|White House Commission Final
In March of 2000 the White House issued Executive Order
No. 13147 which initiated the White House Commission on
Complementary and Alternative Medicine ("CAM"). The
commission was designed to, for the first time, look
into non-medical health care. The commission called all
such care Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
even though most all the forms of health care included
in this category were not alternatives and certainly not
medicine in any form. Chiropractic was one of the CAM
healthcare delivery systems included in the report.
Chiropractic represents the largest of the professions
that fit into the CAM category and the only profession
in the group whose practitioners are doctors who are
licensed in all 50 states.
In March of 2002 this Commission released its final
report. The Executive Summary of the report, published
on their web site at
contained 10 recommendations to be included into the
final report. These ten speak to very important and
fundamental issues in health care. They are listed
1. A wholeness orientation in health care delivery.
Health involves all aspects of life-mind, body, spirit,
and environment-and high-quality health care must
support care of the whole person.
2. Evidence of safety and efficacy. The Commission is
committed to promoting the use of science and
appropriate scientific methods to help identify safe and
effective CAM services and products and to generate
evidence that will protect and promote the public
3. The healing capacity of the person. People have a
remarkable capacity for recovery and self-healing, and a
major focus of health care is to support and promote
4. Respect for individuality. Each person is unique and
has the right to health care that is appropriately
responsive to him or her, respecting preferences and
5. The right to choose treatment. Each person has the
right to choose freely among safe and effective care or
approaches, as well as among qualified practitioners who
are accountable for their claims and actions and
responsive to the person's needs.
6. An emphasis on health promotion and self-care. Good
health care emphasizes self-care and early intervention
for maintaining and promoting health.
7. Partnerships as essential to integrated health care.
Good health care requires teamwork among patients,
health care practitioners (conventional and CAM), and
researchers committed to creating optimal healing
environments and to respecting the diversity of all
health care traditions.
8. Education as a fundamental health care service.
Education about prevention, healthy lifestyles, and the
power of self-healing should be made an integral part of
the curricula of all health care professionals and
should be made available to the public of all ages.
9. Dissemination of comprehensive and timely
information. The quality of health care can be enhanced
by promoting efforts that thoroughly and thoughtfully
examine the evidence on which CAM systems, practices,
and products are based and make this evidence widely,
rapidly, and easily available.
10. Integral public involvement. The input of informed
consumers and other members of the public must be
incorporated in setting priorities for health care and
health care research and in reaching policy decisions,
including those related to CAM, within the public and
From a chiropractic standpoint, it is good to see these
ten points being brought forth in such a public
document. Many of these statements by the Commission
regarding wholeness, healing, wellness, and the right of
the individual to choose their form of health care have
been part of chiropractic practices for decades.
The commission recognized the ever-growing role that
non-medical care is having on the population in the
United States. In concluding they made the following
statement, "The Commission recommends that the
President, Secretary of Health and Human Services, or
Congress create an office to coordinate Federal CAM
activities and to facilitate the integration of safe and
effective practices and products into the nation's
health care system."