Index to Chiropractic Literature
Index to Chiropractic Literature
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ID 6239
  Title The origins and early history of the National Chiropractic Association
Journal J Can Chiropr Assoc. 1993 Mar;37(1):27-51
Peer Review Yes
Publication Type Article

Early organization in chiropractic was prompted by the profession’s need to promote itself and to defend against the onslaught of political medicine and organized osteopathy. The first priorities were legal defense against prosecution for unlicensed practice and malpractice insurance. The Universal Chiropractors’ Association (UCA), organized at the Palmer School of Chiropractic (PSC) in 1906, sought to meet these needs by insuring its members and by developing a legal department under the supervision of attorney Tom Morris, one time lieutenant governor of Wisconsin. The public relations and marketing needs of chiropractors were largely served by the PSC and its legendary leader. However, as chiropractors increasingly sought to avoid prosecution by passage of chiropractic laws, Palmer’s efforts to direct this legislation so as to limit chiropractors’ scope of practice increasingly alienated many in the profession. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) was founded in 1922 to provide a broadscope alternative to BJ’s UCA. With Palmer’s departure from the UCA following the neurocalometer debacle, ACA and UCA sought amalgamation. Simultaneously, organized medicine renewed its attack on the profession by introducing basic science legislation, which prompted chiropractors to try to upgrade and standardize chiropractic education. Early efforts to bring about the needed consensus were centered in the International Chiropractic Congress (ICC), particularly its division of state examining boards. In 1930 the ACA and UCA combined to form the National Chiropractic Association (NCA), and by 1934 the ICC had merged with the NCA to form part of its council structure. With this modicum of solidarity the NCA began the process of educational boot-strapping at its 1935 convention in Los Angeles, when its Committee on Education, a forerunner of today’s Council on Chiropractic Education, was proposed by C.O. Watkins of Montana.

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