Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

Innovations in Continuing Education

By Maria DiDanieli   

Features Education Profession

In the past few years, Canadian Chiropractor has featured various
articles dealing, from one perspective or another, with continuing
education (CE) in the chiropractic profession.

In the past few years, Canadian Chiropractor has featured various articles dealing, from one perspective or another, with continuing education (CE) in the chiropractic profession. We’ve examined why CE is important for chiropractors – or any professional; how to get the most out of CE activities; and online options for gathering CE hours from the convenience of your home or office. We have featured news releases and event listings, in our print and online venues, aimed at letting DCs across Canada know when and where they can access CE courses that deal with everything from techniques to practice management tips, research and more.

 The Epicurean Scholar will combine quality continuing education with upscale culinary experiences.



It would appear that, as CE becomes a hard-and-fast requirement for chiropractors in jurisdictions across the country, those who offer courses are becoming more creative in their approaches, combining education with interesting environments, speakers, etc., to create holistic learning experiences.

This is partially done in order to compete with the myriad other available CE courses; however, I would wager, this creativity is not just a business model. Let’s face it – although lifelong learning is laudable, in itself, and any health-care provider who remains abreast of developments in their field is simply a better practitioner, one might, for a number of reasons, find it hard to pursue regular CE activities. One reason for this is that pursuing continuing education involves giving up precious off-work hours that many would prefer to spend with family/friends and/or pursuing other interests.

And, in fact, although CE is important, one has to concede that equally vital is the need – for both professional and personal reasons – to balance practice and play. Therefore, part of the purpose behind creating “designer CE events” – those that offer novel combinations of quality education and lifestyle experiences – is to provide an atmosphere that, essentially, combines practice with play.

Not a bad proposition! And this is being carried out by providers of small-group courses as well as organizers of large national and/or international events.

One such new venture recently caught my eye. The Epicurean Scholar, a course developed by Dr. Shawn Thistle as a division of Research Review Services (RRS), provides upscale and unique continuing education experiences for manual medicine providers such as chiropractors, physiotherapists and other related disciplines.

Via full- and half-day seminars, this program will offer manual medicine providers up-to-date, clinically relevant information designed to enhance and improve patient care. The courses will incorporate the latest, most pertinent and high-quality scientific literature presented by lecturers who will emphasize a balanced clinical approach that integrates patient preference and clinician experience with rational integration of contemporary evidence into daily practice. The idea is to promote an evolving, evidence-informed approach to clinical practice, focusing on patient-centred care and cost-effective delivery. The courses will retain a limited enrolment policy to ensure that a smaller-group setting can allow ample opportunity for discussion

“Chiropractic is at a crucial juncture in its history,” notes Dr. Thistle. “Challenges and competition abound, and in order to thrive, we must continue to upgrade our knowledge and integrate new research into our patient care. This is how we, as a collective, will enhance our cultural authority and solidify our position as the experts in spine care and musculoskeletal medicine.”

This CE weekend course series is designed for discerning professionals. This has, partly, to do with the scope and presentation of materials – but there’s more!

The city of Durban, South Africa will be the location for the 2013 World Federation of Chiropractic congress.  


“Our courses are offered at unique locations and combined with exclusive leisure, food and wine experiences,” says Dr. Thistle. “You have the opportunity to update your knowledge and stimulate your palate to eliminate the culinary boredom that accompanies the average weekend seminar!

“We feel that those who enjoy the ‘finer things’ should not have to make culinary sacrifices while attending a seminar and we select our venues accordingly!” he continues. “Courses will be hosted at unique venues such as upscale restaurants, boutique hotels or luxury resorts. Each event will culminate in a gourmet food and wine experience that is included in the cost of the seminar. Attendees will also be encouraged to bring their spouse/partner to enjoy the venue/location during the day, and join us for the food and wine event in the evening. You can literally make a (tax-deductible) weekend out of it!

“This venture is a combination of two of my passions – keeping our profession current on emerging research and gourmet food and wine. I realize that these events will not be for everyone; however, I feel strongly that many of my colleagues appreciate the finer things in life, and will enjoy the opportunity to combine learning and leisure at an upscale event.”  

The Epicurean Scholar currently has its inaugural event scheduled within the province of Ontario. (May 19 in Toronto – please visit for details). DCs outside of the province may attend, if they wish, but Dr. Thistle understands that it may be difficult to travel far in order to access this type of learning experience.

“In collaboration with the provincial associations,” he says, “I will be planning and organizing courses across the country in the coming years. I am certainly open to invitations and have had colleagues in Canada (as well as the United States and Europe) inquire about potential events – some of these colleagues have already suggested venues! This is the really exciting part for me – there are so many beautiful places right here in Canada, as well as a wonderful food and wine culture to tap into. I currently have outlines for four to five full-day programs, and about six half-day programs, so there will be ample content and opportunity to visit multiple locations in Canada and abroad.”  

“If I can assist, even a little bit, in the effort to solidify chiropractic as a viable option within our health-care environment,” concludes Dr. Thistle, “then I have succeeded.”   

Possibly topping the charts for providing world-class educational experiences in the some of the most fabulous places on the planet is the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC). The WFC holds conferences every other year, and counts locations in countries such as Portugal, Brazil and our very own Canada (Montreal) amongst choice destinations for chiropractors to experience while learning about developments in their profession worldwide.

Next stop? Durban, South Africa in 2013!

The academic program includes themes of evidence-based care, technique, nutrition and exercise, philosophy and chiropractors as spinal care experts; speakers such as Scott Haldemann, Jan Hartvigson and Robert Gunzburg, MD PhD, (assistant editor-in-chief, European Spine Journal); and numerous clinical and technique workshops as well as optional one- and two-day pre-congress seminars. (For more information, please visit .)

Carefully combined with this rigorous educational schedule are a beach party sponsored by the City of Durban, WFC social events, including the Silver Anniversary Banquet and Dance, and the opportunity to organize a safari or tour of one of the game parks for which the area is famous!

The need to continue one’s studies after the initial learning experiences offered in one’s school-based training is now a reality for almost every professional group. Chiropractors are inherently predisposed to a holistic perspective in what they do and are dedicated to lifelong learning and growth. Therefore, it will be most intriguing, I think, to watch organizers of CE events for DCs, in the coming years, to see how innovations in course design will result in learning experiences that are second to none.

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