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).

Friday, January 21, 2005

FSU chiropractic school deserves lack of support

January 20, 2005

FSU chiropractic school deserves lack of support

This time, we don’t have to joke on FSU. They’re doing a pretty good job of it themselves.

In case you haven’t heard through the incredulous-student grapevine, FSU soon may add a chiropractic school to its “esteemed” campus.

But this is no laughing matter. The chiropractic-school proposal could have dire consequences for not only FSU’s integrity, but the integrity of the state university system as a whole.

The program would be the only one of its kind in the country, and not without reason.

The scientific community, as a whole, vehemently opposes the inclusion of chiropractics as a legitimate healing art. Studies of chiropractics’ possible health benefits have been inconclusive, and proponents’ arguments have not been accepted by prominent medical associations. Further, medical professionals are leery of questionable “spiritual” elements sometimes associated with the practice.

For instance, the Capital Medical Society, an association of more than 500 Tallahassee-area doctors, unanimously voted Jan. 4 to oppose the school.

FSU’s faculty has spoken as well. At least seven medical school professors have threatened to resign if the program is approved, and 30 faculty members collectively took out a full-page ad in the Tallahassee Democrat in protest.

There is no support for the proposal even within FSU’s Board of Trustees. While it did vote 11-2 to pass the issue to the state Board of Governors, several trustees openly opposed the plan and none publicly favored it.

To be fair, however, FSU actually did not ask for a chiropractic school. Unsurprisingly, the driving force behind the proposal is Florida Senate Majority Leader Dennis Jones, who himself is a chiropractor.

But this is not a matter of concern only for FSU. If it was, we simply would stand by and laugh as the university’s reputation went down like the Seminoles against the Gators this season.

This is a matter of concern for Florida’s public university system, which already faces enough challenges.

At the very least, the $9 million annually the Legislature appropriated for the chiropractic program - not to mention the cost of a new building to house it - could be spent on addressing issues such as overcrowding, low teacher salaries and increasing tuition.

And the state’s image certainly doesn’t need another mark against it, considering the popular perception of Florida as a loony bin since the spectacle of the 2000 presidential election recounts.

But some good has come out of the proposal, if only because of the controversy it has generated. The discussions involved have thrust into sharp relief the fact that no clear line of authority exits over the state’s public universities, as the state Legislature, the schools’ boards of trustees and the state Board of Governors still fight for control.

In this case, the Board of Governors needs to take charge and kill this proposal before any more word of it can get out.

So when you feel like laughing at the things the garnet and gold do to themselves, instead take the time to tell them you don’t appreciate their bringing the whole state down with them.

And then you can laugh.