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Posted on 09-21-2016

Mr. Smith Goes To College

Advocacy is a multi-layered affair not unlike the proverbial onion.  Each layer you peel back reveals yet another layer.  And each layer has the capacity to bring you to tears as well.   By now readers of the Corner are well aware of CCA’s GA team efforts to use all available resources to lobby all levels of government.  We’ve utilized resources ranging from using PAC funds to elect pro-chiropractic legislators to paid media, earned media, and social media platforms.

Chiropractic Colleges Hit The Mark

Palmer West President Bill Meeker with Cris Forsyth

One underused, but soon to be maximized, resource is our chiropractic colleges.  We are embarking on a concerted effort to engage on a consistent basis with our colleges. Individually our colleges do so much to support chiropractic. And I’m not even thinking about the fabulous education they provide each generation of doctors of chiropractic. I was thinking about all the resources they bring to bear from funding research, to funding national polling, to working in the community, to working in other countries. It is a phenomenal commitment to chiropractic.

Life West President Brian Kelly with Cris Forsyth

Your GA team, which also includes KFB Public Affairs, has been visiting and engaging our colleges and their Presidents, looking for more ways that CCA can work with them to maximize opportunities.  Opportunities to spread the news of their great work through our resources; to partner on projects; to protect and enhance chiropractic on a grand scale. 

SCUHS President John Scaringe

Kayleigh Carey, CCA Marketing & Membership Coordinator, will be representing CCA this weekend at the SCU Integrative Health Conference – September 23-25. Thank you Kayleigh! If you are going to be attending this amazing conference, be sure to stop by and say hello to our new dynamic member of the CCA staff. 

Tackling the Prejudice Of Ignorance

What does all this have to do with our advocacy efforts? As you know, I’ve often spoken of the “prejudice of ignorance” I encounter when lobbing the legislature and policymakers. Government, and to an extent the general public, are ignorant of our scope of practice, chiropractic’s proven effectiveness, its cost effectiveness, its safety.

There also exists a prejudice of ignorance relative to the quality of education received at our chiropractic colleges. I’ve been provided wonderful data regarding the amount of education and training provided to students of chiropractic as well as comparisons of the data to other colleges educating various health care providers.  What I get when I present this data, is first surprise at how comparable the amount of education provided students of chiropractic is to medical doctors. But second, I often receive the “yeah, but it’s not like it’s a real medical school.”

This dynamic must be remedied. Legislators have toured our colleges over the years, and those that have no longer possess the ignorance of prejudice. CCA will be working with our colleges to utilize and super-size this grassroots modality.  I know a lot of legislators and they all love visiting institutions like our colleges. They bring their staff as well on these engagements, providing us another layer of education.  We’ll focus not only on legislators whose districts encompass our colleges, but legislators sitting on key committees.

Our colleges do so much for the profession. Any way CCA can help get that work out to an even greater audience than already being reached is win-win for chiropractic.

But advocacy doesn’t begin and end with the work of our august institutions. The student body of our colleges is also an underutilized resource.  Each year our colleges generously provide opportunities for their students to attend the CCA Legislative Conference. Each year it’s a great opportunity for students to partner with doctors as legislators are lobbied on our policy priorities for the year.

Students Will Lay The Groundwork At Student CCA ChiroCon 

Our observation is that our students are capable of much, much more.  And my experience in the legislature tells me we can use our students’ contributions too even greater effect. To capitalize and encourage our students we will be hosting an inaugural student only lobby day - Student CCA ChiroCon to be held on Tuesday, January 24, 2017. 

The only cost to CCA student members will be transportation to the Capitol. What is the greater effect we perceive students can provide?  Legislators love talking to young people.  They particularly love hearing them tell a personal story.  Love, love, love it.  Our students won’t be asked to lobby any specific policy issues.  We want them to tell their personal story about why they want to be a chiropractor.  Tell the story about what their educational experience is like and how rigorous that education is. If asked about our policy priorities for the year, our students will be able to reply they have materials to leave behind and reference the Legislative Conference in March.

This experience lays a profound foundation for when we follow-up Student CCA ChiroCon with our Legislative Conference two months later on Tuesday March 7.  Legislators and staff will remember the visits from the students, remember the stories, remember the positive interaction, remember the knowledge imparted on them, and be open to being lobbied on our policy priorities. 

Working together on a consistent, sustained basis with our colleges will pay big dividends for chiropractic in California.  I hope you can feel my excitement and enthusiasm, and I hope it is contagious.  Not all contagions need be bad right?  I am not as naïve as the character in the iconic Frank Capra movie featuring Jimmy Stewart. Mr. Stewart portrayed the idealistic young Jefferson Smith who winds up appointed to the United States Senate.  I’ve seen too many metaphorical political bodies buried, but did get schooled on my visits to our college.  And that, as Martha Stewart likes to say, is a good thing.

Of Independent Expenditures And Powering The 2016 Election

I’d be remiss if I didn’t once again remind everyone there is less than 47 days to the election.  We’re working feverishly to get all our campaign mailers supporting our targeted pro-chiropractic candidates out to the voters.  I can’t share them yet of course, but I’m really looking forward to showing everyone not only the quantity and quality produced by our political operation, but also what our PAC funds are used for and why it’s SO important to support the PAC. 

We are in the most important election cycle to chiropractic in decades. Winners on November 8 will determine the future fate of chiropractic.

I know our Corner readers have heard that here many times. But, I cannot stress enough the amazing opportunities for chiropractic if we are able to elect as many chiropractic informed and supportive legislators come November.

Often times I get questions regarding why should I donate to the Power The 2016 Election campaign or how is my contribution used? I am here to tell you we use every single penny to advance your profession. Your contributions – no matter what amount – are needed to:

  • Help elect chiropractic supportive legislators
  • Fund CCA’s Political Action Committee
  • Provide funding for independent expenditures
  • Provide support to key legislators
  • Level the playing field in politics 

Hot Off The Presses - 2016 CCA Voter Guide

Exclusively for our Corner readers, we are providing you the 2016 CCA Voter Guide. If you are reading the Corner, we know you will be voting and want to vote chiropractic. We want as many chiropractic wins as possible!

One of my favorite authors, Andrew Vacchs, once said, “The Bowery station on the J line is what happens to a neighborhood once politicians realize the people who live there don’t vote.” 

Don’t let them put the chiropractic equivalent of the J line in your neighborhood.

That’s all the news that’s fit to print, and some that probably isn’t…for now.

Did you know you can comment directly on the Corner? Just look below for the comment box. I encourage your feedback and questions.

I look forward to hearing from you.

©2016 California Chiropractic Association. All rights reserved. Please do not disseminate in part or whole without prior permission. Questions or permission to disseminate? Contact Cris Forsyth at cforsyth@calchiro.org.

Danny said:

Another phenomenal Corner! This bring my understanding up and my level of unknown down each time I read it. Thank you!

2016-09-24 09:50:01

Ron Benson said:

Thanks as always Cris! And can we get the district by district endorsements so we can get it docs office next week?

2016-09-24 13:40:38

Lesa Lane said:

I think going to the chiropractic colleges is a forward-thinking move and having their own legislative day is brilliant. The future members of CCA will come from the colleges and educating them in the political realities of their profession should start when they are in school. Well done, Cris.

2016-09-26 15:17:36

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