Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

Milestones: A hundred years

By Chad Kulak   

Features Leadership Profession

Alberta’s trailblazing past fuels present, future success

In 2017, the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors (ACAC) turns 100. That’s a century of chiropractors helping to improve Albertans’ health, which is definitely worth celebrating. While we celebrate the past, it’s important to look at how chiropractic in the province of Alberta got here and where the provincial contingent of DCs is headed.

In gearing up for our centennial celebration, I have been looking over just how much we’ve accomplished since our inception in Alberta. I look back to our first chiropractor, Dr. Laura Boyle. A year after Boyle began practicing in Calgary, the efforts of women like Nellie McClung and Emily Murphy resulted in the government according the women of Alberta the right to vote. This was quite a time in not only our profession’s history, but also the history of our province. Today, Boyle’s legacy is still felt with a strong, ever-growing female DC contingent in this province.

Albertans are known trailblazers, and chiropractic is no exception.

  • Did you know that the passage of the Government Act in 1923 was the first Chiropractic Act in Canada? We have our forefathers in Alberta to thank for this remarkable achievement from which we could build.
  • Did you know that the first Western Canadian Chiropractic Convention took place in 1946 at Palliser Hotel in Calgary?
  • Did you know the Alberta Chiropractic Association helped establish the Canadian Chiropractic Association with seven other jurisdictions in 1953?
  • Did you know that Alberta’s own Dr. Harrold Russell was the first appointed chairman of the Canadian Chiropractic Association’s Education Committee in 1954?

Another notable achievement is the way our profession has progressed and grown together in the province over the course of the last 100 years. Our younger members have always been willing to take the lessons of their predecessors and apply it to their own practices.

In keeping with this theme, ACAC Council reached out to colleagues who have been in practice for more than 40 years to gather some perspectives. It is a reminder for me that we still have much to offer each other. I’d like to share with you a conversation I had with Dr. Grayden Bridge (Raymond, Alta.) who has been in practice for 41 years. When I asked him to pass on any advice to another colleague, he said, “Develop good business skills and become an expert on your treatment, not just your communication.  Keep learning and put your patients first.”

As a profession, it is not only important to reflect on where we’ve been, but also on where we are going.

Our organization was built on the tremendous ambition and hard work of chiropractors before us and will continue to advance under the chiropractors that will come after us. We have come a long way as a profession since 1917, and this centennial year is a perfect opportunity to join together in celebration of our past, present and future.

One of the more exciting things to come about for the ACAC and the profession is the advisement by Alberta Health that chiropractic was one of three professions that have obtained access to Alberta NetCare in the first-ever expansion of Netcare. Our inclusion into NetCare, which is the electronic system of Alberta patient health information, will not only make it easier for DCs to share and receive records and improve patient care, but also shows the leaps and bounds the profession has made into the mainstream.

Our marketing and promotions program (MAPP) continues to flourish as well. In the years since the inception of MAPP in 1999, there have been many messages, campaigns and activities that have contributed to the success of the program – and therein the success it’s created for the entire chiropractic profession. With the help of members’ commitment to the program, our utilization rates have steadily climbed. According to our latest market research, two thirds of Albertans (65 per cent) reported they have received treatment from a chiropractor in the past.

During our Centennial Gala Dinner and Dance in May, I was delighted to see so many of our members and their guests come out to celebrate each other and the profession. Seeing members come together in one place, to support not only our centennial, but each other was really a moving experience for me.

Our centennial is being recognized on a national stage, which has given us the chance to honour those in our profession that have worked so hard to bring us to where we sit today. The ACAC has shown steadfast commitment to leadership in moving our great profession forward, but it is our centennial that has allowed us to reflect on our collective past and acknowledge those who worked so hard throughout our history.

Dr. Chad Kulak is the president of the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors.

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