By Maria DiDanieli
By Maria DiDanieli
The Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) is the profession’s national
association, whose mandate is to represent the national and
international interests of Canadian chiropractors.
The Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) is the profession’s national association, whose mandate is to represent the national and international interests of Canadian chiropractors. The CCA also supports provincial chiropractic associations to engage in advocacy, public education and research. Placing emphasis on excellence in patient-centred care where chiropractic expertise provides optimal health outcomes for Canadians is a priority that translates into practice growth and excellence for chiropractors across the country.
Providing leadership for the development of a national strategy to increase public awareness of chiropractic, integrate with the larger healthcare system, and increase utilization for its members is a primary CCA strategic objective. The goal is to offer a vision that consolidates advocacy, research, communications, marketing and identity to position chiropractors as the leaders in back and musculoskeletal health.
It’s one thing to believe in something so deeply that you want to share it with all Canadians; it’s something else altogether to find a way to do that. It requires a unified, concerted effort by leaders to establish and support effective and strategic direction in the most innovative and inclusive way possible. These are the challenges that the CCA is rising to under new leadership.
In recent months, the CCA has welcomed two new leaders to its roster. Alison Dantas joined the CCA in September of 2012 as its new chief executive officer and Dr. Jeff Warren was elected CCA chair in November 2012. Both leaders join Canadian Chiropractor to discuss their vision for their new roles, what they aim to contribute to the profession in Canada, and how to take the CCA’s previous hard work to new levels of excellence.
|Dr. Jeff Warren, chair of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, is particularly dedicated to supporting Canada’s chiropractic research agenda.
DR. JEFF WARREN: TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Dr. Jeff Warren draws from a rich history of leadership within the chiropractic profession. He graduated from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) in 1981 having previously completed a BSc at the University of Toronto in 1977. Early on, he focused on building his practice, having a family and becoming involved with the Southern Alberta Chiropractic Society. In time, he reached a point where he felt it was time to give back, so he joined the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors, becoming its president from 2005-2007. Eventually, Dr. Warren began to work on a more national level, becoming a member of the CMCC board (1993-1997), director of the Canadian Federation of Chiropractic Regulatory and Educational Accrediting Boards (2005-2006) and a board member with the CCA, where he progressed to his current position as chair.
When asked how his history of engagement within the profession provides direction for his current role, Dr. Warren notes, “At every stage of involvement with the profession, meeting with various decision-makers across Canada, I have learned that dialogue and relationship-building are key. Good relationships create momentum to move the profession forward.”
Dr. Warren is particularly dedicated to supporting Canada’s chiropractic research agenda. A lot of good work has already been done, and currently, there are chiropractic research chairs in nine out of the 10 provinces.
“The value of these chairs,” says Dr. Warren, “lies in fostering the profession’s integration into a collaborative model of health care, side by side with other partners in the system to provide optimal patient care.”
The chairs represent work done by chiropractors in capacities ranging from basic science research to clinical studies to epidemiology networks.
“We are amassing data in musculoskeletal health and chiropractic care across the country and internationally,” continues Dr. Warren. “In Canada, this includes the establishment of Dr. André Bussières, DC, PhD, who, as research chair at McGill University, will be focused on the formation of internationally-informed, evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.
“To ensure that the guidelines are usable in everyday practice by chiropractors and possibly other professions working in this area of health care, the guidelines will include a comprehensive knowledge transfer component.
Translating the research into practice protocols is essential for truly making the most of this work in research.
“The goal is for current research projects to yield clinically-based outcomes that can be put into practice,” says Dr. Warren. “Of course, we would also like to gain more support for this research: increased funding, endowment funds, etc. Finally, we would like to increase our international relationships with respect to the work being done in Canada. For example, Canada’s clinical practice guidelines for the management of headaches in adults were adopted by Norway in 2010 – we would like to see more of this collaboration on an international scale, and work is already underway at the CCA to facilitate this process.”
One of the CCA’s missions is to be a resource for provincial associations particularly with respect to government relations, advocacy and marketing the profession to the public. Dr. Warren strives for collaboration to explore new opportunities, to showcase each province’s strengths and bring those strengths forward to their governments and the public. He is looking forward to working with Ms. Dantas to build a clear strategy for developing CCA’s programs to the next level of excellence to create a stronger national presence for the profession in Canada and internationally.
New Governance Model
In order to meet these demands, Dr. Warren and the CCA developed a new governance model beginning in 2013.
The principle-based governance model endorsed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development focuses the board’s attention on strategic direction and accountability. The management of operations is delegated with clear authority to the chief executive officer and there are clear charters in place to govern reporting and behavior of all parties within the organization. This model will take the CCA to a new level of responsiveness and effectiveness including building a strategic plan to help guide the activities of the organization. “It is a move to a strategically-focused board,” explains Dr. Warren. “One that will be nimble and action-oriented to meet the challenges that we face in the profession. Within this framework, the Chair and the board work with the CEO to help move strategies forward.”
|Ms. Alison Dantas, CEO of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, is committed to building relationships and partnerships and to ensuring innovation and high performance.
ALISON DANTAS: FOCUSED ON POSITIVE CHANGE
Alison Dantas comes to the CCA with more than 20 years of experience working in the not-for-profit sector, building upon and increasing the capacity and strengths of organizations through strategic collaboration, the establishment of sound governance and strong stakeholder engagement. This approach helps to ensure optimal return on investment for its constituents and members. Within the healthcare association sector, specifically, she has worked provincially with the professions of midwifery and naturopathic doctors, focusing her attention on regulatory changes to improve scopes of practice, developing strong stakeholder awareness and engagement, responding to members’ needs for support and implementing innovative programming and organization development. She has worked tirelessly to build relationships and partnerships and to ensure innovation and high performance within the organizations she has served.
