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For New DCs: Getting Known Within the Community

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For New DCs: Getting Known Within the Community

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We would all like to thank Dr. Richard C. Schafer, DC, PhD, FICC for his lifetime commitment to the profession. In the future we will continue to add materials from RC’s copyrighted books for your use.

This is Chapter 8 from RC’s best-selling book:

“Developing A Chiropractic Practice”

These materials are provided as a service to our profession. There is no charge for individuals to copy and file these materials. However, they cannot be sold or used in any group or commercial venture without written permission from ACAPress.


This chapter describes individual responsibilities and projects in patient and public relations. It also portrays some of the more important aspects of national public relations developed by organized chiropractic, along with implementation in various degrees at the state, district, community, and office levels. Initial efforts, sustaining efforts, and development efforts are explained.

It has been previously shown that interpersonal relations generally involve the four steps of

(1) attention,
(2) interest,
(3) desire, and
(4) action.

As the goals of mass public relations and community relations programs are to gain public attention and interest in public health in general and chiropractic in particular, these subjects will be emphasized in this chapter. The development of patient desire and action is a function of the individual practice. This was shown in the previous chapter, and it will be embellished in this chapter. Regardless of the public relations or advertising methods used, there can be little practice or professional growth without patient interest and desire.


Be they good or bad, everybody has public relations. Positive public relations is that attitude and course of action taken by any individual or group that desires to identify its actions and goals with the welfare of the people to gain widespread understanding and good will.

Public relations in chiropractic can be approached from both an individual practice viewpoint and a professional viewpoint, and these are overlapping and indivisible functions. That is, what is good public relations for the doctor is good public relations for the profession at large, and vice versa. Thus, a well-planned, high-quality, national public relations program will profit the profession little if individual practices are not imbued with the attitude of positive public relations and the development of safeguards that make poor public relations impossible.

     Ethical Promotion

Ethics, a service-oriented attitude, and high-quality conduct are the basis upon which any public relations program must be built. Public relations begins in the local community and takes shape through the contacts of individual people with one another. In both the business world and the professions, a good reputation is founded on good works that are communicated truthfully and candidly.

Public relations is not the propagation of favorable publicity regardless of merit, nor is it phony promotions and cheap publicity stunts designed to manipulate public opinion. It refers to true identification with the public welfare — education to mutual concerns, operating in the public interest, and communicating this performance. As the business world has learned that it can, and must, take a careful account of the attitudes and wishes of the public before it evolves its programs of action, so must any health profession.

It must be realized that the modern doctor of chiropractic is a combination of scientist and healer, and this integration has led to growth from fixed orthodoxy and sometimes illogical traditions. As healers, we must be aware of basic psychologic and human-relations facts that contribute to the “art” of our profession.

Poor public relations, ill-will, and resentment take place when either doctors or their assistants fail to identify with the patient’s situation. Patients inevitably react negatively to a procedure or transaction when they are expected to understand without knowing the facts as understood by the doctor and assistant. Thus, it is each doctor’s and assistant’s responsibility to give the facts to the patients and to the public.

     The Professional Image

Review the complete Chapter (including sketches and Tables)
at the
ACAPress website

About the Author:

I was introduced to Chiro.Org in early 1996, where my friend Joe Garolis helped me learn HTML, the "mark-up language" for websites. We have been fortunate that journals like JMPT have given us permission to reproduce some early important articles in Full-Text format. Maintaining the Org website has been, and remains, my favorite hobby.


  1. Marco J. La Starza, D.C. October 13, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    All of these things are great ideas, especially as a new doc. I have done most of them and continue to do them. Donating time to various civic organizations, charities, and just getting out there in the community. At the end of the day you have to realize that its your purpose that keeps you inspired to do good. My efforts recently made a news story on the local news here in Orlando. Just click, then links .

    Thank You

    Marco J. La Starza, D.C.

  2. Reno Chiropractor October 14, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    You have expressed a lot of good ideas and you have described a way of life and a way to practice that I desire. I have been in practice for two and a half years now and I have felt lost. The other D.C. that I rent space from has been in practice for 29 years and he has been a member of one practice management group or another the entire time. It seems like he is always using the next gimmick to get new patients in and the next thing you know they are gone. I try to run my own practice and maintain a level of professionalism, but it is difficult when he is portraying a different message about chiropractic than I am in the same office.

    I don’t want to be the doctor that needs to do spinal screenings every weekend or offer a free exam and x-rays at every event just to keep food on the table. However, I am nervous about opening my own location and hiring staff, because the funds are low and I am afraid that I will have the same problems at a different location, just with more overhead and stress. Not sure what I should do, but I will try to incorporate some of your suggestions and see where it takes me. I know that I am a good chiropractor and that my patients are grateful for the care and ethical health recommendations that they have received, but I just didn’t realize that it would still be so slow after almost three years in practice. Thanks for the information.

  3. Frank October 14, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Dr. Reno

    Who says you have to start a new clinic with staff? You can’t train staff to do billing or other services unless you first know those jobs inside-out, so why not start up solo, and when things start moving, then start hiring? There is no shame in starting small.

    My experience has been that when you offer free exams, all you do is draw people to you who have no real interest in investing in the care they need, and they just waste your time and spirit. You’d be better off taking that time to get known in your community as a resource which they can turn to when they need it.

  4. Marco J. La Starza, D.C. October 15, 2009 at 8:52 am

    I totally agree Frank. You are exactly right. If its free, then there is no real value to what you have to offer. I also started solo, so I had an opportunity to learn all those jobs and duties of what needs to happen.

    Marco, D.C.

  5. John October 15, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    And those demeaning mall setups…I can’t count the number of times one of my patients has been lured in by these and then asked me what the heck is with that?? A free exam followed by $2500 worth of care?? IMHO, that’s credibility we can never recover.

  6. Frank October 15, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Yup. I have heard folks criticize doctors appearing at malls, like it was unprofessional, but you see blood pressure and cholesterol screening tables all over the place. I could see offering a coupon for x-amount of dollars off the initial exam perhaps, but the word free lures in those who otherwise won’t lift a finger to improve their health. Let them go for the free BP testing!

    $2500 for care? Wow, perhaps it’s time to relocate up north…hehehe. Are you referring to contracts? I don’t get that…if we can’t predict from visit to visit how much someone might improve, how can you state categorically that someone would require “x” amount of visits?

  7. Dr. Suh October 18, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Dr. Reno,

    Don’t let him affect what you do. Imagine what your ideal practice is, imagine who you are suppose to be, then remind yourself everyday. Keep your head up and keep pushing through.

  8. Emeline Sorum April 23, 2010 at 11:17 am

    awesome info about staying motivated

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