Separate and Distinct

Community Over Competition
Dr. Gerry Clum

Future chiropractors are likely to look back at this address, and say that it was the pivotal moment in elevating our professional perspective high enough to see our advantages as Edison’s “doctors of the future.”

Only Dr. Clum could so well articulate that only by being chiropractors, doing what no other form of health care can do, will we overcome the challenges must face and the battles we must win to maintain our identity as a separate and distinct profession. If we win that, we will have won our right to exist in the future.

Listen today…it’s urgent we get this right.


(Length: About 40 minutes)

Dr. Gerry Clum at Parker University, Fall 2016

Please see a loosely condensed version of Dr. Clum’s remarks below.
Some of the phrasing is nearly exact – some is not exact at all but is meant to convey the spirit of Dr. Clum’s remarks at Parker University in Fall of 2016

Health and wellbeing is the absence of poverty, a presence of community.

We need a community around an identified perspective.

Separate and distinct. Not isolated and alone.

We interact with medicine and other branches of healthcare – but chiropractic is the core of what we do.

We’ve built more and more fences to separate us.

But the metaphor that serves us better is that of a flagpole flying our singular banner, and the strength of the connection to its base and the ground in which it’s planted.

With all due respect to our predecessors, we live in a different time with different needs. What worked for the great leaders of the past will not work for us in the times in which we find ourselves.

The system no longer builds in separateness and isolation – and healthcare is moving toward a team-based approach and “integrated healthcare” means a lot of different things to different people.

And it’s going to move in fits and starts just like the racial integration movement came in fits and starts when the silos began to break down. And if people think healthcare discrimination isn’t going to be just as messy, or that racial discrimination ended with the voting rights act, well, they’re crazy. Both racial discrimination and healthcare discrimination are alive and well.

Because healthcare discrimination is real – and because chiropractic has been actively suppressed by the destructive power of discrimination – tt is urgent that chiropractors understand who we are, what we do, how we do it, and what we have to contribute – today – with greater clarity than ever.

The are four considerations that are paramount to our times:

  1. The gilded age of medicine is gone. The bean counter era is here. If we can’t produce in the marketplace, we will be gone – as will be spinal surgeons and other disciplines that can’t show the benefit of what they do according to the test of the day.
  2. Doctors today are providers. They are no longer held in the high esteem as they were in the days of BJ, the Parkers, the Clevelands, the Logans…all the others. Social respect and authority have been withdrawn. We withdrew power and authority from the military and began to demand accountability. Medicine also experienced this same withdrawal of respect and authority. Chiropractors never really had cultural authority – so we had to provide value from the very beginning. The “hottest” player in health care today is the health coach…because if you go to a provider, you’re going to be provided with that service. The coach’s job is to help you develop meaning and context for where you are.
  3. Academic accomplishment gave you credibility – not anymore.
  4. Duration-based education vs competency-based education. We are still stuck in our curricula – we are bound by the accreditation standards of another time, another technology…and it doesn’t make sense.

Professions fail when their ideas become so broadened, that whatever distinctive notions they have about caring for patients are lost.

When you want to kill a culture, you first kill the language and then you kill the practices and customs. Words are important – words like subluxation. Words that bring clarity are important.

Survival of the fittest must cede to cooperation.

We must be separate and distinct so that we are not lost in the tumultuous transition that is coming.


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Gerry Clum, D.C.

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

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