The American Black Chiropractic Association (ABCA) makes an effort to introduce urban communities to the chiropractic profession each year through its Community Outreach Project. This project has been an initiative of the association from inception and aims to expose urban youths (age 10-18) to the field of chiropractic.
Each year, ABCA selects a nonprofit organization within the city or surrounding areas of its national convention location. Depending upon the organization’s needs and programs, ABCA either creates a one-day event for the youth during the convention or raises funds to support the organization’s programs that best align with our mission and goals.
The events created by ABCA include a first-hand introduction to the world of chiropractic and a connection to local chiropractic campuses to pique participants’ interest in future Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) career choices. Another goal of the program is to connect these urban organizations with local Doctor of Chiropractic Programs (DCPs) to ensure that there is a lasting connection between DCPs and the urban community, providing resources and new career options for students who would likely not have such exposure.
Due to the pandemic, ABCA’s 2021 National Convention, which was sponsored by Life West University in Hayward, Calif., was a hybrid event offering courses and workshops both in person and online. The Community Outreach Project was a part of the virtual component, where our student leaders presented “Chiropractic 101” to the selected organizations (Self eSTEM and SMASH). Our student leaders gained experience in presenting workshops online, and the students who attended learned all about the history of chiropractic, techniques, and chiropractic studies. At the conclusion of the convention, donations collected were presented to both organizations. The hope is that something said or experienced during these events sparks enough interest to create more future minority doctors of chiropractic!
Other ABCA initiatives include partnering with DCPs nationwide to assist in the recruitment of Black/minority students from local colleges and universities (including Historically Black Colleges/Universities—HBCUs). Depending on the location of the association’s national convention (normally held on a chiropractic college campus), schools nearby are invited to send students interested in learning more about the chiropractic profession to attend in order to place them in front of current Black/minority chiropractors and DC students. It is an awesome opportunity for everyone to network and build relationships and mentorships so that the profession becomes more diverse in the future.
The response to these programs has been positive from all organizations and schools that have been involved. ABCA is now researching selections for the 2022 Community Outreach Program. This year’s national convention will be held June 23-26 in Kansas City, Mo., on the campus of our sponsor/partner Cleveland University-Kansas City. For more information on the ABCA’s Community Outreach Program or current initiatives, email [email protected].
Dr. Micheala Edwards is president of the American Black Chiropractic Association.
iRise-2-STEM Award: (L-R): Dr. Damion Stevens (ABCA Fundraising Chairman), Dr. Micheala Edwards (then, VP), Dr. Connie Mitchell (iRise2STEM Director–2019 Community Outreach Recipient), Dr. Quentin Brisco (then, ABCA President)
Self eSTEM Award: (L-R) Dr. Brandi Childress (ABCA VP); Adamaka Ajaelo (Self eSTEM Director–2021 Community Outreach Recipient), Dr. Micheala Edwards (ABCA President); and Dr. Damion Stevens (ABCA Fundraising Chairman)