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Elevating chiropractic within the Veterans Health Administration

Dr. Michael Pavalock in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Herman Farrer Photography)
Dr. Pavalock with urban background

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 together?’”

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