In 2022, the Maine Chiropractic Association (MCA) will celebrate its 100th anniversary. The association kicked off the celebration at its fall conference in October with a banquet honoring 10 individuals who have been “Champions of Chiropractic” in Maine. Among honorees were six American Chiropractic Association (ACA) members, including current ACA Vice President Kathy Boulet, DAAPM, DC, Dipl. Ac. Boulet was honored alongside ACA members Ric Bruns, DC, Moshe Myerowitz, DC, Leonard Saulter, DC, Robert Lynch, DC, and Paul Morin, DC.
MCA’s executive leadership chose to honor individuals who have paved the way for chiropractic progress in Maine, either through efforts in state or nationally. Executive Director Robert Reed said that while 10 were chosen, there easily could have been more.
“The people that I was nominated and honored with are people that I’ve respected and have served as mentors to me and been good friends of mine,” noted Dr. Boulet. “To be placed in the same [category] as they were was an honor. Champion of Chiropractic to me means somebody who has really put themselves forth to help move our profession forward. I know many chiropractors who do that on a regular basis and probably haven’t been as visible as I have, but it was an honor to represent everybody.”
Dr. Boulet has been involved in MCA since 1993. She served 17 years as chairperson of the legislative committee and was the first female president elected by the association. She has received several Presidents’ Awards over years and has been named MCA Chiropractor of the Year twice. Throughout her involvement, she has witnessed a lot of growth from an association that she says has always been strong.
“I think that we’ve been lucky because it’s always been a strong association,” she said. “I’ve seen us be able to keep that stability and enhance chiropractic within the state on different levels, publicly and professionally. We’re getting a lot of young, new doctors coming in, and they’ve been involved and engaged, which is great because it shows that dynamic presence within the profession.”
Integrative practice has been an important part of Dr. Boulet’s efforts with MCA. She has spent many years advocating for hospital privileges for chiropractors, an interest that began when she was a student at Logan College of Chiropractic. While there, she participated in a pilot program that gave students the opportunity to intern in different departments of a hospital and gain a better understanding of an integrated healthcare setting. After graduating, she entered private practice but continued to explore hospital privileges and interdisciplinary work.
“When I got back to Maine, it was difficult opening those doors and trying to develop that integrative practice and work with the hospitals because it wasn’t at the same level in our state,” she said. “We really had to cultivate those relationships. We’re still not to the point where we have chiropractors working in the hospitals, but we have great relationships with the doctors, and it is developing.”
Increasing the availability of chiropractic care is important to Dr. Boulet because of the benefits that it provides for patients. She sees integrated care as a way to reach more patients and get them involved.
“I’d like to see chiropractic recognized for the benefits it offers within the health professions and to help more people, so that people can recognize what chiropractic can do to help them as well, she said. “It’s important for people to be able to maintain quality of life and to be empowered to do as much as they can, and for me chiropractic has been that option. It’s conservative, it allows them to become more self-reliant. When you’re working within a hospital setting, that engagement with a patient and with a medical team and using these conservative approaches helps to build bridges.”
Collaboration in Leadership
This collaborative approach also applies to Dr. Boulet’s work in leadership roles within the profession. She looks at leadership as a team effort and believes that to advance the chiropractic profession in a meaningful way, chiropractic leaders must be able to work together and communicate effectively.
“I have been blessed to work with wonderful people who have been likeminded and open enough to be able to discuss and work together even if we don’t always agree on everything,” she said. “That is one of the hallmarks of a great leader—that flexibility to look at everything. There are times you have to compromise, and there are times you have to move forward.”
When it comes to the advancement of chiropractic, Dr. Boulet is honored to have played a part in the profession’s development thus far, but she knows there is more to do.
“We’re still taking baby steps, but I know that at some point in time we’ll start running, and that will be wonderful to see,” she said. “One of the biggest accomplishments has been that ability to be part of that team and to make those differences.”
Cassie LaJeunesse is an associate in the ACA Branding and Communications Department.