She states that her responsibility as CEO of the CCA is to help the profession meet its potential through the creation and strategic execution of innovative programs that promote clinical excellence and inter-professional collaboration, while optimally improving the public’s awareness of the profession. Working with the provincial associations, national and international chiropractic stakeholders and the federal government to improve the opportunities for chiropractors to be recognized as the cultural authority for musculoskeletal health is key to her role.
“My experience, and my commitment, is to work with people to get ideas on the table so that we can develop innovative solutions to address the needs of the profession.”
Ms. Dantas’ excitement for the developments currently underway at the CCA stems from her belief in the potential for chiropractors to be recognized as strong contributors to patient-centred care and the health of Canadians. She envisions chiropractors being a part of more collaborative, inter-professional healthcare models that strive to prevent chronic musculoskeletal health issues and restore the overall health and vitality of patients. Establishing strong research, policy development and clinical education and protocols, and initiating strong communications initiatives to raise awareness of the profession are cornerstones of the CCA’s vision moving forward.
Increased utilization of chiropractic is a primary goal for the CCA and it will take effort from all stakeholders in the profession to get there.
“Establishing strong tools for chiropractors to use locally, developing a far-reaching national social media strategy to engage the public in the conversation about the merits of back health and preventing acute conditions, and continuously improving clinical outcomes based on strong research and evidence – these are some of the ways the CCA will achieve increased utilization of chiropractic,” says Dantas. “We will continue to examine demographics, utilization, income, etc., of chiropractors across the country and report these so that individual DCs can compare their own progress against the national averages. From here, DCs can see where they need to grow and improve.”
Ms. Dantas emphasizes team-based inter-professional care as an important development in health care across the country.
“The CCA’s role in this,” she notes, “is to ensure that DCs are recognized as part of that team, especially in the area of musculoskeletal health. A model of this can be seen at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto where seamless team-based care that includes chiropractic is available to patients.”
In the area of research, Ms. Dantas, like Dr. Warren, is committed to continuing to work with research chairs in each province and to building an even stronger research program across the country. Strengthening the Canadian Chiropractic Research Foundation by assisting with the development of fundraising campaigns; establishing a strong endowment for qualified chiropractors across the country to access research funds; and facilitating international research initiatives in musculoskeletal health is very important for the profession.
With respect to healthcare policy and government relations, the CCA is building its capacity to deliver a well-coordinated government relations strategy, including building consensus around the key messages to deliver to all levels of government about the potential and efficacy of chiropractors and chiropractic care. The CCA is in a position to be the resource for its provincial partners on health policy. There are plans to build an easily accessible health policy and research resource library that will include key documents to assist the profession in promoting the role of chiropractors as central to the healthcare system and the health of Canadians.
HOW CAN DCs SUPPORT THE CCA?
Dantas feels that chiropractors are trained to be leaders and have real capacity to engage in change. She notes that many chiropractors are involved in key initiatives at all levels – provincially, nationally and internationally – in the areas of inter-professional relations, regulation, education, research, and patient-centred care. The CCA is currently rebuilding its infrastructure to improve opportunities for more chiropractors to be involved in national initiatives. She calls upon all chiropractors to support the CCA’s efforts, to stay informed about the national initiatives currently underway, and to get involved as opportunities arise.
“We need more involvement,” she says, “particularly when new strategies are being executed, our members are our best advocates. This is especially so for social media and awareness campaigns – the more the DC is engaged, the greater chance that these strategies will succeed!
“I am looking forward to our strategic planning process that will take place at the end of January – my job, as CEO, will be to ask strategic questions and to direct resources toward the success of any established plans as they unfold in the coming years.” Once this is complete, Ms. Dantas shares, the CCA will have clear opportunities for chiropractors to be involved in planning and developing key initiatives to achieve the vision of the CCA and thereby the profession.
Dr. Warren adds, “Individual chiropractors are at the heart of the profession and the CCA. Don’t be happy with status quo – this just means you’re standing still. Get involved locally and nationally in whichever way you can.”
Ms. Dantas and Dr. Warren are committed to working through the CCA to ensure that chiropractors in Canada succeed in becoming key players in health care, providing optimal and accessible chiropractic care to all Canadians.
As Dr. Warren notes, “The CCA is a national body with a national perspective. We can try to unify this perspective in a way that encompasses everybody and helps us all to see the big picture. We can help the provinces more, assisting them to move forward with their strategies. And we can support our members, helping them to see more outcomes from the association and increased utilization. This is good for the profession and will also benefit the health of all Canadians.”
“We have to get the message to every Canadian that they should have a chiropractor on their health team,” adds Ms. Dantas. “Creating a high-performance national association with a well-resourced policy, marketing and communications program will be essential to achieving this. I am very excited about the future of chiropractic in Canada and around the world as I learn more about the incredible work that has been done and is underway now and into the future to address the needs of patients with back health issues.”
Ms. Dantas concludes, “The CCA will continue to be a leader on behalf of Canadian chiropractors both nationally and internationally.”
For more information about the CCA or how you can support your national association, visit www.chiropracticcanada.ca .