Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Chiropractic School Becomes Nagging Pain At FSU

Jan 4, 2005

Chiropractic School Becomes Nagging Pain At FSU

By GARY HABER

TAMPA - A state Department of Education report finds Florida has no shortage of chiropractors, and an existing school can handle the state's requirements.
The report prepared for the Board of Governors comes as the higher education board confronts its biggest test in 13 months of existence: whether to approve a proposed chiropractic school at Florida State University.

The school, which would be the nation's first at a public, four-year university, has stirred its share of controversy.

Supporters say it's needed to provide a less-expensive, in- state option for the study of such alternative medical treatment, which would help to increase the number of black and Hispanic chiropractors in Florida.

FSU plans a five-year, graduate-level program at its Tallahassee campus, offering students a doctor of chiropractic degree and a master's degree in one of five areas, including aging and public health.

Opening in 2007, the program eventually could accommodate 500 students.

Opponents, including some professors at FSU's medical school, say a chiropractic school isn't needed and has no place at a public research university.

"What in the world are they doing putting a chiropractic school at FSU?'' asked Raymond Bellamy, a Tallahassee orthopedist and an FSU medical school professor. "The mood of the campus is we don't want it.''

Caught in the middle is the Board of Governors, set to vote on the matter Jan. 27.

A lawsuit, filed last month in Leon County Circuit Court by a group including a former state university system chancellor, contends Gov. Jeb Bush and the Legislature intruded on the board's turf by allocating $9 million a year for the school without the board approving the program.

The Department of Education report leaves unanswered whether a chiropractic school fits the mission of a state university. But it points out Florida ranks third among the states in licensed chiropractors, with 4,687 practicing in 2003 - behind only California (13,421) and New York (6,240).

Access to chiropractors is slightly better in Florida than in the nation, with a ratio of one to every 3,410 Floridians. The national average is 1-to- 3,788.

The report notes Palmer College of Chiropractic, Florida - a private school that opened in 2002 in Port Orange, in Volusia County - will produce more than the 108 new chiropractors the state will need each year to keep pace.

The school, a division of Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, expects to graduate 150 students in 2006 and 188 in 2007.

Supporters of the FSU plan say the popularity of chiropractic treatment and Florida's population make a state-funded school a necessity.

``I don't think we should turn our back on people who want to become part of a profession that pays $90,000 a year,'' said state Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville.

A $500,000 state-funded study in 2002 supported the need for such a school, said Sen. Dennis Jones, R-Treasure Island, a chiropractor.

King and Jones say FSU's status as the first major research university with a chiropractic school would help win what Jones calls ``a goodly share'' of $155 million in federal research grants for alternative medicine.

Carolyn Roberts, the Board of Governors' chairwoman, countered that she's concerned a chiropractic school could damage FSU's research standing. ``I'd like to know how this fits into a research institution,'' Roberts said.



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