By Stanford Erickson
July 21, 2011 — The mood among the more than 800 audience was not unlike a final round of the popular TV show “Jeopardy.”
Nine chiropractic students, who had won a health talk competition at their own school of chiropractic, had winnowed down to five finalists to “Talk the ’TIC” at Parker University. Students were being judged on their ability to effectively explain to a lay audience what chiropractic is and the benefits of chiropractic care.
Talk the ’TIC, which began in 2006 by a student at Life Chiropractic College West, had grown into an international annual event. Money was involved: the winner receives $2,000; second place receives $1,000; and third place $500. Also, chiropractic vendors provided various gifts to all participants. But the real reward is a trophy — The Chiropractic Torch — inscribed with these words: “Hold high the chiropractic torch, you did not light its glow, t’was given you by other hands you know.”
The five finalists included: Caroline de Groot, New Zealand College of Chiropractic; Magalie Lefevre, Palmer College of Chiropractic – Davenport; Julia Pinkerton, Life Chiropractic College West; Derrell Pratt-Blackburn, Parker University College of Chiropractic; and Lee Thomas, Palmer College of Chiropractic – Florida.
The other students who participated in the semi-final round were: Mackenzie Hubert, Life University; Jonathon Orvis, Sherman College of Chiropractic; Jonathan Dawson, Southern California University of Health Science; and Megan Nelsen, Northwestern Health Sciences University.
On average, each student spoke no more than 10 minutes. “I was taking notes, that’s how well thought out and interesting were the students’ presentations,” says Fabrizio Mancini, DC, president of the host institution Parker University. “Being able to communicate to the general public about what chiropractic is and how it benefits others is such an important skill for every chiropractor to possess.”
Gilles Lamarche, DC, vice present of Parker Chiropractic Wellness Clinics, Parker Research Institute, Parker Continuing Education and Parker Seminars was quick to agree. “It’s through practice like this competition that you can truly master your chiropractic message. Also, all these talented future doctors of chiropractic are a testament that the future of chiropractic is in great hands.”
The judges of the competition included: Erik Van Slooten, DC, founder of Talk the ’TIC when he was a student at Life West; Matt Eiserloh, chief marketing officer at Parker; Brian Flanagan, a professional speaker; Gary Gillespie, a distinguished Toastmaster; Joseph Scott, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce; and Mary Warren, DC..
Winner? Darrell Pratt-Blackburn, student at Parker. Second place was Magalie Lefevre, Palmer Iowa. Third place was Julia Pinkerton of Life West.
Talk the ’TIC
The title of the competition comes from the notes written by B. J. Palmer that were gathered into 39 volumes, the so-called Green Books, where the godfather of chiropractic wrote about the essence of chiropractic, both in principle and in practice. He referred to the essence of chiropractic in shorthand, by saying “TIC.”
Van Slooten, the godfather of Talk the ’TIC, came up with the idea when he was a 6th quarter student at Life West.
“It literally was a dream that came true,” says Van Slooten, who practices in Dublin, Calif., along with his wife Paige Van Slooten, DC. “I was asleep and dreamed of a student who passionately delivered the truths of chiropractic in a lay lecture. Speaking to an audience of thousands, he communicated with poise, clarity and conviction. Neither fear, nor inhibition held any place in him. A sense of urgency drove his message. The energy in the auditorium was electric. And, he led the audience through a persuasive exposure on the essence of chiropractic.”
Van Slooten realized the dream was a call to action. The dream moved him to create a lay-lecture competition amongst the students at Life West. After receiving the blessing of then President Dr. Gerry Clum and the Life West administration, he called upon his brothers in the Professional Fraternity of Chiropractic (Delta Sigma Chi) to get students involved. Within a few months, 42 student contestants signed up, about 10 percent of the entire student body, and the effort raised $20,000 in cash and prizes for the winners
Talk the ’TIC grew from chiropractic school to chiropractic school with the help of the Delta Sigma Chi and the World Congress of Chiropractic Students. This year the Australian Spinal Research Foundation (ASRF) sponsored a Talk the ’TIC, where Caroline De Groot emerged as the winner and competed at Parker.
Next year, all four schools in the Australasian region will be participating, with the help of the ASRF. They have invited Van Slooten to emcee the region’s finals at the Dynamic Growth Conference in February 2012. Additionally, two schools in Canada — Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres — are considering participating in the finals next year. It is anticipated that a total of 20 schools will participate internationally.
Van Slooten is a second generation chiropractor. He credits his father Jim Van Slooten, DC, with nurturing zeal in himself; his sister, who also is a chiropractor; and his wife, for wanting to educate the masses on the benefits of “natural healing chiropractic” care.
“I can close my eyes and hear my father’s voice expressing his love for a natural healing art, a philosophy congruent with his belief system that the creator endowed the body with the capacity to heal itself. He embedded this in me. I profoundly feel that each chiropractor needs to identify his or her own voice that permits them to communicate chiropractic with meaning and confidence.”
Stanford Erickson is editorial director of Chiropractic Economics.