Palmer co-recipient of
$7.4 million research grant
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR) has conducted
collaborative research projects with other colleges and healthcare
institutions since its inception. But in the past few years, the
PCCR has been increasingly involved in research projects working
alongside scientists from many different health professions.
In February 2011, scientists at the PCCR, the RAND Corporation
and the Samueli Institute were awarded a landmark $7.4 million
grant by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.
The grant will fund a four-year research project to assess chiropractic
treatment for military readiness in active duty personnel.
This is the largest single award for a chiropractic research project
in the history of the profession, and will be used to conduct the
largest clinical trial evaluating chiropractic to date.
Ian Coulter, Ph.D., the Samueli Institute Chair in Policy for
Integrative Medicine at RAND Corporation, is the research
project’s principal investigator. Co-principal investigator and
Palmer College of Chiropractic’s Vice Chancellor for Research
and Health Policy Christine Goertz, D.C., Ph.D., will oversee
the design and implementation of the three clinical trials funded
by this award. The PCCR will receive approximately $5.1
million in order to accomplish this task. Samueli Institute
Vice President for Military Medical Research Joan Walter, J.D.,
also is a co-principal investigator for this project.
Palmer Board of Trustees member William Morgan, D.C.,
West ’85, who is a chiropractor on staff at Bethesda’s National
Naval Medical Center, provided guidance during the grant
application process. He served as a subject matter expert in
the delivery of chiropractic care in the military, and was instrumental
in providing information on patient demographics and
conditions treated in the military, as well as identifying optimal
military chiropractic sites and military units.
“If this study confirms what other high-quality studies have found,
it will be a boon for chiropractors everywhere,” Dr. Morgan says.
“It paves the way for chiropractic inclusion in algorithms of care,
and a justification for the expansion and further inclusion of the
chiropractic benefit will take place. This study has the potential to
be very significant and its results may very well impact our profession
for many years to come.”
Because musculoskeletal injuries are among the most commonly
occurring injuries in military personnel, and can reduce levels
of performance and military readiness, the study will assess
the efficacy of chiropractic treatment for active duty military
personnel in a number of areas.
Through three clinical trials, this comprehensive project will
assess the efficacy of chiropractic treatment: in relieving low back
pain and improving function in active duty service members;
evaluate the effects of chiropractic treatment on reflexes and
reaction times for Special Operations forces; determine the
effect of chiropractic treatment on strength, balance and injury
prevention for members of the Armed Forces with combat
specialties; and assess the impact of a chiropractic intervention
on smoking cessation in military service members.
Currently there are 24 Army bases, 17 Navy bases and 20 Air
Force bases with chiropractors on site.
Group effort: Addressing
collaborative care for
low back pain patients over 65
COCOA participants will receive medical care or combined
medical and chiropractic care over a 12-week period. Here,
PCCR Clinician Paige Morgenthal, D.C., palpates a patient.
After receiving a three-year, $1.3 million grant from the
U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration in
September 2009, the PCCR began collaboration with
researchers at the Genesis Quad Cities Family Medicine Residency
Program, the College of Public Health at the University of
Iowa, and the College of Health Professions at Thomas Jefferson
University, Philadelphia, Pa., to study co-management by M.D.s
and D.C.s of adults over the age of 65 with low back pain. The
project is named Collaborative Care for Older Adults with Back
Pain or COCOA. Patient recruitment in the Quad Cities began
in March 2011.
“Currently, there are few examples and little scientific
study of care coordination between medical doctors and
doctors of chiropractic for low back pain, and nothing
that specifically targets adults over the age of 65,” says
Christine Goertz, D.C., Ph.D., Palmer’s vice chancellor for
research and health policy and principal investigator of
the study. “This study will begin to address this critical
gap in the literature.”
Study to observe effects of
chiropractic on the underserved
The third of PCCR’s integrative research projects is taking place
in the Quad Cities area (QCA), through a unique partnership
between Palmer researchers and staff at the Davenport-based
Community Health Care, Inc. Known as “Back-to-Health in the
QCA,” the joint project will study the effectiveness of chiropractic
care in medically underserved populations.
In September 2010, the PCCR received a grant from
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
that is being used to fund a research-focused initiative
to place a chiropractor into the Davenport-based
Community Health Care, Inc., system of clinics. The
grant is funding a research program to study the effects
of chiropractic care on low-income and underserved
populations in this type of clinic system. Beginning
in February 2011, a chiropractor began providing care
to patients at Community Health Care’s downtown
Davenport clinic, in collaboration with M.D.s, nurse
practitioners and others.
The main goal of “Back-to-Health in the QCA” is to
form a multidisciplinary spine care team made up
of doctors of chiropractic, medical doctors, nurse
practitioners, and other healthcare providers. They
will focus on providing the best possible care for
patients with musculoskeletal conditions such as
back and neck pain.
“Palmer is committed to best practices in patient care
as well as integration with other healthcare providers,”
says Maria Hondras, D.C., M.P.H., a PCCR faculty
member and principal investigator for the study.
“This joint venture provides the exciting opportunity
to establish a much-needed community college partnership
between Community Health Care and Palmer.”