The Identity of the Chiropractic Profession

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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FROM:   World Federation of Chiropractic (2005)

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What is the percieved image (or "public identity") of chiropractic worldwide? This has long been debated within the profession, and outside consultants have repeatedly advised the profession to clearly define our image.

The World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) just completed their 8th Biennial Congress, held at the Sydney Convention Centre, Australia from June 14-18, 2005. There they completed an exciting and comprehensive identity consultation, in which chiropractors worldwide agreed unanimously on a defined identity... an amazing historic milestone for the chiropractic profession worldwide!

This involved unanimous agreement on the most appropriate public identity for the chiropractic profession within the health care system. The agreed-upon discriptor is “the spinal health care experts in the health care system.” That leading statement, however, is then supported by several other important concepts.

Over 100 delegates and observers from national associations in 36 countries, including both the ACA and the ICA, were present on June 15 when the WFC Assembly voted to accept recommendations found in the April 2005 Report of a 40-person WFC Identity Task Force.

This report was based on two years intensive work, including a grassroots electronic survey of chiropractors worldwide conducted last October. It was presented to the WFC Assembly by Task Force Co-Chairs, Dr. Paul Carey (Canada), Dr. Gerard Clum (USA) and Dr. Peter Dixon (UK).

“There are several important parts to the overall identity approved by the WFC membership,” says WFC President, Dr. Anthony Metcalfe of London, England, “and it is important to read the full Task Force Report to understand the background and what has been decided”.

The key recommendations on identity agreed upon are:

1.   The public identity of the chiropractic profession, if it is to be effective and successful, should be similar in all countries.

2.   This identity should be established and maintained through the use of the following three linked concepts:

a)   A leading statement on identity, which must be clear, concise and immediately relevant to both the public and the profession – the ‘pole’ (brand platform).

b)   Several important qualifying statements, which provide the necessary context and foundation for the pole – the ‘ground’ (brand pillars).

c) A description of the qualities or essential personality of chiropractors – the ‘personality’ (tone).

3.   The pole (brand platform) should be:

The spinal health care experts in the health care system.

4.   The ground (brand pillars) should be:

a)   Ability to improve function in the neuromusculoskeletal system, and overall health, wellbeing and quality of life.*

b)   Specialized approach to examination, diagnosis and treatment, based on best available research and clinical evidence with particular emphasis on the relationship between the spine and the nervous system

c)   Tradition of effectiveness and patient satisfaction

d)   Without use of drugs and surgery, enabling patients to avoid these where possible

e)   Expertly qualified providers of spinal adjustment, manipulation and other manual treatments, exercise instruction and patient education.*

f)   Collaboration with other health professionals

g)   A patient-centered and biopsychosocial approach, emphasizing the mind/body relationship in health, the self-healing powers of the individual, and individual responsibility for health and encouraging patient independence.

5.   The personality (tone) should be a combination of:

  •   Expert, professional, ethical, knowledgeable

  •   Accessible, caring, human, positive

To further understand the importance of the unanimous agreement of the WFC Assembly to the Identity presented, please refer to the following documents:

  1. Final Report of the Identity Task Force (April 30, 2005)

  2. Task Force Power Point Presentation to the Assembly (June, 2005)

  3. Recommendations as adopted by WFC Assembly

  4. Survey Form for Chiropractors, the survey instrument used in a
    web based global survey on Identity

  5. Survey Results - the survey report by the WFC's consultants,
    Manifest Communications Inc.

  6. Survey Responses   by Country or Region

  7. List of Financial Contributors

  8. A list of the 40-member Task Force

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