Tracy, then the Vice President of Williams and Wilkins Publishing House in Baltimore, Maryland, inviting me to consider the possibility of writing a textbook.  I remember how shocked I was when I got this letter and did not respond to it for almost two months.  The process of their offering me a contract, after the submission of sample chapters, table of contents and photos, took approximately two years.  It took five years to hand write the 1st edition of this textbook (10,000 pages of legal size paper), which converted into 5000 pages of computer printout.  It took one year to proofread it. 

TAC:  When was the first edition of your book published and what effect did this have on the profession?
Yochum:  The first edition of Essentials of Skeletal Radiology was published in January of 1987.  It represented the first textbook authored by a doctor of chiropractic and published by a legitimate Medical Publishing House.  I believe that this broke the ground and opened the door for many other chiropractic scholars to publish textbooks, many by Williams and Wilkins as well as by other publishing houses.  The book sold out its first printing of 5000 copies in three weeks, which is a record still holding at Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, as well as the six printings in the first year.  The book met with record success with over 45,000 copies sold for the first edition and over 30,000 copies of the second edition. 

TAC:  Your book’s 3rd edition will be coming out in July.  What’s new in this edition that can’t be found in the second edition?
Yochum:  The third edition contains a new chapter entitled Masqueraders of Skeletal Disease.  This chapter deals with the disorders of the head, and soft tissues of the neck, chest and abdomen that may masquerade as or mimic musculoskeletal complaints.  We have added approximately 500 new illustrations and over 1000 new references; all of the artwork and diagrams have been redesigned and updated.  Additional new plain film radiographs, bone scans, CT and MRI scans are scattered throughout all chapters.  The third edition has grown to almost 1900 pages, an increase of approximately 300 pages from the second edition. 

TAC:  I understand at the beginning of your new edition, you have a foreward by distinguished people from three different professions.  Can you tell us about this?
Yochum:  I am honored that Drs. Reed B. Phillips and Joseph W. Howe, Chiropractic Radiologists, have provided a foreword for this new edition.  Dr. Howe was my professor at NCC and I am forever indebted to him for his tutelage.  Dr. Phillips and I were residents together and have maintained a wonderful friendship for many years.  Both of these gentlemen have written forewords for previous editions of my text. 

Dr. M. Bruce Farkas, an Osteopathic Radiologist, who trained me at the Chicago Osteopathic Hospital, also wrote forewords for both the first and second edition and has, again, rendered a foreword for this third edition. 

In addition, I am happy to inform the profession that Donald Resnick, M.D., (Professor of Radiology, University of California, San Diego, and Chairman of the Musculoskeletal Division of the Veterans Hospital, also in San Diego, has written an outstanding foreword for this edition.  Dr. Resnick is the most well-known and published Musculoskeletal Radiologist in the world and has written his own 6000-page, six-volume encyclopedic textbook.  His kind words in the introduction strengthen the overall image of chiropractic, which is very pleasing to me. 

TAC:  Dr. Yochum, I know you have an active radiology practice, yourself.  Tell us about this. 
Yochum:  Yes, I interpret radiographs along with CT and MRI scans for chiropractors all over the United States.  Many chiropractors post us their films for interpretation and we provide a detailed report with treatment recommendations.  This is something that I have done for many years, along with my associate Michael S. Barry, D.C., D.A.C.B.R.

TAC:  How does one obtain the chiropractic radiology degree Diplomate in the American Chiropractic Board of Radiology (DACBR)?
Yochum:  Years ago, this could be obtained by taking a three year post-graduate weekend course of approximately 300 hours.  These courses were put on through the post-graduate departments of CCE-accredited chiropractic colleges.  However, a number of years ago, those courses were phased out and, in order to be eligible to sit the DACBR examination now, one must participate in a three-year, full time radiology residency program.  Radiology Residency programs are offered at the following chiropractic institutions:

  1. Southern California Institute of Health Sciences (formerly LACC).
  2. National Health Sciences University (formerly National College of Chiropractic).
  3. Logan College of Chiropractic.
  4. Western States Chiropractic College.
  5. Anglo-European Chiropractic College (AECC), Bournemouth, England.
  6. Parker Chiropractic College.
  7. Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Toronto, Canada.
  8. New York Chiropractic College is offering a Radiology Residency program and is currently receiving applicants, but this program has not commenced yet. 

