University of Western States (UWS) doctor of chiropractic students Shenee’ Lawson and Tim Williams were sponsored to represent the UWS Student American Black Chiropractic Association (SABCA) chapter at the 37th Annual American Black Chiropractic Association Conference (ABCA) in St. Louis, Missouri. The newly formed UWS SABCA chapter is recognized as the first SABCA chapter of the Pacific Northwest region.
Bobby Westbrooks, DC, founded the ABCA organization more than 30 years ago with efforts to recruit, encourage and support Black persons to study chiropractic. His mission was to promote the research and development of the science, philosophy and art of chiropractic, and to improve the standards in the profession by advancing the technical and professional knowledge. The ABCA seeks to donate time and services to neighborhood health clinics and perform community education.
In a talk by Dr. Xavier Tibler, founding partner of Evoke Chiropractic in Overland, Missouri, Lawson and Williams received insight on the transformation from a student to chiropractic physician. Dr. Tibler attended chiropractic school while he was enlisted in the military. When he was deployed, he had to leave school and his family to serve his country in Afghanistan. While overseas, Dr. Tibler realized that what chiropractic physicians do is what the country needs. A question was raised asking, “Who are we and who do we represent?”
Statistics show that:
- African Americans ages 18-49 are two times likely to die from heart disease.
- African Americans ages 35-64 are 50 percent more likely to have a high blood pressure.
- The leading causes of death in the African American population are heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and homicide.
“It is our responsibility as African American doctors of chiropractic to transform our people to understand the innate; the innate is something inborn such as love,” said Dr. Tibler. “When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied. As chiropractic physicians, we have all this potential right now to change our community and the way they think.”
In addition to hearing inspiring talks from those excelling in the field, the students enjoyed the networking and career building opportunities and most enjoyed the outreach program opportunity SABCA interns held with Dr. Jennifer McClearly. Every year, SABCA puts on a fundraiser and outreach opportunity to a non-profit organization where the National ABCA Conference is held. This year, the conference attendees connected with the YMCA in St. Louis, Missouri to encourage and teach young individuals about the field of chiropractic.
After this workshop, the students had a broader enlightenment on what chiropractic brings to the community and some were even motivated to become a chiropractic physician one day. A young girl at the event said she was inspired by seeing so many black doctors and did not know so many existed.
The UWS SABCA students enjoyed meeting their SABCA peers in other regions, legendary black chiropractic physicians that have seen and made history, and look forward to bringing home their innovative and leadership skills.
The 38th Annual National American Black Chiropractic Association that will be held in Daytona Beach, Florida at Palmer University next year.