By Amanda Donohue
IN JUST A MONTH, ACA WILL HOST National Chiropractic Health Month (NCHM) 2015, a campaign that will bring to the spotlight the public health crisis caused by pain, and in particular the overuse of prescription painkillers, with the hashtag #PainFreeNation. The media continues to cover the issue of pain extensively, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s declaration of the overuse and abuse of opioid painkillers in the United States as an “epidemic.” In 2013, there were 16,235 deaths involving prescription opioids, an increase of one percent from 2012. Total drug overdose deaths in 2013 hit 43,982, up six percent from 2012.(1)
This October, ACA will give doctors of chiropractic (DC) free tools to spread the word about the effectiveness of chiropractic services, highlight the issues surrounding the pain crisis in America, as well as inform the public about how chiropractic is a part of the solution.
Spreading the Word
With more emphasis on social media, ACA hopes that the dissemination of information about the painkiller epidemic and chiropractic’s rightful place as part of the solution will reach a significant number of people. Social media will also make it easy for DCs to share simple ways for enhancing strength and avoiding pain and injury in everyday life with their social media followers.
To kick off the event, ACA encourages DCs to participate in its Sept. 29th Twitter chat, which will heighten awareness of the drug-free approach chiropractic offers to those suffering from pain.
Celebrate NCHM 2015!
Beginning Oct. 1, DCs and their staff can take these small and easy steps to initiate NCHM celebrations:
• Change your social media profile picture to the NCHM logo during the month of October.
• Fill out your name/clinic name on ACA’s “(Your Name Here) is a part of #PainFreeNation” sign. Then pose with it in a photograph on your Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram accounts. Use #PainFreeNation and #NCHM2015 with your post.
• Share NCHM infographics on your website and on your social media accounts.
• Post ACA’s pre-written Facebook posts and Tweets throughout October.
• Share health tip graphics on your social media accounts.
• Share ACA’s videos on your Twitter or Facebook and/or your website.
• Post the NCHM #PainFreeNation web button on your website.
*All resources are available at www.acatoday.org/nchmtoolkit.
On Oct. 15, ACA will host its second “Social Media Share Day,” where all of the above tools will be posted every hour from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m EST.
Participation shouldn’t stop there. DCs are encouraged to take advantage of these resources and promote them in their offices, in their communities and even to their local governments. The following tools are user-friendly for those who aren’t as social media savvy.
• Get your local government to sign a proclamation declaring October as NCHM. (This takes a few weeks, so get started now!)
• Send a press release on NCHM 2015 to local editors, and share via social media. (See instructions at www. acatoday.org/nchmtoolkit).
• Use NCHM logos in your publications and materials. Use key facts during NCHM to articulate concise, repeatable sound bites about chiropractic’s clinical effectiveness and patient satisfaction.
• Create a large poster or banner with the NCHM 2015 logo.
• Distribute patient education handouts in your clinic or at health fairs and other public events. This year, ACA will focus on three relevant topics:
• Senior Safety
• Technology Injuries
• Active Lifestyles
*All resources (and more) are available at www.acatoday.org/nchmtoolkit.
Last year’s campaign led to 11 signed proclamations from various cities and states declaring October as NCHM. Louis D’Amico, DC, owner of a private clinic in Beaver Falls, Pa., contacted his state representative, Jim Marshall, who slightly modified ACA’s model NCHM proclamation and moved it through Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives successfully.
“I felt it was important for our state legislature to take a public stand on chiropractic because in this profession, we all know what a wonderful benefit it is to our overall health and well-being and would love nothing more than to open the minds of those around us,” says Dr. D’Amico. This year, Dr. D’Amico hopes to take the proclamation further and connect with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to obtain his signature declaring October 2015 as NCHM.
Dr. D’Amico and his staff are already preparing for this year’s campaign. “My assistant is currently working on her game plan for this year as we speak, but one thing for sure is that we always use the fabulous ACA toolkit as a resource, because it is packed with sample Facebook posts and articles as well as ways to get our community involved in celebrating NCHM with us,” he says. His clinic staff creates in-office signage, fan page posts on Facebook, Google+ and YouTube videos and email blasts. They even change the electronic sign outside of his office to promote NCHM. “One of our patients’ favorites is the Healthy Living fact sheets that come with the toolkit.”
NCHM Photo Campaign
Also popular last year with patients was ACA’s photo campaign, in which participants held up “I love being a DC” or “We love DCs” signs and posted their photographs on various social media accounts. The campaign elicited photos from dozens of DCs, patients, CAs and chiropractic clinic staff, both ACA members and non-members.
One doctor of chiropractic, Dr. Shan-na Fritsch of Chicago rallied many enthusiastic patients and her clinic staff to pose with the ACA-made NCHM signs in photographs that she shared on her clinic’s Facebook page. “Printing the social media signs was very easy,” says Dr. Fritsch. “At first I was afraid to ask patients if they would hold the sign for our Facebook page because of patient privacy, but everyone I asked was pleased to do so.” Dr. Fritsch believes that the social media aspect of NCHM sparks questions from patients and opens up dialogue in the office.
Dr. Fritsch also appreciates the friendliness and affordability of ACA’s NCHM toolkit as a whole. She had to set aside funds for photocopying and some time for planning. “But that is about it,” she says. “Because of the ACA’s toolkit, I spent more time planning when to post things than I did actually posting. It is very easy to use, and patients like what it has to offer!”
She noted her appreciation for, and the importance of, this year’s NCHM theme of #PainFreeNation. She also agrees that the opioid epidemic is a huge problem. “We really need to get the word out so we can get more patients in the door and change lives,” says Dr. Fritsch.
Be sure to check out www.acatoday.org/nchm to learn more about the 2015 campaign and www.acatoday.org/nchmtoolkit to see the resources available to you in the NCHM toolkit.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Wide Ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (CDC WONDER). Available at: http://wonder.cdc.gov/.
Let ACA Know How You Spread the Word!
ACA ENCOURAGES YOU to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your NCHM plans and your proclamation signed by local or state government. We will promote these accomplishments via our social media accounts and in a future issue of ACA News.
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