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).

Sunday, January 16, 2005

FSU: Chiropractic school takes step forward

Posted on Sat, Jan. 15, 2005


Chiropractic school takes step forward

Florida State University's board of trustees voted to proceed with a controversial proposal to set up the nation's first chiropractic college at a public university.


TALLAHASSEE - Florida State University's board of trustees voted 11-2 on Friday to move ahead with a controversial proposal to open the nation's first public chiropractic college, sending the measure to the Florida Board of Governors, the statewide panel that oversees public universities.

There is speculation that the Board of Governors, which will meet later this month in Gainesville, will kill the proposal, which calls for starting the program in 2006 and eventually hiring more than 100 professors.

But many of the FSU trustees made it clear that even if the Board of Governors gives them a green light, the proposal would be investigated and reviewed further by faculty and return for a final vote of trustees before the college starts offering classes.

''I'm not voting to approve a chiropractic college,'' said FSU trustees Chairman John Thrasher.

``Before we go through an extensive amount of time and energy and work among our faculty and students, we ought to ask them whether we can investigate it further.''


Despite the insistence by Thrasher that Friday's vote was not decisive, it was criticized by opponents of the new college, who contend that chiropractic is not science-based and that FSU should not get into the business of churning out chiropractors.

Under FSU's proposal, students would earn both a master's degree in fields such as aging studies and a doctorate in chiropractic.

''What a bunch of cowards,'' said Dr. Ray Bellamy, a Tallahassee orthopedic surgeon and FSU alumnus who has led a campaign to kill the chiropractic college.

Dr. Tom Haney, a Tallahassee orthopedic surgeon and one of the doctors who treats FSU football players, also expressed frustration at Friday's vote.

''I think the Board of Trustees missed an opportunity to make the right decision for what's best for FSU,'' said Haney. ``They had a chance to make a statement to the Board of Governors that it's not a good fit for FSU.''

But FSU President T.K. Wetherell praised the vote, saying it would allow the university to delve deeper into whether a chiropractic college would be a good fit. He said it would have been wrong to kill the proposal at this time.

''For us as a university to not be open-minded is making a worse statement,'' said Wetherell.

State lawmakers decided last year that FSU would be a good place for a chiropractic college.

Led by former Senate President Jim King, legislators gave FSU permission to start a chiropractic college and guaranteed $9 million a year to fund it.

But in November, the state's Board of Governors told FSU that the university could not move ahead without its approval.


In the past few weeks there has been a backlash from FSU faculty and doctors affiliated with FSU's fledgling medical school, who contend that the addition of a chiropractic college could tarnish FSU's image as a major research university. On Friday, 29 current and former faculty members, including two Nobel Prize winners, took out a full-page ad in the Tallahassee Democrat asking trustees to vote against the college.

Prior to the vote, trustees heard from opponents and proponents of the college. Proponents contended that research at the college could help improve the standard of care delivered by chiropractors across the nation.

''It will result in the improvement of quality and effect of care to the public, a clear win for FSU,'' said John Triano, a Texas chiropractor.

In the end just two trustees voted against moving ahead with the proposal. Manny Garcia of Winter Springs said he remained concerned that the addition of the college could harm the future of FSU's medical school, which is less than 5 years old and still awaiting final accreditation.

He said there was a reason that no other public university offers a doctorate in chiropractic.

''Why do we have to be a guinea pig with a brand new medical school?'' Garcia said.