Dr. Michael Pavalock in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Herman Farrer Photography)
Improving the chiropractic profession’s level of
influence in the health-care arena goes beyond the
single provider, according to Michael Pavalock,
D.C., M.P.A., Davenport ’02. “Health care today is
in need of solutions, and I contend the chiropractic
profession has solutions,” he says.
Dr. Pavalock would know. He’s breaking new
ground as the first chiropractor to hold the position
of associate chief of staff in the Veterans Health
Administration (VHA). Serving in the VHA Office
of Congressional and Legislative Affairs, Dr.
Pavalock influences our nation’s health-care planning
and implementation at high levels.
Dr. Pavalock says he earns the trust of other health
professionals by holding himself to very high
professional and ethical standards. And he communicates
effectively about the unique value that
chiropractic can add to a health-care system.
“Orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons want patients
they can help with the tools they use. Similarly,
I don’t want patients with sequestered discs,
collapsed vertebrae and spinal cord lesions. If a primary-
care provider suspects a non-emergent spinal
issue, it’s wise to send that patient to a chiropractor.
“The beauty of chiropractors is our ability to perform
the very best, most comprehensive neuromusculoskeletal
examination. Our unique skills and
decision-making abilities set chiropractors apart.
Spinal adjustments take it to an even higher level of
distinction and value.”
In Dr. Pavalock’s experience, communicating the
unique value of chiropractic has built relationships,
lowered barriers and opened communications. He
thrills in those moments when the understanding
of other health-care professionals shifts.
“When they see chiropractic care as a solution and
chiropractors as experts in spinal health, the question
always becomes, ‘Why haven’t we been working