Davenport Homecoming 2015 highlights

Davenport Homecoming 2015 highlights

Reminiscing at the 50-year reunion.

Reminiscing at the 50-year reunion.

Photo gallery

Aug. 13-15 marked the 101st Homecoming celebration on Palmer’s Davenport campus. Each year Homecoming gives our alumni the opportunity to celebrate accomplishments, renew friendships and hear great speakers. Plus, while online continuing education (CE) is convenient, there’s nothing like live CE sessions where you can interact with the presenter and your colleagues.

Dancing at the Saturday Night Festival.

Dancing at the Saturday Night Festival.

As you can see in the photo galleries, there was plenty of fun and fellowship as well as the chance to absorb information. From the general and breakout sessions to the reunions and Saturday Night Festival, Homecoming was entertaining and educational.

Robin Ackerman, D.C., Davenport ’00, said the highlight of Homecoming for her was her class reunion and the “15 years of memories and reconnections.”

“The best thing was when I asked everyone if they would go back to Palmer for school again, and 100 percent of us said, ‘Yes.’ I’m proud of the school improvements and history,” she said.

Here are some of the highlights from this year’s event:

Dr. Dennis Marchiori speaking during the opening session.

Dr. Dennis Marchiori speaking during the opening session.

Opening session with Chancellor Dennis Marchiori, D.C., Ph.D.

Dr. Marchiori spoke about “Challenging a Profession: Changing Public Perceptions About Chiropractic” during the opening session on Thursday. During his presentation, he talked about the new and upcoming physical changes on the Davenport campus, including upgrades to the Fitness Center.

He also spoke about enrollment and the future of the College. “Our enrollment is going up,” he said. “And though we may be the biggest, it’s most important to be the best and trusted leader.”

Gallup-Palmer report results shared first at Palmer Homecoming

Attendees at Palmer’s Davenport Homecoming heard the results of the “Gallup-Palmer College of Chiropractic Inaugural Report: Americans’ Perceptions of Chiropractic” before any other audience during a general session presentation Aug. 14 by Cynthia English, M.P.P., from Gallup.

The results will be released to the public soon.

Speaker David Chapman-Smith asks ‘Does the Chiropractic Profession Need an Adjustment?’

Mr. David Chapman-Smith, recently retired as secretary-general of the World Federation of Chiropractic, spoke to Homecoming attendees on Aug. 14 about the need for chiropractors to embrace their role as spine care professionals while also maintaining their unique identity and philosophy.

“Embrace the role of chiropractor as primary spine care professional within mainstream health care, knowing you do a lot more but this is where your market is,” he told the audience. “But do this without losing the philosophy of chiropractic and its leadership in adjusting skills and manual health care. There’s no reason for chiropractic without skilled adjusting.”

“The time for your profession is now,” he added. “If you go for spinal health, you go for the biggest health-care market that exists.” He also pointed out that research advances have given chiropractic a model that’s supported by the health-care guidelines and the evidence.

Mr. Chapman-Smith also praised Palmer’s leadership in the profession. “All Palmer graduates, whatever your stripe or ilk, should stand amazed at what the leadership of Palmer has accomplished in the last 10 years,” he said. “Denny and his crew have turned the ship around.”

Alumni Luncheon features honorary degree award and induction of three new Fellows

The Alumni Luncheon began with a moving keynote speech from William Weeks, M.D., M.B.A., chair of Clinical and Health Services Research at the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR). Dr. Weeks is a professor of Psychiatry and of Community and Family Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. At the PCCR, Dr. Weeks focuses on efforts to understand how doctors of chiropractic supply health-care services, how patients use such services, and how best to integrate services with other health-care providers.

“I’m here for a couple of reasons,” Dr. Weeks said. “First, I’m worried. I’m worried about the economy of the U.S. and the impending crisis of health-care expenditures. Second, I’m here for my sister, who was thrown from a horse and injured her back 16 years ago. She died from complications resulting from prescribed medications for her back pain. There’s got to be a better way. Patients need to be able to make informed choices about their health care.”

Following Dr. Weeks’ speech, Mr. R. Richard Bittner, J.D., who has served Palmer for decades as legal counsel, longstanding supporter, strong chiropractic advocate and loyal friend of the College, was presented with the honorary degree of Doctor of Chiropractic Humanities.

Three Palmer alumni were then inducted as Fellows in the Palmer Academy of Chiropractic: Mark Bilan, D.C., Davenport ’89, of Anchorage, Alaska; Donna Craft, D.C., Davenport ’86, Brooklyn, Mich.; and Steven Kraus, D.C., Davenport ’88, Carroll, Iowa.

Celebrating 20 years of chiropractic research

“When I was a chiropractic student in the late seventies, I would go to the library and ask, ‘Where’s the research, the data, the textbooks on chiropractic?’ They just didn’t exist,” said San Jose campus President William Meeker, D.C., M.P.H., as he opened the Friday morning general session. Dr. Meeker described how, beginning in 1995, Palmer College made a significant commitment to chiropractic research by establishing the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR) and laying the groundwork for what has become the largest and most productive chiropractic research center in the world.

Since 1995, the PCCR has built both basic science and clinical research facilities on three campuses, gathered talented researchers from multiple disciplines, and established collaborations all over the world. Federal funding has grown from $0 to more than $35 million, and produced 395 scientific publications to date, establishing solid clinical evidence for the value of chiropractic.

“We’re part of the [health-care] mix now; we’re part of the culture,” said Dr. Meeker.

Co-presenter Christine Goertz, D.C., Ph.D., vice chancellor for research and health policy at Palmer, described some of the PCCR’s key research accomplishments as well as a few current studies, including exciting work at Crotched Mountain, examining how chiropractic impacts care for individuals with brain and spinal cord injury, and the assessment of chiropractic treatment collaboration with the Department of Defense, which looks at the role of chiropractic care within the military health-care system and has applications for diverse populations in real-world settings.

