March 2, 2011 — Clevelanders returned energized after attending the American Chiropractic Association’s (ACA) National Chiropractic Legislative Conference (NCLC) and Chiropractic Summit Feb. 12-15 in Washington, D.C. Held at the Capital Hilton, the annual gathering saw more than 500 practitioners and chiropractic students converge on the nation’s capital to address issues facing the discipline both now and in the years to come.
More than 40 students from both Cleveland campuses were among those in attendance. Student American Chiropractic Association (SACA) chapters on both campuses encouraged fellow students to participate in this annual opportunity to be an advocate for the profession. Clevelanders who desired an audience with their elected officials, had the opportunity to meet with legislators from their district to discuss the value and importance of chiropractic.
Cleveland-KC SACA President Katie Briley said the trip to Washington, D.C., has benefits on both a personal and a professional level.
“Students who attend NCLC are provided with opportunities to improve their leadership skills, network with some of the best chiropractic students and doctors from across the nation, listen to phenomenal speakers and have an active voice for the chiropractic profession,” she said. “NCLC helps create leaders of tomorrow and is a powerful force that opens doors for future doctors of chiropractic.”
This is the third trip to NCLC for Cleveland-LA SACA President Reyhaneh Baha, and once again she found it to be an enlightening experience.
“People don’t really understand why it’s so important, until they make the trip out there (to NCLC) and get the opportunity to speak with representatives or senators from their state,” Baha said. “So many times people ask me, ‘What is SACA doing for us? Why should I join?’ You won’t find those answers and see the true importance until you’re on the front line doing the work yourself.”
One of the main topics of the conference was healthcare reform and the many changes that will result from the legislation. Attendees were educated about the latest opportunities in federal programs such as Medicare, active duty military care, and veteran’s healthcare. All are areas that will impact the profession.
Featured speakers included Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who played a key role in the inclusion of nondiscriminatory language in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) regarding chiropractic. Ret. Brig. Gen. Becky Halstead, a staunch advocate of the discipline and recent visitor to the Cleveland-KC campus, spoke on behalf of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. Attendees also viewed a video message from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who shared her support for chiropractic.
In their comments to the group, Harkin and Sebelius struck a positive chord when they referenced chiropractic as being an integral part in the transformation of the American health care system. But for discipline to thrive there must be solidarity within the profession.
Inspired by their words and the idea of unity, Briley said their comments “reminded students and doctors of chiropractic of the value of the care we provide our patients, and we need to continue working together as one team to help transform health care.”
That spirit of cooperation was encouraged in a video titled “Together,” presented by the Chiropractic Summit. Briley said the video was a call for chiropractors to “put aside their differences and come together for the betterment of the health care system and to present this unity to elected officials when lobbying on the hill.”
Baha was moved by the words of Halstead, whose use of chiropractic to overcome debilitating health issues is a case study for all that is right about the discipline.
“Becky Halstead’s speech on Tuesday brought me to tears,” Baha said. “She is a true inspiration and it is always a joy to hear her speak. She really inspires me to keep fighting for my profession.”
That inspiration and confidence serves as a reminder for Baha of why she chose chiropractic and what it can do for others.
“I think we forget how important what we do is,” Baha said. “People still have no idea what we really do as chiropractors and it’s our job and duty to ensure that people get the type of care we offer. Everyone deserves to experience chiropractic and see how it can change their lives. I know it has truly changed my life.”
In addition to Baha, other CCCLA students attending included: Shahram Soleimani, Haleh Afshar, Heidi Henson, Adam Mazzeo, Cristina Bradley, Yvette Shahgaldian, Jason Arnold, Lisa Leary, Dan Faqir, Gianfranco Roberto and Jasmine Chau.
Joining Briley at the conference from CCCKC were: Aaron Lawson, Matt Drake, Brandon Stupka, Jeff Campbell, Jason Fechter, Jordan Brinkman, Abby French, Chris Bantock, Mark Wade, Julian Giles, Christina Woodle, Emily Marks, Madison Gilbert, Amanda Waters, Thao Nguyen, Kelsey Pippitt, Jannise Nathaniel, Katie Briley, Sarah Potthoff, Jeremy Kobler, Jessica Tallman, Ryan Day, Shauna Cockman, Kendra Walford, Ashley Robbins, Joshua Isom, Stacy Nelson and Paul Sutton.
Clevelanders recognized at NCLC include Jessica Tallman from CCCKC, who won the Standard Process Scholarship valued at $2,500. CCCKC student Stacy Nelson took home first-place honors in the SACA Idol Competition. The win earned her $1,000 and $1,000 for the CCCKC SACA Chapter.
Source: Cleveland Chiropractic College, www.cleveland.edu