If you read part one of this seven-part series, you will know that I proposed our profession focus its energy and attention on the development of a generational value system, highlighting the importance of a balanced spinal and nervous system as an integral aspect of maintaining health and creating wellness in one’s life. You will also likely remember that, in the body of that piece, I mentioned briefly the American Medical Associations’s curriculum on quackery developed and implemented in 1964. I will begin this segment where I left off and fulfill the promise of highlighting one of two different models that have been used by dentistry and medicine to very effectively shape the collective consciousness of society, and I will begin to highlight a model for chiropractic to do the same.
I will go out on a limb and assume that there isn’t a single reader of this column who hasn’t heard of the historic case Wilk vs. A.M.A. And, if you are like most, including myself, you understood or at least felt that this was a defining moment in chiropractic history where we won a decision that would end the unfair and undeserved persecution by the tyrannical zealot’s of the “scientific” medical establishment. It is like Greek mythology for most of us. We have heard the stories and used them as a beckoning call for the advancement of fair and equal rights in the healthcare system, but most today can’t possibly understand what it was really like when chiropractors were being jailed for helping end the suffering of citizens who were the victims of medical malfeasance while, at the same time, being held up as “cultists” and “quacks.”
Through a very good friend of mine and a mentor, Dr. John Reader, I have had the opportunity to possess the actual course material and “supporting” documentation developed by the A.M.A.’s Department of Health Education, titled Defense against Quackery a resource for Teachers. This very interesting and, I would say, irresponsible and eye-opening resource guide contains:
1) Four separate curricula including:
• General information for teachers
• A sample teaching unit for the elementary student
• A sample teaching unit for the junior high student
• A sample teaching unit for the high school student and adult groups
2) Five different pamphlets specifically used to support the danger of quackery; one of the titles, The merchants of menace, copyrighted A.M.A. 1964
3) A ten-page article, titled “The Scientific Brief against Chiropractic.” The New Physician 1966
4) A six-page document, titled Educational Background of Chiropractic School Faculties. JAMA Sept 16th 1966
5) A 35-page publication, titled Facts On Quacks, copyrighted by the A.M.A. in 1966.
If you do the math on this, you will realize that the individuals who developed these materials and were pushing this agenda are now between 65-100+ years old. And the audience they were reaching out to is now age 48-63, and their children are now approximately 24-47 years of age and their children are now the same ages that this propaganda was aimed at influencing in the first place.
I believe that the material I have was a very small piece of a much bigger initiative. The anti-quack propaganda machine was very effective at creating a generational value system or, at the very least, a level of fear and ignorance that affected the health care decisions of more than one generation. In fact, it is still very common for chiropractors to hear things like, “I wish my mother would come in; she just doesn’t believe in chiropractic;” or, “I know you could help my aunt Mildred, but she thinks chiropractors are quacks.” It even affects the baby-boomers and will continue to affect their children and grandchildren if they hold true to the ideals and beliefs of their parents.
In closing, I hope you can see the link between early education and the development of social norms, beliefs, and value systems. It is an interesting fact that the group that was directly targeted with this “defense against quackery” was the generation split between the baby-boomers and their parents. In fact, the people that primarily decide on public law and the direction healthcare “reform” is going happen to be the same people. Here are some facts to consider: The average age of the U.S. Congress—56 years old; the U.S. Senate—60 years old; U.S. Representatives—55 years old; and a U.S. CEO 56.3 years old.
The next generation of decision makers is in school now and they are waiting for leadership and direction. They are waiting for their leader to show up. Who will it be? You?
Dr. Slocum is a 1993 graduate of Logan College in St. Louis, Missouri. He is a fourth generation chiropractor, the eleventh member of his family to practice chiropractic.
Dr. Slocum and his partner, Rok A. Morin, D.C., are co-creators of Learning Curves™, a three-tier community education and marketing program for the chiropractic profession. Dr.’s Slocum and Morin lecture on a national basis to chiropractors encouraging them to spread awareness of chiropractic in their communities. Go to www.learningcurves.us, e-mail [email protected] or call 1-800- 613-2528 for more information.