Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

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B.C. ramps up plan for new chiropractic school

Future academic institute to include research, multidisciplinary clinic

August 20, 2015
By Mari-Len De

Conceptual drawing of the planned Pacific Academic Institute of Chiropractic

British Columbia may soon become the site of a new academic institution for chiropractic.

The new Pacific Academic Institute of Chiropractic (PAIC) has released a progress report that outlined recent developments about the planned chiropractic academic institution, which will include a chiropractic school, a research program and a multidisciplinary primary care clinic.

The PAIC is currently exploring the possibility of collaborating with a U.S.-based university. The details of this potential partnership is yet to be finalized.


The PAIC is projecting an intake of 100 new students once the school becomes operational. Historically, about 75 per cent of new chiropractic registrants in western Canada graduate from U.S. institutions, Eisler said. The intent is to capture students from western Canada who would otherwise go to the U.S. for chiropractic education.

Educating future chiropractors within Canada has been a long-standing goal of B.C. chiropractors. This led the profession in 2009 to create a special fund – which chiropractors in the province contribute to – administered by the College of Chiropractor of B.C. The goal is to raise $6 million by 2018. This money will be used to fund the establishment of a new health education, research and community primary care in B.C. – which now form part of the newly established PAIC.

In addition, the profession also spearheaded the establishment of the Pacific Spine Research and Education Foundation, a charitable organization tasked to develop and implement fundraising strategies for the PAIC. The foundation hopes to raise an additional $24 million.

PAIC will be building the 100,000 square-foot academic and research facility on Simon Fraser University (SFU) property in Burnaby, B.C. under a lease agreement.

In addition to the education component, progress is also being made in the research and clinic fronts. The PAIC plans to open up a multidisciplinary primary care clinic inside SFU’s UniverCity – a sustainable community development project in Burnaby.

Eisler said the planned primary care clinic will be located within UniverCity, in response to current demand for physicians, chiropractic and other health care services in the new mountaintop community. It was an opportunity that PAIC was not going to pass up.

“We are looking to lease a space and develop what will essentially be a satellite clinic to our institution,” Eisler said. The PAIC hopes to open the clinic by January 2016.

In addition to the clinic, PAIC is also in talks with SFU about potential research collaboration projects, Eisler said. While no concrete strategy is in place yet, a joint research seminar will be held on September 11 involving chiropractic researchers and SFU scientists to discuss opportunities for establishing potential research initiatives.

The collaboration with SFU is an important aspect of the development of the academic institute, according to Eisler, particularly in pursuing the ultimate goal of integrating the PAIC with the public post-secondary education system.

“The interest for just another private school was not that high, but the opportunity to be close to and be well-integrated with the public system was attractive. Our long-term goal is to essentially become as integrated as possible with the SFU system.”

No surge
There are currently more than 1,000 registered chiropractors in B.C. Most recent data has revealed chiropractic utilization rate in B.C. – the percentage of the population who are under chiropractic care – is at 24 per cent. This figure is significantly higher than utilization rate in Ontario at 11 to 12 per cent, and where more than 4,000 chiropractors currently practice.

According to Dr. Don Nixdorf, co-founder of the Pacific Spine Foundation and a big proponent of establishing a chiropractic education program in B.C., annual licensing of chiropractors in western Canada has remained steady for the last 15 years, with no significant surge in the numbers.

“The B.C. school is designed to have intake which represents the historical growth and aging demographic of DCs in western provinces,” Nixdorf said.

He said having a chiropractic school in B.C. would “significantly contribute to public and stakeholder awareness when utilizing chiropractic doctors.”