The Faculty and Administration

Who Are These People?

So what's wrong? Why can't chiropractic schools get their act together and start attracting top-notch students… why don't they teach the real subjects… why do they seem to encourage cheating… and why don't they start providing students with real clinical experience?

There must be a reason.

After all, who designed and built these schools? Who decides what is taught there? Who are these people that are responsible for misleading these students into believing that they are actually learning how to be your family doctor?

The Blind Leading The Blind

Once again, some chiropractors shed a little light on the subject for us:

The faculty at chiropractic schools generally do not have real expertise in the areas they teach. Quite often, they are DCs who have done their best to put together a course in pathology or diagnosis, but have no experience (as a medical doctor) beyond the textbooks they used and the DCs who taught them. [7]
My instructors taught that all the techniques were effective and encouraged us to use whatever method we liked... Whether or not methods were evidence-based was irrelevant. [4]
Why did my colleagues overlook the obvious and endanger their patients? I think the answer has several components. For one thing, since they're not trained in hospitals, chiropractic students are exposed to a limited range of pathology. For another, they're taught diagnosis by instructors who learned diagnosis from other chiropractors. [3]
Problem was that Sid and Sid's people designed the curriculum at the school. That meant pretend diagnosis, focus on subluxation analysis. No meaningful clinic experience, just recruiting asymptomatic patients. No telling us when manipulation was actually appropriate, just everybody needs chiropractic all the time. (As Sid used to say, "See the fields white with the harvest!") [14]
As a general rule (there are exceptions) we don't appoint college trustees nor hire administrators nor faculty because of their track records in science and scholarship. [19]
It wasn't so long ago that a college president suggested, "Rigor mortis is the only thing we can't help!" But I can recall no great outcry nor objection from the ranks nor the leadership in the profession. [19]
College leaders too often continue to see their institutions as doctor factories, rather than as centers for scholarly excellence. [19]

Scientific Research Merely an Afterthought?

Where does the faculty get the knowledge and information that they teach?

Do you suppose it was discovered through scientific research?

Not according to a Palmer University chiropractic student who posted the following in a Google Groups discussion:

One thing that is being pounded into students' heads here at Palmer College is the need to develop research that substantiates what we already know about chiropractic. [21]

Dr. John Badanes responds in the same thread:

What a shame that, even at the very best chiropractic schools … such a shallow understanding and appreciation of the role of research is [literally] "being pounded" into your head.

Even if you are only "encouraged" (let's say) to develop research that "substantiates what [you] already know," this is horrifying. [21]
A picture of a very poorly educated, heavily indoctrinated, fourth-rate pre-professional health care community emerges in which both students and teachers congratulate each other in isolation… of the rest of the bioscientific community, all the while assuring themselves that they "know better." [21]

Here are some additional quotes concerning the lack of scientific research to support chiropractic theories:

Just about a year ago, George McAndrews, chief counsel for plaintiffs in the Wilk case, warned the profession about the hazards of continuing in our propensity to speak without data and to tolerate such in other chiropractors. [19]
Instead, we seem content to let the journalists and the medical community do our house cleaning for us. The emperor continues to prance around in the buff, and most chiropractors seem unconcerned, if not delighted, with the spectacle. [19]

Fantasy Not Science

Dr. John Badanes, DC PharmD writes:

Remember, that the [theory] that informs much of Chiropraxis both historically and hysterically, is virtually unrelated to scientific medicine.

Medical education, on the other hand, represents the fundamental and basic underpinning of the diagnostic and therapeutic strategies and skills MDs will develop and apply throughout their practice career. [7]

Dr. Stephen Barrett, MD reports:

Two chiropractic college professors who surveyed North American chiropractic school Web sites in July 2001 have concluded that more than half of them make unsubstantiated claims for clinical theories or methods. In a strongly worded article they warned that "this behavior likely reflects what is taught in the schools" … The authors also concluded that "antiscientific attitudes are still encouraged within chiropractic education on this continent."[15,16]

And Joseph Keating Jr., PhD adds:

Indeed, unsubstantiated claims for chiropractic care and uncritical attitudes toward practice standards are actively encouraged at some of our (chiropractic) institutions of "higher learning." [19]

What Chiropractic Students Should do

Not all of the faculty and staff at chiropractic schools are bad, of course. Here's an example of a good instructor with some very good advice:

During the second semester, my pathophysiology professor was a former medical school instructor… After a meeting, he asked about my reasons for attending chiropractic college and whether I thought I'd be satisfied as a chiropractor. When I said yes, he replied that I was completely mistaken, that there was no place in this profession for someone like me, and that I should drop out immediately and do whatever was necessary to go to medical school. [5]

Next: Final Thoughts: Doctor or Deception?

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About the Author

Dean Moyer is the author of the books, Rebuild Your Back, Rebuild Your Neck and The Pain Relief Manual. Copies of his books are available exclusively through this website. Read more...

Rebuild Your Back
Rebuild Your Back
Second Edition
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Rebuild Your Neck
The Pain Relief Manual
The Pain Relief Manual

Last updated: Sept 13, 2006