The purpose of the ACA is twofold: First, to provide leadership in healthcare and second, to provide a positive vision for the chiropractic profession and its natural approach to health and wellness.
January 15, 2014
Collaboration is Key to the American Chiropractic Association
As the largest professional association in the world representing doctors of chiropractic, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), based in Arlington, Va., has approximately 16,000 members.
As the largest professional association in the world representing doctors of chiropractic, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), based in Arlington, Va., has approximately 16,000 members. The ACA was formed through a series of mergers between various chiropractic associations beginning in 1922. In 1964 the mergers had been completed, and the ACA as it is known today was solidified. With the goal of promoting high standards of ethics and patient care, the ACA provides lobbying, public relations, and professional and educational opportunities for doctors of chiropractic. The ACA funds research regarding chiropractic and health issues and offers leadership for the advancement of the profession. Doctors of chiropractic, frequently referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians, engage with patients in a drug-free, hands-on approach to healthcare. This involves patient examination, diagnosis, and treatment, most commonly focusing on musculoskeletal disorders and treatment through spinal manipulation.
The ACA strives to affect public policy and legislation, promote high standards in professional ethics and quality of treatment, and carry out a dynamic strategic plan to help ensure the professional growth and success of doctors of chiropractic. With a focus on supporting doctors of chiropractic, the ACA also sees itself as part of the integrative health community in its collaboration with other healthcare professions and through its communication with its own doctors. The ACA works to integrate on larger levels as well, such as incorporating itself into a range of healthcare systems and provider groups. Not only does this collaborative approach improve care for chiropractic patients, but it also serves as a means for educating other doctors about when to refer patients to chiropractic.
The ACA has a mission to preserve, protect, improve, and promote the chiropractic profession and the services of doctors of chiropractic for the benefit of patients they serve, and this patient-centric attitude is evident in ACA president Rick McMichael’s vision for the association. “We are looking at being as patient-centered as we can,” McMichael says. McMichael notes that one example of this is the coalition of chiropractic providers on Capitol Hill, which cares for the interest of patient rights.
McMichael further noted that the ACA’s commitment to patient care is related to how he sees the association as being part of the larger integrative health community. “Patients are interested in both traditional and integrated care. Patients desire to be engaged. We need to engage them as a team,” he said. With patients’ growing interest in integrative healthcare, McMichael values integration of different types of healthcare professionals in order to provide the most comprehensive, wellness-focused care for patients.
“The Natural Medicine Journal is proud to feature the American Chiropractic Association as a key Community Partner and have two of their respected members on our Editorial Board,” states NMJ publisher Karolyn A. Gazella. “I have long admired their spirit of collaboration and commitment to integrative healthcare.”
The purpose of the ACA is twofold: First, to provide leadership in healthcare and second, to provide a positive vision for the chiropractic profession and its natural approach to health and wellness. One way this is accomplished is through dialogue and collaboration within integrative healthcare. To that end, the ACA has a dedicated committee that educates doctors on the topic. “We have the mindset of being engaged in patient care, shoulder to shoulder with other providers,” McMichael states. “This can be on a research, political, or practice level.” McMichael believes that doctors working in different fields can exchange ideas in order to provide the best patient care.
The ACA also engages in joint, collaborative research symposiums where various providers are involved in sharing research findings to further educate one another on integrative healthcare. Support and sponsorships of these research symposiums, as well as collaboration with other healthcare groups, helps contribute to the ACA’s presence in the larger integrative healthcare community. “The ACA’s vision is one of aspiration,” McMichael explains. “We seek a transformation of healthcare, where it is patient-centered, wellness-oriented, and outcomes driven.” Overall, McMichael is optimistic about accomplishing a healthcare transformation: “It’s a long-term project, but we can’t give up; it’s for the patient.”