This past year was an eye-opening one for me, especially from an international perspective. It all started with the World Federation of Chiropractic’s biennial congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in April 2011.
More than 1,000 enthusiastic attendees participated, and what particularly impressed me was the representation from the World Congress of Chiropractic Students.
Students from all over the world traveled to the congress, led by WCCS President Dr. Stanton Hom from California. Dr. Hom is a West Point graduate and completed his chiropractic studies at the Southern California University for Health Sciences. His natural leadership skills helped bring a large body of energetic chiropractic students together, all of whom were hungry to learn about chiropractic and other health care disciplines that complement it.
Their energy was contagious. Sometimes I meet people who seem to have forgotten their passion for chiropractic, so I enjoyed meeting students from every corner of the world whose hearts are still full of love for the profession.
In October, I returned to Brazil to host a seminar in Sao Paulo at the Universidade Anhembi Morumbi, part of Laureate International Universities, a vast network of colleges with campuses in more than 70 locations around the world. The Sao Paulo location features a multidisciplinary health care facility that includes chiropractic, medicine, physical therapy, massage therapy, and other services. The facility itself has 47 treatment rooms, and all the disciplines collaborate with one another in their studies and in their delivery of care.
The common thread in my conversations with students at each of these stops was this: The multidisciplinary model of both learning and treating patients that I observed in Sao Paulo is spreading like wildfire around the world. Practitioners are accepting the model as an effective way to improve their own skills and to enhance the patient experience by creating a one-stop destination to manage all patient health concerns. International students are being exposed to this model without awareness of how things might have worked historically, which is accelerating its integration into the health care landscape.
We have been relatively slow to adopt this structure in the U.S., but we need to take note of the enthusiasm and satisfaction of students and practitioners who are following this model in their daily studies and practices. My international travels have demonstrated to me that this model is the one we should follow, and I hope that our U.S. chiropractic contingent will continue to experiment with a multidisciplinary approach to discover its true benefits.
In economies around the world, this model is working and chiropractors are thriving, which is why the student population continues to grow. Let’s learn from our colleagues in other nations and leverage those opportunities here in the U.S. to continue elevating our profession among all health care disciplines.
By Arlan Fuhr, DC