The Chancellor Chats Back

So much of the information we receive today – especially through social media – is biased, inaccurate, false and even malicious. In addition to the many fake news posts that made the rounds on Facebook, there are a number of posts about chiropractic and even Life University that are either outright false or intentionally designed to deceive.

From former employees with axes to grind to colleagues more focused on competition than on cooperation, Life U has been targeted with posts – intended to harm and deface – that can only be described as vandalism. Some of these posts, when shared, even appear to have come from Life U because anyone can download a logo from the Internet to use in a campaign of vindictiveness. One such post even suggested that Life U is in danger of losing our accreditation, a patently false suggestion and one that is clearly intended to harm Life U most likely in an unenlightened attempt to benefit peer institutions. As any good enrollment expert will tell you, bashing other schools with the intent of benefitting your school can only hurt you in the long run.

At Life U, we want to make it clear that the world needs more chiropractors and there are a number of great schools out there that graduate great chiropractors. The most important thing for anyone who has been called to service as a chiropractor is to find the institution that offers the best fit.

Of course, Life U does have peer institutions that we believe offer the best fit with regard to the foundational principles of chiropractic, the commitment to maintaining chiropractic as a separate and distinct subluxation-focused, drug-free profession, and who are committed to working collaboratively on advancing the science, philosophy and art of chiropractic. You will be able to find more about these institutions by visiting The Rubicon Group.

Recently, in answer to some of these attacks on Life U and on the profession, Life University Chancellor, Dr. Guy Riekeman, addressed some of the questions and criticisms – many of which were fundamentally mistaken or deceptive.

Take a look at the Q and A below so you will be better informed and able to share more accurate information with colleagues, patients and prospective students in your social media circle.


Q: In a recent Facebook discussion, you were asked by someone who advocates dropping subluxation as the focus of chiropractic, about the think tank and NGO in which Life U is involved. Can you say a bit more about those?

A: Life University has a think tank called The Octagon. It’s based on eight core values or principles. The first five years, we discussed the role of philosophy in health care policy, specifically the role of vitalism as a model for national health care. Because of that, we were involved with a number of integrated health care models, which are medical universities and various others who have an interest in non-surgical, non-medical health care. We sit on a number of those boards now, one of which is the Integrated Health Policy Consortium (IHPC).  In fact, Life University’s work in this area was so profound over five years that Georgetown University, which holds this conference every year, actually held its conferences at Life University to acknowledge our contribution.

One of the main advocates of this was Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa. He’s the person who started the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Alternative Medicine [now the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)]. He was the first person to fund it, in response to his friend Mike Crawford, who was the chancellor at Palmer College at the time. When Harkin retired last year, over 100 organizations that are involved with alternative health care came to honor him. At his request, I was privileged to be one of the seven speakers; in fact, I was the last speaker.


The second five years of the Octagon, we’ve been discussing the role of integrity and it has led to a number of things, such as the Center for Compassion, Integrity and Secular Ethics, which has initiated some really profound programs, one of which is one of the first major degree programs for incarcerated people, at Arrendale women’s correctional facility. It’s a model for helping to end recidivism in the United States so this think tank is more than just a think tank; it’s an organization that gets together, produces various centers, and these centers have projects that are impacting the future of humanity.


As for the Non Government Organization, Life University is part of a unique NGO called the Alliance for Health Promotion. We have offices in Geneva. I asked the head of the Center for Disease Control at a luncheon one time, how much money the CDC spends on health and health promotion versus just disease and disease treatment. The response was half of 1 percent. I asked when we were at the World Health Organization having a meeting at their headquarters. A number of experts and high ups in the WHO attended, and I asked one of them the same question and told them that the response from the CDC was half of one percent. His response was that the World Health Organization spends half of that on actual health promotion versus disease treatment. So, being part of the Alliance for Health Promotion is unique and gets a lot of attention at WHO.


Q: So, speaking of “subluxation deniers,” what would you say to those who want to abandon the foundational approach that makes chiropractic a separate and distinct profession?

A: My response would probably be, “I can’t believe that’s even a conversation today.” I would recommend getting to a Heidi Haavick seminar as quickly as possible. My plenary at the fall season this year was three hours on the documentation that’s going on, on current subluxation models, where we need to go next. Check out Heidi Haavick’s work and reference list in The Reality Check as a starting place for those that don’t know.


Q: And, on the other side of the coin, there are those who understand and support subluxation as the continued basis of our profession but are hypercritical of any attempt (possibly other than their own) to define it and fill the research gap that exists around it. What do you say to those critics?

A: One of the accusations that has been leveled against The Rubicon Group (TRG) with regard to its definition of subluxation is that it didn’t take into consideration other models of subluxation, of which there are multiple. There are a number of models and they all have various upsides and downsides and important aspects to them. They all deserve to be researched and they will continue to be researched. Our understanding of chiropractic in 1929 – and how we define the subluxation and what happens when we adjust a patient based on science today – is different. It’s not that the adjustment is different, not that what happens with them is different, it is simply that our ability to explain it is different. And TRG took the available research and produced a model for a modern definition. Yet we’ll continue to research some of these other models and we’ll engage others in researching the other models. What we knew in 1929 is different than what we know today. We’re going to know something different in five years and TRG will continue to evolve its understanding and definition of subluxation as we move forward.


Q: You indicated in a Facebook post that the ACC is less aligned with chiropractic principles than The Rubicon Group. You were asked why, if the ACC is not serving our principles, Life University hasn’t resigned from the ACC. What’s your response to that question?

A: The ACC paradigm is certainly something that has principles in it that LIFE is supporting, such as no drugs and subluxation. However, like a lot of organizations, the ACC doesn’t always take a stand or reflect on its mission, vision, and position statements. We are questioning the ACC on their willingness to step up and defend the ACC paradigm in the future and, based on how those conversations go, we’ll make a decision about our involvement with the ACC.

Q: Finally, there has been a good deal of criticism with regard to the role some years ago of current Life U Board chair, Dr. Kevin Fogarty, in a vote that involved the use of the term “medicine” in Florida chiropractic licensure. How would you respond to those critics?

A: People like to take complex issues and boil them down to simple emotional kinds of issues. We see it going on in our politics today almost to the point of irrationality. There was a time in Florida when the opportunity of symbolically taking the word “medicine” out of the title of a chiropractor in Florida, which is Doctor Chiropractic Medicine. However, it [the vote on that measure] was part of a number of other measures that were all packaged together and these other measures were unacceptable. Consequently, it wasn’t that someone was voting on that title. That would be an easy thing. It was that the complexity of that title was tied into a whole number of other issues that would impact chiropractors and chiropractic. So if you want to know more about that, we’re hoping to have a Disruptive Riff with the people that were involved with it. It’s important to get all the facts before you start having emotional responses to something that might have been nothing more than symbolic.


In closing, there is nothing more important in our current times, when there are so many sources of biased information with some of it even being created to cause harm for personal gain, whether financial or even just egotistical, than engaging our critical thinking. Please always make sure to sort through things before sharing or acting out of misinformation. Let’s continue to try and work together to make our profession as great has it has the potential to be.

We’ll leave you with a recent TCL Facebook post – and please help us set the record straight by sharing this article with everyone in your social media circle.

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