TAC:  You’re on the faculty of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, as well.  Tell us for how long and how did this come about?
Yochum:  I have been on the faculty of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Department of Radiology, since June 1991.  They were using my textbook as a teaching aid and had lost their Musculoskeletal Radiologist.  Dr. Michael Manco-Johnson called and asked me if I would consider giving some lectures at the University to the Department of Radiology and the residents.  I agreed to do so, and the lectures were well received.  Wanting to secure me as a faculty member to teach within the department and interact with the faculty and residents, he asked if I would consider applying for a faculty position.  I, of course, was elated to do so and he fought very hard for me for this appointment, which I am now very thankful for.  I am pleased to tell you that I have won the “Teacher of the Year” award seven times in the last thirteen years, which is an award given at the medical school graduation by the graduating radiology residents.  They vote on the teacher that they feel has given them the most throughout their final academic year.  I do believe that I am the only Chiropractic Radiologist in the world on the faculty of a University Medical School teaching Skeletal Radiology. 

TAC:  You also do a lot of consultant work for many companies inside and outside of the chiropractic profession, including many seminars where you often speak.  Can you give us a list of these companies and organizations with a brief description of what you do for each? 
Yochum:  I have been a Chiropractic Radiological Consultant to Foot Levelers, Inc., for many years.  My good friends, Dr. Monte Greenawalt and Kent Greenawalt, have supported me in lecture programs around the country.

I consulted with Bennett X-ray for many years before they were sold and, now, Healthcare Manufacturing (HCMI) has taken up the production and sale of 100 kh high-frequency X-ray machines.  I designed the Yochum signature series software to standardize X-ray techniques for chiropractors. 

For approximately ten years now, I have been the Chiropractic Radiology consultant to Medical Resources, Inc., an imaging company in Hackensack, NJ.  I read many MRI scans from their centers around the United States and have also given a number of lectures for them privately.  They have also sponsored me at numerous state association meetings. 

Approximately two years ago, I was appointed chairman of the continuing education arm of Dr. Mark Sanna’s company, Breakthrough Coaching.  This has been a wonderful experience and I have gotten to know Dr. Sanna on a personal level.  I support his vision for the profession and I am excited to be a part of the Breakthrough Coaching team. 

I have also consulted with Primal Pictures, LLC, of London, England.  This is a company, which sells anatomical computerized CD’s.  Their anatomical images are absolutely superb and I have used my influence with the company to have a sample CD offered for free with the third edition of my textbook.  They have also graciously donated their CD’s to 19 different chiropractic colleges. 

Most recently, I have taken a position on the board of advisors of a company entitled Diagnostic Testing Centers of America.  This is an outstanding company that does electrodiagnostic testing for medical and chiropractic physicians nationwide.  They have recently sponsored me as a guest speaker for various organizations and state association meetings. 

I have been one of the radiological consultants to the American Chiropractic Association Journal for over thirty years.  I wrote the question and answer section for the ACA Journal for many years and started the radiology quiz corner in their journal back in 1980. 

TAC:  Is there anything new on the horizon for imaging for chiropractors in the future that you could share with the profession?
Yochum:  Yes, I believe that the future for imaging in the private chiropractic marketplace will convert from standard radiography to digital imaging.  This will allow chiropractors to get rid of their dark rooms and the process will become filmless.  There are huge advantages to digital imaging, not the least of which are no repeat X-rays, reduced patient dosage, no storage problems, and no film and solution problems to deal with.  One of the unique opportunities this will provide for chiropractors is the opportunity to send their X-rays to DACBR’s around the country by the simple touch of a button over the internet for sophisticated chiropractic radiology reports.  Many of the chiropractic radiologists in this country will be expanding their computer terminals in order to receive images like this from practicing chiropractors nationwide.  I believe this will significantly speed up and enhance the quality of patient care for practicing chiropractors.  This technology will be cost effective and available to the chiropractic profession before this year is out. 

TAC:  Any closing remarks or advice for our readers?
Yochum:  I would like to thank the thousands of chiropractors who have attended my lectures over the years and particularly those who found my book worthy of their purchase.  The Essentials of Skeletal Radiology actually represents the fourth child within the Yochum family, three given birth by my wife and the fourth given birth by both my wife and myself.  I wish to thank my lovely wife, Inge, for all her support in my professional endeavors.  The time away from home and my family has been significant.

Yochum & Rowe’s Essentials of Skeletal Radiology, 3rd Edition, can be purchased directly from Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins by calling 1-800-638-0672 or going to,0,0-7817-3946-2,00.html.  The textbook will also be available at all chiropractic college bookstores in the United States in July 2004. TAC

Leave a Reply