Thanks to ACA News for permission to reproduce this article!
By Christina Acampora, DC
Public health lectures offer chiropractors exposure to potential patients while improving wellness in the local community and providing an informative message about chiropractic services. As small business owners or associates, we must continually strive to attract new patients, and public speaking plays a prominent and cost-effective role in these efforts. By collaborating with other health professionals and local businesses to hold public health talks, you can also expand your prospective audience and further limit the costs and planning associated with public lectures by sharing the responsibility for material, marketing and hosting.
When you plan your talk, consider asking one or several of the following professionals to speak with you.
Alternative care is a hot topic for consumers, and many consumers think that it is simply a matter of choosing a different approach to health care. However, different CAM therapies have their own benefits for different conditions. For instance, acupuncture is proven in the literature to help reduce pain, which may be beneficial for a back pain patient with a high VAS score. Unless the condition is corrected—until proper joint motion is restored by a DC, for example—it can also be chronic. Taking this perspective will educate the audience on the finer distinctions among CAM providers and will cast a favorable light on each of the CAM professions.
Many times chiropractors focus not only on joints but on the musculature surrounding joints. Consider speaking with a massage therapist about a collaborative approach to tackling back pain. Perhaps you could also include a yoga instructor or a physical therapist who specializes in muscle rehab.
Allopathic physicians must also market their practices, especially in today’s health care environment. Asking them to speak with you about their approach to managing back pain is also helpful for fostering a professional relationship. Some MDs are concerned that if they refer patients to a chiropractor, they may lose their patients. Other providers are difficult to access—and not all allopathic practitioners understand the full benefits of chiropractic care.
Medical providers who have a relationship with a DC are more likely to refer patients because they understand the patient benefits that our care can offer, as well as the non-competitive nature of an integrated approach. MDs who present a health talk with a DC also develop a higher level of professional rapport. When we present to the provider’s patients, we can access patients who might not have tried our care.
Professional Sports Trainers and Instructors
Every town has well-known golf pros, fitness instructors or swim coaches. Invite them to speak at your talk on the proper mechanics of a golf swing or the proper execution of a backhand tennis swing. Not only will this help draw a larger audience, but the lecture will focus on prevention, a key message the chiropractic profession has always carried.
The fame of this professional also helps attract more people to attend your talk and targets those likely to suffer from musculoskeletal injuries associated with the sport. Often these pros will require a fee; however, if you also include an orthopedic surgeon or medical physician or massage therapist, you can help absorb this cost by sharing it with the other speakers.
Local businesses, both privately owned and larger chains, are always interested in promoting themselves within the community. A specialty shoe store with a focus on running would be one choice for a talk on proper running advice, proper footwear and the musculoskeletal complaints that frequently affect runners. Perhaps an ergonomic consulting firm with a workers’ compensation niche might fit well with your practice focus. Work with your local chamber of commerce to uncover the businesses that might have a common goal, and include them in your talks. It’s simply one more opportunity to offer the audience more information, making the event more appealing to a wider variety of your community members.
Find a Topic
There are many ways to present a health talk on chiropractic care while finding creative topics. For example, you can plan your talks in accordance with national health observances. Many of these can be linked to chiropractic care. For instance, the first week of June is Headache Awareness Week, giving you a chance to share the benefits of chiropractic care for certain types of headaches, in addition to presenting together with other providers who treat migraines, such as neurologists or biofeedback specialists.
Perhaps the most important national health observance month for DCs comes each October—as ACA, along with its members, celebrates National Chiropractic Health Month. This year, the theme is preventing and treating overweight and obesity. This is a phenomenal opportunity for chiropractors to build on the momentum and publicity the profession will receive as a result of ACA’s efforts.
Seize this opportunity to reach out to patients and help them understand the potential impact of excess weight on their bodies, as well as your role as a wellness expert who can help them prevent or treat obesity. The resources prepared by ACA make the outreach incredibly easy to implement. Go to www.acatoday.org/NCHM for more information on the handouts and slide presentations available through your ACA membership.
Market Your Talk
Another benefit of conducting integrated health talks is the ability to market the talk to more potential patients. Fliers can be placed in medical office waiting rooms for all doctors who are speaking, in addition to the offices of other physicians who allow you to advertise the event. Also consider local community papers, which often provide free advertising in the community section for free local talks. Make sure to allow time for the paper to place information about your talk so that it runs at least one or two weeks prior to your event.
Host Your Talk
Finding a place to hold your talk while keeping costs down is important. With collaboration comes a potentially larger audience. Seek out your public library or city hall conference rooms, which are usually already equipped with audiovisual equipment. If you are speaking with medical physicians or have a relationship with your local hospital, consider approaching them for promotional purposes and for use of their conference rooms.
In the past, planning a public talk was almost generic. The chiropractor would speak on back pain. Today, with the public craving more information and options, collaborative health talks take on a whole new spin. When you supply more information, you open the doors to a wider audience, frequently attracting patients who might not have considered chiropractic care for their condition. It also helps share the burden of planning, preparing and presenting an informative presentation.