Chiropractic Research Within a Major State University
An Exclusive Interview
The profession’s first research center within a world renowned state university is sought to bridge biomechanics and chiropractic.
The pioneering Florida State University and LCERF, with support from the Florida Chiropractic Association have formed a historical alliance to obtain funding for the first biomechanics and chiropractic research center to be housed within a major tax-supported state university. In the following exclusive interview with Chiropractic Economics, three of the key pioneers explain the purpose and goals of this historical endeavor. They are:
Ed Williams, DC, CEO of the FCA; Penny Ralston, PhD, Dean, College of Human Sciences at FSU; and Ed Maurer, DC, Chairman of LCERF, (Lincoln College Education and Research Fund, Inc.)” “Florida State University would house the first endowed research chair of its kind in the country?
EW: Yes. Chiropractic research has been going on for years and years, and it’s increasing as time goes by, but it’s always been funded by grants from groups such as the FCER, which acts as a research clearinghouse but does not actually conduct research. The endowed chair is unique because it would be a chiropractic and biomechanical research center housed permanently on-site of a major state university–as opposed to farming it out, as we’ve been doing in the past. I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever seen.
What are the benefits?
EM: One of the major benefits of the research center is the relationship we are developing with the Florida State University’s College of Human Sciences and programs in Movement Science in terms of researching how chiropractic, biomechanics, nutrition, exercise physiology, and so on all interrelate. Certainly biomechanics, which deals with structure, form and function of the human body is part and parcel of chiropractic. It’s a natural mix reservoir of the two disciplines and certainly the benefit is going to be to the patients of chiropractic throughout the country and the world.
PR: For us, obviously, it’s very beneficial. We currently have movement sciences, which includes exercise physiology and motor control. In the larger context, biomechanics, which we currently do not have, is part of that. This program with the endowed chair will bring a needed area of study to our college.
We are human sciences: we are concerned with enhancing the human condition. We share that mission with the chiropractic community. We have students majoring in exercise physiology who go on into chiropractic and this program will provide better training for these students and in the process build a bridge to the chiropractic community. As a result, we both win.
What is the financial goal that you’re trying to reach?
EW: We are attempting to raise $1 million from the chiropractic community and the State of Florida will then provide a $750,000 partially matching grant to establish a $1.75 million permanent endowment. We currently have about $650,000.
What is the next step?
EW: Once the endowment is set a search committee will be formed in conjunction with FSU and the chiropractic community to recruit the most eminent scholar that money can buy in the field of biomechanics with a chiropractic background.
What are you looking for from this scholar?
EM: The scholar will need to bring intellectual expertise as well as the talent to gain funding. The scholarly experience allows both state and federal grant money to be gained for the various research projects. Going through a state institution is another instance where this marriage between the profession and a tax-supported institution within the university system is going to enhance chiropractic research.
From the beginning, comments from the state legislature is that they are very enthusiastic about this relationship. As a result, if there are research dollars available, this FSU research center will be considered–hopefully we can then reach into the federal coffers as well.
How was the idea born?
EW: This was something the Lincoln Foundation had been thinking about as a way to perpetuate the name of Lincoln College. Three years ago Dr. Maurer asked me if there would be any such interest in the State of Florida. Quite by accident I was sitting outside having a “health and fitness” break with Beverly Spencer, whom I’ve known for years. She was a former member of the Florida House of Representatives and is now FSU’s VP for University Advancement. We got to talking, and she then called Dr. Ralston. That is literally how it happened–sometimes “health and fitness” breaks pay dividends!
Where has the funding been obtained?
EW: A lot of the vendors are behind it. For example, Wuestec X-ray, donated a $28,000 unit and we auctioned it off to the highest bidder for $15,100 which went into the fund. At this year’s FCA Fall Convention, a silent auction in which vendors donated products and services, raised $10,000. We’ve also generously received, and are pleased to accept, individual donations from the chiropractic community.
What is the deadline for donations?
EW: We’re hoping to consummate the program by the first of January.
Where should the donations be directed?
EW: All donations are 100% tax-deductible and checks should be made out to “LCERF/Research Center Escrow.” Send your checks in by the end of the year to receive your tax deduction!