Former American Chiropractic Association (ACA) Board Chair George B. “Mac” McClelland, DC, passed away recently, leaving behind a legacy of service to his patients and leadership to the chiropractic profession. Dr. McClelland was a champion of chiropractic research and its importance to the advancement of the profession. ACA’s Researcher of the Year Award was renamed in his honor in 2005.
Dr. McClelland joined ACA in 1969, the same year he graduated from National College of Chiropractic. His chiropractic career was put on hold from 1970-71, when he served as a captain in the U.S. Army Infantry in Vietnam. Once back, he devoted himself to his private practice in Christiansburg, Va., for 41 years as well as to advancing the chiropractic profession on the state and national fronts.
At ACA, Dr. McClelland served as Virginia delegate from 1981-1999, before rising to the Board of Governors, where he eventually took the helm as chair from 2003-2005. He was active on several ACA councils and committees over the years. He made significant contributions in the areas of insurance relations, policy and quality care during his time as national chair of the ACA Managed Care Committee and as a member of the Committee on Quality Assurance and Accountability. He was also appointed in 2006 as ACA’s representative to the American Medical Association’s Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement (PCPI). In 2013, he was selected to serve on the PCPI Executive Committee’s Quality Information Advisory Committee.
The significance of research to support and inform the work of the chiropractic profession, as well as to open new doors for doctors of chiropractic in areas such as quality care and reimbursement, was highlighted not only in the focus of Dr. McClelland’s volunteer activities but also in the themes of many of his professional presentations and published articles. He was an active member, and later president (1990-1996), of the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research (FCER). On behalf of FCER, he lectured to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs Chiropractic Advisory Committee on chiropractic effectiveness. On behalf of ACA, he presented on chiropractic best practices to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association in Chicago and on research and professional ethics to the International Association of Special Investigation Units. During his work and travels to support ACA’s insurance and quality care initiatives, Dr. McClelland was often accompanied and assisted by his wife Susan McClelland, a respected consultant in the industry.
Dr. McClelland received many honors over the course of his career, including the ACA Delegate of the Year Award (1997), Fellow of the International College of Chiropractic (1985), and Virginia Chiropractic Association’s Chiropractor of the Year Award (1980, 1985).
Former ACA President David Herd, DC, submitted the proposal to rename ACA’s Researcher of the Year Award in recognition of Dr. McClelland’s service and achievements. He remembers the man who inspired him: “Mac was a giant who selflessly gave of his time, talents, and treasure in the search for evidence to improve health through his more than a quarter century of leadership in the ACA, CCGPP and FCER. He was often the lone voice calling for ACA to further fund research. His legacy in helping foster the research infrastructure of the chiropractic profession and the direction of the modern ACA continues to shape the profession. He was a friend and mentor to so many. Mac will be greatly missed. It is only fitting that the ACA Researcher of the Year award be named in his honor.”