Getting to Know the IFCO
Ron Sweeney, DC Student
Recently, during my work with the WCCS, I had the opportunity to become familiar with the newly renamed International Federation of Chiropractors and Organizations (IFCO). The IFCO is an international organization of chiropractors, students and others who support the practice of chiropractic for the purpose of correcting vertebral subluxations because subluxations, in and of themselves, are a detriment to the fullest expression of life in all people at all times. Founded in 1979 as the Federation of Straight Chiropractic Organizations, the IFCO recently changed its name to reflect the international growth of chiropractic, and avoid confusion with translations of the term “straight,” which does not necessarily have the same connotation in all circles. While this new name may cause some to question whether it represents an “organizational shift,” Dr. Bill Decken, chair of the IFCO Board of Directors, and head of the philosophy department at Sherman College of Chiropractic (which also recently dropped the term “straight” from its name), ensures us that the IFCO’s actions and vision have always been and will remain congruent with the principles of chiropractic. “The mission of the IFCO is to support and advance chiropractic that is exclusive for the location, analysis, and correction of vertebral subluxation because vertebral subluxation, in and of itself, is a detriment to the fullest expression of life. Our ultimate goal is to ensure the future of chiropractic as a separate and distinct profession, to secure and insure public access to vertebral subluxation correction. We shall accomplish this by uniting and supporting chiropractors and organizations who share the IFCO mission through professional, legislative, educational and personal growth endeavors.”
In an interview with IFCO board member Dr. Liam Schübel, DC, after his address to the assembled student delegates of the first annual Americas region summit for the World Congress of Chiropractic Students (WCCS), Dr. Schübel elaborated his vision for student representation within the IFCO. “There’s been a rebirth of the IFCO. It’s the fastest growing international organization on the planet right now, and what we’re seeing is a lot of students are joining up with the IFCO. We’re in the initial phases of developing a more complete student experience as it relates to the IFCO. I would like to see eventually, in part of our global summits, that we actually have—just like the WCCS—student leaders from all over the world who are involved with the IFCO coming together in unison, united around the principle.”
Membership in the IFCO is open to anyone interested in the mission and purpose of the Federation. Student membership costs a one-time fee of $50 and covers the student through the entirety of their time in school, plus their first year in practice. Student members have no voting rights and may not hold office, but may receive special student publications, attend IFCO events at a discount, and gain access to a library of information at discounted prices. A mentoring program is also available to students and new graduates, pairing them up with doctors of chiropractic who are successfully applying the principles of chiropractic in their practices.
Dr. Schübel went on to say, “…unity behind principles—that’s what distinguishes the IFCO from most other organizations on the planet. We’re actually focused on the promotion and the protection. Many organizations are focused just on the protection, and when you focus just on protection and you’re just in defense, you’re always in a reactionary mode; rather than bringing the fight to the battlefield, you’re always in the defense mode. Bruce Lipton has a saying, ‘A cell in defense can’t grow.’ Just like a successful sports team has defense and an offense, we have very brilliant minds involved in defense. I wake up every day in the morning and say, ‘Thank God for Christopher Kent and Matt McCoy.’ These two minds are some of the most brilliant in chiropractic, some of the most politically savvy minds in chiropractic. They’re involved in some of the change we’re bringing about in the IFCO.”
In describing one aspect of the IFCO’s mission, Dr. Schübel joked, “We’re the first organization to divide the United States into fifty different states! We have a systemized process that we’re working to get an IFCO member on every state board in the United States, every provincial board in Canada, and every single regulatory board… in the world. The reason for this, new graduates, is that one of the first things you’ll notice as you go into your community, your town in the United States or Canada, is that if you start becoming very successful—which you will if you understand the principles of chiropractic and how to apply them—you will be called up before the state board. Other chiropractors will rat you out to the state board and make up things [like] ‘You’re practicing unethically; how could you see so many people and give quality care?’—that age-old, but ridiculous argument. What you would like to see is a smiling face from the IFCO on that state board when you go before it, because the IFCO does not practice “business protectionism,” based on the idea of scarcity. We’re the only profession that says ‘There’s too many chiropractors!’ at 50,000; the dentists have 142,000 dentists and say they’re in a crisis because they don’t have enough dentists to take care of all the people in the United States. Are there more people with teeth than with spines? 50,000 chiropractors is not enough. If you understand, really, what chiropractic is all about, that every person with a spine and a life force should be under chiropractic care, then you understand that we desperately need more chiropractors. What we don’t need are more chiropractors who have no clue as to what chiropractic is about; what we don’t need are more people who only focus on the diagnosis and treatment of disease through more natural methods. That market is definitely shrinking. That’s when you’re going to see an economically-driven shift in the profession. The system of musculoskeletal diagnosis and treatment of disease that we’ve been using and teaching in the schools is no longer viable for the modern-day practice of chiropractic. It’s ironic, because the educational process we’re receiving in school would have been very popular in the 1980s and 1990s, but today, it’s a system that is failing the graduates of schools.” Schübel went on further, stating, “We just need to fail badly enough in the current paradigm before people starting looking for the answer.”
In addition to political involvement, the IFCO has been heavily involved in the reform of the educational processes and standards of the Council on Chiropractic Education. The IFCO seeks to help the CCE outline an education that is adequate and will produce competent practitioners of chiropractic and chiropractors that understand the power of what it is they hold in their hands, that ability to unleash the potential of every human being on the planet. Regrettably, that message is not being taught in every chiropractic school, and is part of the reason the IFCO would like to increase student involvement and representation through the formation of campus chapters. For more information on the IFCO, please visit http://www.ifcochiro.org, and if you have any interest in forming a chapter at Life University, please get in touch with me, Ron Sweeny at email@example.com.