Dear Colleagues

Editors’ note: The following commentary titled “Some thoughts for my chiropractic colleagues” was written several weeks after the WFC/ECU Congress in Berlin, March 21-23, 2019.

Walls are very prominent in our dialogue these days, literally and figuratively. The remnants of the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie and the like were an eerie backdrop for a call for more walls and more division in the profession from the plenary sessions of the WFC/ECU Congress.

Let’s hope the long-term best interests of the profession, the needs of the people we serve and the ability to serve those needs as chiropractors prevail over a bloody, painful power play to advance a hegemonic agenda of the moment.

Some thoughts for my chiropractic colleagues:
May 6, 2019
Dear Colleagues,
About six weeks ago, I was in Berlin, Germany for several meetings including The Rubicon Group (TRG), the International Chiropractic Regulatory Society (ICRS), and the joint meetings of the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) and the European Chiropractors Union (ECU).
The meetings were very revealing, especially the WFC/ECU meetings. As someone who has participated in 15 of 15 WFC Congresses around the globe over the past 30 years it was unlike anything I have ever experienced in the WFC environment. It was distressing, if not shocking.
What I observed was a coordinated and concerted effort on the part of senior researchers in the profession to remove all things “neuro” from the chiropractic profession and to stake a claim in pursuit of musculoskeletal care and rehabilitation. This was proffered in the harshest and most disrespectful terms ever offered at a WFC meeting.
This strategy, apparently emanating from the leadership of the Research Council of the WFC, has created an organizational crisis for the WFC. Under the structure of the WFC, the control and management of the organization is vested in the WFC Council, functioning as its board of directors. The WFC Research Council is a body that was brought into existence by the WFC Council. As such the WFC Research Council’s charge flows from the power and authority granted it by the WFC Council. There is a clearly stated expectation that the activities of the WFC Research Council would be conducted in a manner consistent with the direction and policy determinations of the WFC itself.
The WFC Research Council took it upon itself to alter the terms of reference, the governing document issued by the WFC Council that sets the expectations and limits of authority of the Research Council, from a “neuromusculoskeletal” to a “musculoskeletal” emphasis and introduced a demand for “divorce” in the ranks of the profession based on the Research Council’s interpretation of evidence-informed care. Such actions are subject to the review and approval of the WFC Council, that is, the board of directors of the WFC. To my knowledge this change has not been brought to the WFC Council for vote to approve and hence no such approval has not been received by the WFC Research Council.
The crisis that the WFC finds itself approaching, if not already dealing with, is that the leadership of the WFC Research Council laid out policy perspectives in Berlin, i.e., musculoskeletal versus neuromusculoskeletal and the divorce approach, that has the potential to destroy the 30-year history or cooperation and collaboration that has been the hallmark of the WFC. In so doing, the WFC Research Council has usurped the authority of the WFC Council and, in effect, set the stage for a leadership and directional coup.
If the WFC Council fails to come to grips with the unilateral and unapproved actions of a subsidiary body, the WFC Research Council, then the WFC Council will abrogate its corporate and organizational authority and render the organization meaningless and the WFC Council subservient to the Research Council.
Decades of hard work, the investment of millions of dollars, the standing of the profession with bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) are at risk. This is not semantics. This is not philosophy. This is not inconsequential. This is one of the most critical windows in the history of the WFC.
The leadership of the WFC Council would do well to choose carefully, cautiously, and wisely as it evaluates the affront to its authority that has been levied against it, and the profession at large, by the leadership of its own Research Council.
Gerard W. Clum, D.C.
President, WFC 2006-2008
Council Member, 1989-2016
Honour Award Recipient 2015
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Gerry Clum, D.C.

Director, The Octagon
Life University
Gerry Clum, D.C.

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