Looking Forward: Engage 2023, Medicare, Student Leadership

Dr. Michele Maiers, ACA President

While I try my best to live in the moment, lately I find myself looking forward to 2023 and anticipating coming together as an organization at ACA’s annual meeting, ACA Engage. I look forward to  reconnecting with so many special people that I have known and worked with since my days as a student. Let me encourage all of you to save Jan. 25 – 28, 2023, for some “professional/personal time” to expand your clinical knowledge as well as reconnect with friends and colleagues at Engage 2023.

After two years of going virtual, we will once again convene in person for Engage at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. Engage is a great opportunity to build community, learn, grow and become better connected with what is happening in chiropractic and the wider healthcare arena. We are grateful for the chance to bring ACA members together again, and I really think you will want to be there.

Engage 2023 will offer a wide range of education programs with plenty of CE credits (up to 20 are available) so it’s very worth your time in that respect. It’s also an opportunity for doctors of chiropractic and students to learn about new products and services in the chiropractic industry and to make their voices heard in Washington.

House of Delegates to Convene at Engage

The ACA House of Delegates will also meet during the event to hold elections, deliberate important issues and conduct other association business. Importantly, we will be discussing the opportunities and challenges most important to the chiropractic profession in the years ahead, as we plan for the next iteration of ACA’s strategic plan. Note, all our activities at ACA are aligned with the objectives of the strategic plan, and ACA’s success is reflected in our fidelity to it.

As we look forward and cast a vision for the next five years at ACA, your input is essential. I encourage members to spend a little time sitting in on the HOD meeting to learn about the work of this important governing body. If you haven’t met your state delegate, this is also a great time to introduce yourself and discuss your vision for the future of ACA and the profession. As a member organization, your voice matters, so opening communication with your delegate is a good move anytime.

Push to Pass Medicare Bill Intensifies

Of course, we all hope that Engage 2023 will be a victory lap for the Chiropractic Medicare Modernization Act (H.R. 2654/S. 4042). We are coming into the home stretch as I write this, having achieved the milestone of 150-plus cosponsors – which is the most that any chiropractic legislation has had in the recent history of the profession. Congratulations, and many thanks to each of you who have advocated for this legislation. As ACA members, you understand how important these bills are, not only for our patients but for the standing of the chiropractic profession as we look forward to greater access, parity and participation in the broader healthcare system.

But we are not across the finish line yet. Please take the time today to contact your members of Congress to push for passage of the bill or to thank them for being one of our cosponsors. My challenge to you: solicit five patients, friends, or colleagues this week to do the same. This campaign is by no means over and done. If we want this change, the chiropractic profession must keep pushing as hard as possible until the very end of the congressional year in December. Find out how to reach out to Congress at www.acatoday.org/Medicare.

Student Leaders Receive DEI Training

Looking forward, we will need chiropractic doctors who can provide not only quality care to Medicare beneficiaries and other patients but also culturally competent care that connects with each person’s individual needs. With this in mind, “Authentic Acceptance” was the theme of the recent Student American Chiropractic Association (SACA) Leadership Conference, held at the University of Western States (UWS) in Portland, Ore., and attended by about 80 students from chiropractic colleges around the country. Special thanks to UWS students Gretchen Gatzke, Aimee Tanner and Jessica Settle, and faculty advisor Gary Schultz, DC, DACBR, who were the onsite organizers of this year’s gathering.

Our SACA students and advisors did a fantastic job this year, pulling together a program that featured presentations that discussed the chiropractic experience through a Diversity/Equity/Inclusion (DEI) lens. Among other things, the excellent presenters helped participants to understand the concepts of cultural humility and inclusive leadership and how they relate to one another, as well as how inclusive leadership assures that patients and colleagues feel respected, valued, included, confident, and inspired. This forward thinking by our students and advisors is incredibly valuable, as we all prepare to meet the challenges of the next year and the next decade.

As speakers Bola Majekobaje and Nikki Hinshaw pointed out, we all need to clarify for ourselves the “why” behind inclusive leadership. That answer may be different for all of us, but in all cases that “why” is so very impactful for those who experience it through our care, leadership and interactions.

My “why” has always been centered around building capacity for chiropractic to be at the leading edge of healthcare transformation. It is an honor and a privilege to realize my “why” alongside you as members and leaders in ACA.

Dr. Maiers is president of the American Chiropractic Association.