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Open Access Highly Accessed Commentary

How can chiropractic become a respected mainstream profession? The example of podiatry

Donald R Murphy*, Michael J Schneider, David R Seaman, Stephen M Perle and Craig F Nelson

Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2008, 16:10  doi:10.1186/1746-1340-16-10

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Authors' response to Christopher Good

Donald Murphy   (2009-01-19 01:52)  Rhode Island Spine Center

We would like to thank Dr. Good for reading and commenting on our paper. We find it interesting that he predicts the "disastrous end" of an entire profession based on a single statistic (a recent decrease in graduates), ignoring all the evidence we presented of the success of the podiatry profession, particularly in comparison to the chiropractic profession. <br>Regarding his points about the successes chiropractic medicine has had, and the means by which we can build on those successes, these are points we cover in detail in our paper, so there is nothing more to be said except that the one point Dr. Good did not include was perhaps the most important. Chiropractic lacks a clear identity, and without deciding who or what we are, there is nothing to build upon. Virtually all of the successes that we and Dr. Good enumerate are ones which involve the chiropractor as non-surgical spine specialist. This is the only identity with which we can be of service to society, and thus upon which we can build any kind of future. <br>Donald R. Murphy, DC, DACAN<br>Michael J. Schneider, DC, PhD<br>David R. Seaman, MS, DC<br>Stephen M. Perle, MS, DC<br>

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Podiatry probably is not the profession we want to emulate

Christopher Good   (2009-01-14 00:59)  University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic email

While many of the arguments developed by my colleagues made good sense, there is an important bit of information they didn't take into account. That is the fact the podiatry profession appears to be coming to a disastrous end, at least in the United States. According to the US National Center for Educational Statistics from 1996 to 2005 the annual number of graduates of podiatric schools declined by 44% (from 612 to 343 students). Interestingly enough, in the same time frame US chiropractic enrollment decreased 25%, from 3395 to 2564 students, while osteopathy increased 76% (1547 to 2718).(1) While I agree we need to dramatically improve our cultural authority I would respectfully suggest that a small, dwindling profession is hardly one we would wish to emulate. In fact in contrast the cultural authority of the chiropractic profession has improved significantly over the last decade. For example we have a number of researchers who have received funding through the National Institutes of Health, our professional publications have been included in progressively more prestigious data bases, chiropractic programs have been opened within traditional university settings in the US and especially outside of it, our practitioners work within the US Department of Defense (including the Veterans Administration), and a number of our practitioners are part of integrated medicine facilities (many of which are in hospitals). Building on these successes is important to our future, but if we really want to increase cultural authority the best ways are fairly straight forward: produce extremely competent and professional new graduates, improve the quality of the existing practitioners, and of course continually evidence and promote the benefits of chiropractic care to the world.<br><br>Christopher Good, DC, MA(Ed)<br>Professor of Clinical Sciences<br>University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic<br> <br>1. First-professional degrees conferred by degree-granting institutions, by sex of student, control of institution, and field of study: Selected years, 1985-86 through 2005-06 (Table 270). Digest of Education Statistics (2007). National Center for Education Statistics. Available at: http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d07/tables/dt07_270.asp. (Accessed Dec 15, 2008).<br>

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