Dr. Goertz closed the session by talking about the future of chiropractic research and the need for additional funds to initiate pilot studies. More studies could open up opportunities for more federal funding and also train the chiropractic researchers of the future.

“Back pain is the number one cause of disability worldwide, and prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions,” said Dr. Goertz. “We have a moral imperative to improve health-care systems through chiropractic research.”

For more information about PCCR, visit www.Palmer.edu/research.

New rugby scholarships announced

Chancellor Marchiori and rugby alumni Matt Walker, D.C., Davenport ‘08, president of the Dr. David D. Palmer Athletic Trust, and Kurt Burbach, D.C., Davenport ’86, announced a new agreement and dedication of support to Palmer’s historic rugby program during Saturday’s morning general session.

The College has increased the amount of scholarships it’s offering for the men’s and women’s rugby programs. The College is also in the initial planning phase of building an outdoor athletic complex on the Davenport campus that would serve as the home for its rugby teams.

“We are pleased to recognize the Palmer College rugby alumni have now exceeded the threshold of $1 million raised to benefit the Dr. David D. Palmer Athletic Trust, Palmer College and our rugby program,” said Dr. Marchiori.

“The rugby alumni and Palmer College have formed an agreement to focus on continued fundraising, student referrals and enhancement of the rugby program, including additional scholarships and facilities development.”

Coinciding with the announcements is the publication of a new website for the Rugby Club. The new site can be found at www.palmerrugby.com. The site will be a one-stop location to find out all things about the club and school, including current rugby news, schedules, alumni information, recruiting information, College and alumni news.

Old friends George McAndrews (left) and Dr. Louis Sportelli chat backstage between their speaking sessions.

Old friends George McAndrews (left) and Dr. Louis Sportelli chat backstage between their speaking sessions.

It’s a battle out there: George McAndrews general session

George P. McAndrews, J.D., lead trial counsel in the Wilk et al v. American Medical Association (AMA) et al case, spent Saturday morning’s 90-minute general session, “Striking a Blow to the Medical Monopoly,” by recounting his experiences during the 15-year antitrust case to illustrate the amazing advancements of the chiropractic profession over the past four decades.

He began his talk by citing publications from highly respected medical organizations, including Johns Hopkins Medicine and the AMA, and declared, “now even the medical community is announcing that chiropractic has superior education in neuromusculoskeletal health care.”

Stories of his father’s chiropractic practice, having his office ransacked in the midst of trial preparations, and his deposition with the famous columnist Anne Landers were interspersed with court documents, deftly illustrating what Mr. McAndrews called “the holocaust that the AMA tried to impose on the chiropractic profession.” As he spoke of the future of chiropractic, Mr. McAndrews stated that chiropractors must continue to be “masters of neuromusculoskeletal medicine,” commenting that “the medical profession has trapped themselves between pharmaceuticals and surgery.”

He also encouraged more research, explaining that during the Wilks v. AMA case, he was forced to rely on patient testimony and “admission against interest”—using the defendant’s own statements and documents against them, emphasizing how valuable scientific research is for the future of the profession. “I am so proud of the research being done here,” he said. “Future lawyers are going to be able to rely on research, not just worker’s comp reports and admissions against interest.”

In closing, Mr. McAndrews indicated that the battle is not over, and referenced recent activities of the Texas Medical Association, which he discussed in a 2014 article in Dynamic Chiropractic.

It was clear throughout his presentation that Mr. McAndrews enjoyed the delivery of his address as much as the audience appreciated hearing it. The session closed with a standing ovation.

George McAndrews’ session notes, chock full of original court documents and other supporting literature, can be accessed on Palmer’s website.

For more information about the Wilk v. AMA antitrust case, a good place to start is this overview provided by the American Chiropractic Association.

Leadership and connection with Dr. Louis Sportelli

Louis Sportelli, D.C., Davenport ’62, closed the Homecoming 2015 sessions with his inspiring presentation on leadership lessons, which he started learning when he was as young as 7 years old. With his childhood business selling A-Treat sodas to the construction workers down the street, he learned that “people are basically honest.” From the baker he later worked for, he learned that “appearances are often deceptive” (and to always check the bathroom of a restaurant — because if the bathroom is clean, the kitchen will be, too!).

The other lessons he learned throughout his life are:

  • Lots get done if you don’t care who gets the credit.
  • You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
  • You never learn much from your successes.
  • Find a career you love and a cause to champion.
  • Stay connected.
  • Never stop learning.
  • Say it now.
  • Be thankful just for the privilege of being thankful.

What he learned from adversity is that it doesn’t make us stronger; growth comes from how we respond to it.

Dr. Sportelli graduated from Palmer in 1962, the same year the American Medical Association (AMA) formed the Committee on Quackery, which was essentially the AMA’s attempt to get rid of chiropractors.

“Rather than complain about stuff being said about chiropractic, I wrote about it,” he said, referring to his book “Introduction to Chiropractic.” It’s now in its 13th edition.

When he and his fellow friends and chiropractors took on “the Blues” (Blue Cross/Blue Shield) in the 1980s, they had little money in comparison to the AMA. But, in the end, chiropractic won.

“It’s about trust and relationships,” said Dr. Sportelli, acknowledging the importance of chiropractors not only standing together but in mutual respect for the profession.

Dr. Sportelli also noted how technology has changed people.

“There’s an epidemic of loneliness,” he said. “We are more connected to our devices than we are to people. While technology is wonderful, the toll is that our humanity is dangerously eroded.”

Connecting with people — patients and colleagues — is key to becoming a leader. “Stay connected. Touch somebody all the time.”