SACA Leadership Conference: A Tribe of Future Leaders

More than 120 SACA members gathered Sept. 7-9 in Milwaukee, Wis., for the 2018 SACA Leadership Conference! An annual event for SACA members, Leadership Conference is a time for empowerment, community building and learning from some of the most influential leaders in the chiropractic profession today.

On the first day of the conference, students had the great privilege of touring Standard Process, in Palmyra, Wis., a generous host and sponsor of Leadership Conference. Attendees had the chance to see where Standard Process products are made—from farm to package—and learned about the company’s steadfast commitment to quality and sustainability. In addition to their generous sponsorship, Standard Process hosted students and the first flight of speakers on Friday. (Pictured on the right is all student attendees at the Standard Process Farm.)   

Leaders Share Their Experiences, Insights

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, students had the opportunity to hear several prominent thought leaders in chiropractic speak. William Moreau, DC, DACBSP, FACSM, shared his many experiences working with Olympic athletes through his roles with the United States Olympic Committee. A few key leadership points Dr. Moreau shared centered around being excellent in clinical knowledge and application, but also being humble enough to realize one can never know it all. He emphasized the importance of working together on a healthcare team to provide comprehensive, patient-centered care. Dr. Moreau urged students to step up and be advocates for those who cannot advocate for themselves, including our patients. Lastly, he asked us, “Where will you take ACA?” He tasked us with growing the profession, moving it forward and leaving a positive legacy.

This team-based attitude toward health care continued throughout the conference and was a cornerstone of the keynote presentation, “Our Hands Work Hand in Hand with Your Healthcare Team,” by Matthew H. Kowalski, DC, who is a staff chiropractor for the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Osher Integrative Care Center. Dr. Kowalski not only spoke about the importance of chiropractors working collaboratively within healthcare teams, but also shared the how’s and why’s of such a model. Additionally, he shared advice on how to become better leaders in health care in a number of ways. For example, he challenged us to “become uncommonly good at common things,” which means becoming very good at effectively addressing the most common issues patients face.

Stephanie Halloran, DC, and Anthony Lisi, DC, talked extensively about chiropractic in the Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system and shared information on the many opportunities available for chiropractors there. Dr. Halloran spent a year as a VA chiropractic resident and Dr. Lisi is director of the chiropractic program in the VA. The topic of chiropractic research was also touched on by Claire Johnson, DC, editor of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, in her presentation “The Use of Research and Leadership to Reach the Public and Uplift the Chiropractic Profession.”

Roundtable Discussions Offer Words of Encouragement

A very popular part of the program was the Mentoring Roundtable, which featured various guest speakers, ACA leaders and attendees in small-group discussions. Participants were asked to elaborate on and discuss one word. Some of the words included “openness,” “integrity” and “strength.” Student attendees were able to ask the doctors/leaders at their tables what these words meant to them as well.

Other key take-aways from presentations included mastering the art of “underpromising and overdelivering,” a theme shared by both Trevor Foshang, DC, dean of the College of Chiropractic at Northwestern Health Sciences University (NWHSU), and Michele Maiers, DC, MPH, NWHSU’s director of research and innovation as well as a member of the ACA Board of Governors.

Kristina Petrocco-Napuli, DC, president of the ACA Council on Women’s Health, encouraged attendees to find their “Space Jam”—that is, their main passion within chiropractic and health care. Additionally, Keita Vanterpool, DC, chair of the District of Columbia Board of Chiropractic, inspired us to believe in and fervently pursue our dreams while practicing meaningful self care.

The importance of self care was echoed by the ACA Commission on Diversity’s William Foshee, DC, in his presentation, “Elevate What Matters: Influence, Relevance, Change,” in which he shared several ways mindfulness and meditation can be of benefit. Pictured at right are the business cards Dr. Foshee handed out at the end of his presentation. Attendees were asked to find a colleague and write one word to describe the other person. This exercise in encouragement and empowerment continues even now on the SACA Facebook page.

“Find Your Tribe. Love Them Hard”

Last, but not least, the adage “Find Your Tribe. Love Them Hard” has followed the Student ACA in recent years and deserves to be touched on. This community-driven statement was certainly evident at last week’s conference. SACA members were given the opportunity to enjoy time with old friends while making new ones from chiropractic institutions across the country. Working toward a common goal and purpose naturally brings people together, but it is the humble and welcoming attitudes of SACA members that make this community thrive.

Leadership Conference is the place where it all seems to come together—where attendees not only learn how to be better leaders and better future healthcare providers, but also how to be great colleagues and even friends. SACA Leadership Conference invests in future leaders of the profession by inspiring attendees to create meaningful change, exemplify high professional standards and promote an atmosphere of learning and evolving. These student leaders are not only the future of ACA and this profession, but truly do make up the present as well. Attendees and presenters were certainly able to shed light on “Finding the Future Now” at this conference.

So, SACA Fam…share what you have learned at LC, continue to “love your tribe,” reach new heights and be the excellent future chiropractors you all are!

Jocelyn Tierney is national vice chair for the Student ACA. She is a student at Cleveland University—Kansas City.

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Thank you to our generous sponsors, Standard Process, NCMIC, National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, Northwestern Health Sciences University, China-Gel, ChiroHealth USA and RockTape. A very special thank you to the SACA Leadership Conference Committee Chairs from Northwestern Health Sciences University, Kelsey Elliot and Alyssa Clarity, assisted by Dr. Heidi Henson, Dr. Leslie Reece, Dr. Katie Benson, Lori Hall, Jane Zaretskie and all those at ACA who made this conference possible.