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Teaching Evidence-Based Chiropractic in Malaysia

05 Oct 2017

No matter how constant and intense challenges in healthcare are, the welfare of the patient and professional integrity are always paramount. In Malaysia, another segment of the healthcare team has become dedicated to this attitude – Chiropractic. Earlier this year, the Chiropractic programme at the International Medical University (IMU) joined an elite group of other Universities that have publicly declared their commitment to advancing the education and training of evidence-based chiropractors. The International Chiropractic Educational Collaboration is comprised of 10 universities from around the world dedicated to providing the highest quality education embracing a biopsychosocial model of healthcare and a curriculum that is responsive to changing patient, societal and community needs. These universities offering chiropractic programmes are leading the way in producing graduates that are prepared with the background, skills and competencies to work in integrated healthcare environments. Research has shown that healthcare systems that have integrated the skills and cooperation of different healthcare professions offers care that is more safe, complete and satisfying for patients. Countries where chiropractors are already working collaboratively with medical doctors and other healthcare professions are also showing cost savings for the patients as well as for government funded health systems. IMU, the first and only University to offer a chiropractic programme in Malaysia and all of Southeast Asia is part of this collaboration. Other universities in this collaboration are found in Australia, South Africa, the UK and European countries where the chiropractic profession is growing and prospering. This collaboration is a step in the right direction for building bridges between medical practitioners and chiropractors. This divide still continues from the past when chiropractic began as a vitalistic, traditional practice in America. A lack of understanding and knowledge of evolution of the chiropractic profession over that last 120 years and old stereotypes have created barriers to interprofessional collaboration in some many other countries. In Malaysia where chiropractic is still a growing healthcare profession, this divide between the medical profession and chiropractors is prominent. Unfortunately, recent surveys have shown that although there are medical doctors (including some orthopedic surgeons) that have working relationships and respect for chiropractors, the majority have little current knowledge of IMU’s evidence-based programme. Unfortunately, the most important person – the patient, whose needs should be placed first, may be benefiting from a collaborative approach. The Malaysian population itself has high rates of back pain, neck pain and headaches for which research has shown chiropractic care can be very effective. In fact, worldwide guidelines for the treatment of these conditions includes spinal manipulation which is the chiropractor’s expertise. At IMU, the 4-year Bachelor of Science (Hons) Chiropractic programme has been awarded full accreditation by the prestigious Council on Chiropractic Education, Australasia (CCEA). Students have the option to complete the entire degree at IMU or  transfer to one of its partner universities for completion of the degree. Chiropractic students are guided through the curriculum with a combination of lectures, discussions and practical sessions. During semesters seven and eight, chiropractic interns provide care to patients under the direct supervision of clinical supervisors. Four cohorts have successfully graduated with this degree and are currently practicing chiropractic in chiropractic clinics in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Australia.

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