As I travel to various state and national organizational meetings to speak on behalf of ACA, it is apparent that most of those in the audience have a grasp of our many and varied advocacy efforts. While we all hear an occasional complaint or negative comment, the vast majority of the people we meet are complimentary of our work and our dedication to the success of the profession. What most of us don’t realize is the far-reaching scope of our work.
Who does ACA represent? Who benefits as a result of our efforts? Indeed, who are the stakeholders? The list is rather long. At first glance, one would assume that we represent our dues-paying members and students. This is obvious and of course these groups receive member benefits commensurate with their status. These students and doctor members comprehend the necessity of supporting a strong and vital national organization to advocate for chiropractic.
But the fact is that ACA represents all groups and individuals related to the business of chiropractic. A U.S. Senator once told me: “You vote for me once every six years, but I vote on your behalf with every vote I cast in the Senate.” Each and every issue we deal with in ACA and every policy we develop, approve and implement affects a broad group of stakeholders. For this reason it would behoove each stakeholder to follow the workings of ACA and have a voice in policy making. Each state and territory is represented in the ACA House of Delegates by an elected delegate and alternate delegate.
There are an estimated 77,000 licensed doctors of chiropractic in the United States, 10,000 students and 40,000 support staff. It is clear that the policies ACA develops and the decisions we make have the potential to affect our role in health care for years to come.
Other critical stakeholders include faculty, researchers, university clinic directors, college and university presidents and administrative personnel. Individual state associations, executive directors and staff are stakeholders and are affected by national policy decisions. The ACA plays a critical role in support of such national organizations as the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE), the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards (FCLB), the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE), the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC) and the research community at large. On the world stage we support the World Federation of Chiropractic and encourage all nations to develop progressive chiropractic health care policies. More locally we support all our Specialty Councils. One of the strengths of our profession is our diversity. Much of our policy is driven by the impact it has on specialty education and competencies.
Another often overlooked group of stakeholders is our corporate partners. These are the thousands of people who support us in our practices and provide goods and services. They support us financially when they purchase ads and exhibit at our meetings across the country. They support us with contributions to research, advocacy efforts and scholarships. These are the ladies and gentlemen who supply our equipment, software, technical support, insurance coverage, nutritional supplements, durable medical equipment and so on. Their success is in many ways tied to the success of our profession. And as astute business leaders, they understand the impact ACA has on both health policy and their business success.
One of the more gratifying aspects of ACA leadership is being a witness to the overwhelming symbiotic relationship between all these stakeholders and ACA. We truly work as a partnership to support each other with the ultimate goal of providing the very best conservative care to our patient population.
If you haven’t done so recently, go to www.acatoday.org/partners/and peruse our list of corporate partners. Let each of them know how much you appreciate their support of ACA and a strong national advocacy effort.