Introduction: The relationship between Cleveland Chiropractic College (CCC) and the medical faculty at the University of Southern California Student Health Center (USC) began approximately two years ago. Some of the faculty members at the USC Student Health Center were interested in offering some form of alternative and complementary care and this influenced the medical director to investigate their options in offering chiropractic and acupuncture. The medical director for the Student Health Center contacted the clinic director at CCC to inquire as to whether CCC would be interested in discussing the possibility of providing chiropractic services at the Student Health Center. A meeting was arranged with the medical director followed by a presentation to the entire medical staff. The medical staff was comprised of various medical specialists and represented the full spectrum of opinion regarding chiropractic, from positive to negative. During the initial presentation many questions arose regarding chiropractor’s beliefs in treating organic dysfunction. This was addressed by stating unequivocally that, while there was a longstanding belief of this within certain segments of the profession, the college was there to help student patients with uncomplicated, non-radicular, back, neck and tension-type headache problems. For all intents and purposes, this was the end of any barriers to further discussions.
Discussion: Operationally, patients were referred by the staff medical doctors as well as the physician assistants, physical therapists and acupuncturist, or they made an appointment directly without the need for a referral. All student patients were examined by the nursing staff prior to any treatment. Examination consisted of a personal/confidential history, vitals, present medications, family history. Patients were primarily seen and treated by an intern. However this was accomplished under constant supervision by a licensed chiropractic doctor. The licensed chiropractor is in the treatment room constantly supervising the intern throughout the history, examination, diagnosis and treatment of the patient. Chiropractic treatments initially focused on the areas described above, yet, as the efficacy of chiropractic services became readily apparent secondary to student reported treatment outcomes, further areas of the body and other conditions were added to the list of chiropractic indications. This is an essential point to remember and a pathway that is typical of healthy, working medical chiropractic collaborations. Within the chiropractic profession, and particularly the chiropractic research community, there is strong interest in enhancing the profession’s movement towards greater integration of chiropractic care into health delivery systems. While there have surely been successes, the methodology and strategies that have led to integration opportunities have not been widely published as models for others. With careful planning, training and sensitivity, chiropractors can integrate their services into more traditional venues. Training and use of good communication skills are critical for chiropractors within these settings.
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