Sherman Student Awarded Research Fellowship from Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation & ChiroFutures Malpractice Program

Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation
Sherman Student Awarded Research Fellowship from Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation & ChiroFutures Malpractice Program

Fellowship to Focus on Epidemiology & Salutogenesis Related to Subluxation 

Kathleen Costello MS, a student at Sherman College of Chiropractic in Spartanburg SC, was recently awarded a research Fellowship from the Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation (FVS). The funding for the Fellowship is being provided by the ChiroFutures Malpractice Insurance Program.   

The research Fellowship focuses on two crucial areas related to vertebral subluxation including: vertebral subluxation epidemiology and the objective assessment of subluxation in a salutogenic model.  

All too often, chiropractic is criticized as an “unscientific” discipline, lacking empirical research to validate the assertion that vertebral subluxations have an adverse effect on the human nervous system, on general health and well-being and by extension, society as a whole. 

According to Christopher Kent DC, JD President of the Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation and Professor and Director of Evidence Based Curriculum & Practice at Sherman College of Chiropractic “The systematic study of the epidemiology and global burden of vertebral subluxation should be carried out with a worldview towards chiropractic that is consistent with the theory that subluxations pose a hindrance to the fullest expression of life. The results of this type of research can then be used to drive policy, not only in health care, but in education and other sociocultural arenas.”       

“It is a well-entrenched belief within the community of chiropractors who practice the clinical science and art of locating analyzing and correcting vertebral subluxations that vertebral subluxations are in and of themselves a detriment to the fullest expression of life and as a result are a significant public health threat” stated Matthew McCoy DC, MPH Vice President of the Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation.   

This threat includes the widespread belief among certain segments of the chiropractic profession that vertebral subluxations lead to increased morbidity and mortality and that it represents a serious burden because it effects a large proportion of the world’s population. Indeed, some go so far to suggest that everyone is susceptible beginning at an early age. Additionally, it is a long standing philosophical tenet of the profession that vertebral subluxations develop as a failure of the body to adapt to physical, chemical and emotional challenges. 

The FVS has laid out a research agenda that includes exploring the incidence and prevalence of vertebral subluxation as well as addressing objective, valid and reliable assessments related to subluxation itself and the outcomes flowing from its management.

“The pathogenic model of disease and its treatment is the dominant paradigm in health care and that includes chiropractic” stated McCoy.  “The alternative model is salutogenesis which focuses on health rather than disease, The challenge is building assessment models that are based on evidence and this is one of the areas where Kathleen will be focusing her efforts” added McCoy. 

Ms. Costello joins two other recent awards granted by the Foundation. Christie Kwon DC, MS was recently awarded an Advancing Futures Research Scholarship by the FVS to complete her Master’s in Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia where she will be focusing on Advanced Imaging and vertebral subluxation. 

The Foundation also recently awarded an academic scholarship to Simon Senzon MA, DC, a prolific historical researcher on the chiropractic profession, to complete a Ph.D at Southern Cross University in Australia. The focus of his scholarship and dissertation will be correcting the errors in the literature regarding vertebral subluxation placed by numerous “subluxation deniers” who have peppered the scientific and historical literature with unreferenced and unsupported statements regarding the nature and historical issues surrounding vertebral subluxation.

With over 100 projects either completed or in the works, the FVS has been hard at work addressing research on the vertebral subluxation along with policy and education issues affecting the profession. In addition to actually conducting research the FVS also supports a team of researchers through its scholarship program with ten Fellowships having been granted with the addition of Costello. The FVS, through its Advancing Futures program, seeks to provide scholarships to individuals who assist in carrying out the Research Agenda of the organization. 

Advancing Futures is our best hope at accomplishing a collaborative, organized movement to research subluxation. The FVS' research agenda seeks to validate the profession and position chiropractic as a vitalistic, scientific, evidence informed clinical practice. The more research, the greater the chance the profession will have of gaining a higher degree of respect, understanding and acceptance in the health care marketplace, the scientific community and among the patients it serves. It is imperative to make these new research advancements available to the public, other health professions, and to legislators in order to promote and to systematically advance the field of subluxation centered chiropractic through the initiation of favorable public health policy. 

We are at a crossroads in chiropractic. A time where we may lose our identity or forge forward with chiropractic leading the new paradigm of health and well-being. As practitioners, we see the evidence of chiropractic adjustments every day in our practices. To us, it is undeniable. But in terms of substantiating ourselves with the value and recognition we deserve, we are in dire need of this Research Agenda to gain our rightful position: leaders in the location, analysis and correction of vertebral subluxation. 

There are so many things one could focus on. The question is what should the focus be? The FVS believes the focus should be on the role of vertebral subluxation and the result of its correction/reduction on health. Through basic and clinical science research, advocating for favorable policy, revising educational standards and service the FVS seeks to place vertebral subluxation at the forefront.   

For more information about the Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation and its Research Agenda contact us:

Christie Kwon DC, MS
Executive Director
Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation

Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation