EDUCATOR JAIME CASAP ONCE SAID, “Don’t ask kids what they want to be when they grow up but what problems do they want to solve. This changes the conversation from who do I want to work for, to what do I need to learn to be able to do that.”
It is not a mystery that the chiropractic physicians of American Chiropractic Association (ACA) embraced this concept long before it was put into words. We are not merely satisfied with having the credentials DC after our names and a schedule full of patients. As evidenced by the trailblazing ACA and Student ACA (SACA) leaders brainstorming solutions to problems that need to be solved (e.g., the National Medicare Equality Petition), chiropractic is moving forward and in good hands.
However, ACA still only represents a fraction of doctors of chiropractic (DCs) in America, and they often fall into two categories: Those who have been involved with ACA for years and years and students. Concerning our efforts to not only have greater representation of chiropractic professionals but to serve as a vehicle for progress for our profession, we cannot ignore the reality that come graduation, participation in ACA from the motivated crew of burgeoning DCs begins to disappear as quickly as their bank accounts when their monthly student loan bills arrive.
This phenomenon of a stark drop-off in membership and participation in ACA within this demographic is not a fluke, although it is surprising because so many of the recent graduates have high-caliber SACA résumés. It is a pattern and a concern that has been identified for quite some time. To investigate this, ACA initiated an action plan to support the endeavors of new graduates to capitalize on the talents and needs of young practitioners. ACA reached out to ACA’s doctors who had once made significant contributions as SACA members to create a solution, and the Millennial Think Tank (MTT) was born.
The inaugural teleconference took place in July 2015. With about 16 in attendance, it was a beautiful reunion of energetic minds genuinely eager to serve with a like-minded and underrepresented team. We broke the ice by identifying topics, communication platforms and outcomes important to us as millennial opinion leaders. We envisioned propositions that will ultimately reflect our values and perspectives to inform and influence the direction of ACA.
MTT: Why, What and How
Our first mission as a collective group of new practitioners was to develop a charter for the MTT: the Why, What and How. The “Why” developed our purpose: To influence and inspire the future of chiropractic, by supporting early career chiropractors. The “What” delved deeper into our goals and deliverables for MTT; and, of course, the activities to be pursued fulfilled the “How.”
We decided on three main goals for MTT to direct our efforts, in no particular order of importance:
1) Influence strategic planning and key decision-making by focusing on goals congruent with our purpose and the mission of ACA;
2) Encourage ACA to become more a progressive, adaptable and inclusive organization; and
3) Increase professional activity of early career chiropractors.
MTT is excited to announce we will be having our first face-to-face meeting in Washington, D.C., during the 2016 National Chiropractic Leadership Conference (NCLC) at the end of February. This is an open invitation to all attendees. We especially welcome recent graduates who are looking for that new graduate/young professional NCLC niche.
It is an exciting time to be a part of this vibrant group. MTT is made up of individuals who were once the leaders of the student community of ACA, banding together again to continue progress for our profession through ACA. We have already made great strides in establishing our charter and investigating several topics that are congruent with our purpose. MTT convenes once per month via conference calls to discuss topics, beginning with issues facing new DCs and expanding into issues facing the chiropractic profession.
For updates on our progress, please stay tuned to our monthly columns in ACA News. We welcome questions and invite any new practitioner who is looking to be a part of the MTT. To all current ACA members, we encourage your outreach and mentorship of former SACA leaders and new graduates, and to help broadcast existence of a new tribe in ACA. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Stephanie Johnson is a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic West and is currently in private practice in Annandale, Va. She is an active ACA member, former SACA national chair (2010-2011), former intern at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (2012) and an inaugural member of Millenial Think Tank.