Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

A Call for Global Unity

By Canadian Chiropractor   

Features Leadership Profession

At this period in time, our leaders are faced with challenges that are,
on some levels, eternal but, at the same time, are stark identifiers of
our era. Most astonishing is the sheer number and magnitude of issues
that all leaders

At this period in time, our leaders are faced with challenges that are, on some levels, eternal but, at the same time, are stark identifiers of our era. Most astonishing is the sheer number and magnitude of issues that all leaders – whether they are heads of corporations, countries, religious groups, political parties, sectors of societies, professions or committees – are faced with. All find themselves in demand to “fix” problems that have been in the making for decades, if not centuries. Amassing the resources required to achieve solutions is a task in itself, but more fundamental, is arriving at an agreement of what “fixing” actually means. Deep faultlines, within most groups, make this latter task daunting. Furthermore, leaders must work hard, in the face of depleted enthusiasm – that sense of “why bother to turn a tide that is already upon us” that pervades our societies – to inspire folks to dare to, in fact, believe that tides can turn.

Dr. Efstathios Papadopoulos at the World Federation of Chiropractic 10th Biennial Conference in Montreal, Quebec, May 2009.


But effective leaders can rally their followers – and those who form the circles in which their group will serve and grow – to understand that the challenges of our age require vision, faith, time, and teamwork if they are to be overcome.

Within chiropractic, a leader, who has dedicated himself to addressing the profession’s challenges on a global scale, has emerged and is working tirelessly to fulfil his commitment to make chiropractic accessible to people in all countries, and in all sectors of society. This leader is Dr. Efstathios Papadopoulos, a DC from Cyprus, and current president of the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC). Dr. Papadopoulos knows well the areas where the profession is challenged, both geographically and philosophically, and understands the paradigm shifts that must occur within, and around, chiropractic in order for it to flourish in health-care systems around the world. He is now applying his knowledge and experience to the goal of bringing a unified, standardized and recognized profession onto the world stage of health and wellness.

Canadian Chiropractor (CC) caught up with Papadopoulos at the WFC 10th Biennial Conference in Montreal this past May. Despite his dizzying schedule, he was more than happy to address Canadian DCs and discuss his views and goals for the profession.

Globally, what do you feel are the profession’s greatest challenges, at this point in time?

Papadopoulos: First and foremost, we need to concentrate on global expansion of the profession, while maintaining one international identity. The public identity of the chiropractic profession, if it is to be effective and successful, should be similar in all countries. This expansion will require various things.

First, we need to undertake the global standardization of chiropractic education under the umbrella of the Councils on Chiropractic Education International (CCEI). In Europe an effort to accomplish this was initiated on April 1, 2009 under the European Committee for Standardization (CEN). To learn more about this, I would encourage chiropractors to visit We need to standardize clinical guidelines also.

Second, I think the numbers of chiropractic practitioners must be increased in those countries where they are low. This can be achieved by increasing enrolment in existing chiropractic schools, and I estimate that we will need approximately 20 new university-
based chiropractic programs worldwide in the next 10-15 years, in order to build the profession internationally and respond to competition from other professions that are trying to fill the need for chiropractic in various countries.

The profession must work diligently to improve interprofessional relations with other health-care practitioners. This must be part of a goal to achieve full participation in mainstream health care. The profession must undergo a reclassification at the level of the World Health Organization (WHO). We must move on from being classified under “traditional medicine,” or CAM, to a more suitable mainstream classification that reflects our role in health care.

CC.: Again, globally, what do you think have been chiropractic’s biggest victories over the past year? 

Papadopoulos: In the area of sports chiropractic, the Federation Internationale de Chiropratique du Sport (FICS), under the direction of WFC, has been reorganized with new statutes, new commissions, a new executive council and a new recently launched website. The good news is that thanks to the efforts of the Chiropractic Council of Sports Sciences (Canada), (CCSC(C)), chiropractic will be included in the polyclinic for all athletes at the Vancouver Olympics next February.

In Brazil, the profession was defended successfully, after the physiotherapy profession tried to claim chiropractic as part of its scope of practice. Two federal court judgments have gone against the PTs in that country.

In China, the WFC assisted the Chinese chiropractors to form the Chinese Chiropractic Association, and translated the WHO Guidelines on Chiropractic Education into Chinese. These were available at the WHO Congress on TM/CAM and Symposium on Manual Methods of Healthcare in Beijing in November 2008. There is now a strong platform for the development of chiropractic in China.

Furthermore, the Canadian Chiropractic Association’s program to establish chiropractic research chairs at leading universities in each of Canada’s 10 provinces made major progress, greatly expanding international research capacity. This was confirmed at the WFC’s 10th Biennial Congress in Montreal, April 30 to May 2, when we heard from many of these leading researchers.

We have successfully achieved global distribution of the profession’s Straighten Up program. And, we have seen the formation of a joint committee of the WFC and the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards (FCLB), to find ways to better regulate the profession at the international level.

What would you like to see the profession accomplish, in the next five years?

Papadopoulos: I would like to see the profession further promote its agreed, common market identity as experts in spinal health, and co-ordinate and improve interprofessional relations. I would like to also see the completion of the formation of regional structures along the lines of The European Chiropractors Union (ECU), particularly in the four underdeveloped WFC Regions, namely, the Eastern Mediterranean, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

I would like to see the formation of an association representing all chiropractic colleges worldwide, to foster better understanding and co-operation between them. I would like to see greater use of the services of the International Board of Chiropractic Examiners (IBCE) by countries that need their services.

There must be increased and successful political action in countries that have no legislation, to achieve legislation and regulation. At WHO we must move out of the traditional medicine category to a more “mainstream” classification, and convert the one temporary staff position we have now in Geneva to a permanent one. We must increase our presence at the WHO.

CC: What do you feel will be the contribution/role of Canadian DCs in realizing these goals?

Internationally we all rely much upon the Canadian chiropractic profession, because of its numbers and quality and past achievements. Canadian DCs can help by maintaining their efforts in achieving a strong research capacity and continued integration of the profession in mainstream health care. The efforts of many Canadian DCs, including Dr. Sil Mior and Dr. Deborah Kopansky-Giles, are at the forefront, internationally, here. Finally, Canadians will contribute much to chiropractic through their already strong achievements in sports chiropractic, perhaps the specialized area of chiropractic that offers the whole profession most in terms of public recognition.•

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