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The State of Chiropractic – A Message from Dr. Brian Kelly

I am amazed at the new products and services that come onto the chiropractic market every year. We have such a wide range of entrepreneurs selling diverse products. The chiropractic community truly is inventive and creative in finding ways to support the profession. Recently, I was reading a brochure that showed all five models of the Activator instruments which have evolved over the past 40 years. Isn’t progress amazing?

There are a growing number of private coaching programs that help DCs and their teams fine-tune their practices. These groups provide great roadmaps and tools on how to thrive in business. Coaching groups have the added benefit of building community (or tribes) that chiropractors and their teams can belong to, and can also build closer friendships and partnerships.

There has probably never been more coaching options available to the profession than now – and that is a great thing. The diversity of options is great for the consumers. I am often invited to speak and spend time with these groups and it has allowed me to get to know them well. Coaching groups offer insight on business, entrepreneurism, marketing, and technique. We certainly have outstanding resources to allow anyone to build their life and practice in any direction they might want. What concerns me as an educator – is a small number of management groups that work with our students and sign them up on contracts and charge them very high fees.

I recently spoke with a student who had spent six months with a practice mentor who had charged her over $3,000 to teach her how to adjust and “things we don’t teach at school”. I asked the student, since she recently completed the program, how she felt about it in hindsight. She replied, “Now that I think about it – I realize that I had learned all the same stuff at Life West.”

The reality is that in a 14 quarter program we cannot teach every possible thing we would like to. We work to enhance the options for students by supporting more than 40 on campus clubs ranging from communication, to techniques, to business, to philosophy. We also have a large number of extracurricular activities like speakers every week at our Friday seminar and our incredibly unique LIFE 101 weekend. (In fact, our first LIFE 102 is scheduled for April 2016 and will be led by Dr. Bob Graykowski).

I accept we cannot offer everything to a student in the DC education. However I also believe that we get closer at Life West than most chiropractic schools. I accept we live in a free country where people can buy or attend what they want. I also accept that the professional vendors have great material that is valuable to DCs and students.

I have been in the US for nearly five years and I am truly concerned about the level of student debt. I know the great caliber of the chiropractic program we have on campus – both curricular and co-curricular, and we are always looking for ways to help our students succeed, and I have something important to say to the leaders running coaching programs.

Please don’t prey on vulnerable minds and sign up students for expensive coaching programs. If this is your modus operandi – you are no longer welcome on campus.

You are welcome to reach out to our students and to mentor and inspire them, but coercing them into these expensive programs while they are still students doesn’t sit well with me. It has to stop. Period.

For those that don’t charge expensive fees to students – you continue to be very welcome. Let’s support and nurture the next generation – and as a result, the entire profession and world will be a better place.

– Dr. Brian Kelly
President, Life Chiropractic College West

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