In spring 2018, six UWS students founded the first-ever Pacific Northwest chapter of the Student American Black Chiropractic Association (SABCA).
“The driving force behind the creation of this chapter at UWS was wanting to find more mentors for the minorities on campus, because in reality, there are only a handful of us,” said Shenee’ Lawson, UWS chiropractic student, UWS SABCA president. “Being able to have someone you can look to directly that also identifies as part of a marginalized group is great for the learning process and will help students that much more.”
By becoming a recognized chapter, UWS students become eligible to apply for and receive ABCA scholarships and can recommend that ABCA conferences be held in the region. The establishment of the official UWS SABCA chapter will also assist UWS when applying for grants supporting diversity initiatives or relating to health care outreach in underserved populations.
“Due to our demographics in this region, having groups such as SABCA on campus helps everyone gain more knowledge and understanding to what minority groups experiences and the different life challenges we experience,” said Lawson. “From a clinical education standpoint, it’s also important for future caregivers to be able to know what to do should someone from a different ethnic background comes into their office. It’s all about professionalism at the end of the day; we should be able to put ourselves professionally into a situation, even if we feel discomfort, and commit to providing the best care.”
According to the ABCA, many African Americans who would benefit from chiropractic care are unfamiliar with its benefits. Chiropractic colleges struggle to attract minority students into their programs, resulting in a significantly low number of African American chiropractic physicians out in the field. Ultimately, communities of color remain under-served by the benefit of chiropractic care. In accordance with the UWS motto, “For the good of the patient,” this must change, and UWS SABCA is leading the change.