January 2, 2019 -- Steven Clarke, DC (January 1983) can talk about strength in numbers.
He is one of more than 2,000 members of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), one of the largest and most active chiropractic state associations in the country.
With a unified vision and voice for chiropractic advocacy, the ANJC has made significant strides for chiropractic patients and the profession, working to change outdated and unfair legislation, taking on biases and injustices from health insurance companies, and educating individuals on a drug-free approach to health care.
“Everyone understands that if we all work together, we can get big things done,” Dr. Clarke said. “But the first step is getting involved.”
Dr. Clarke admits that when he joined the state association after graduating from Logan, he knew little about the inner workings of the profession. Eager and willing to get involved, he joined the legislative committee, soaking up knowledge from veteran members and learning step by step how to get involved and make an impact for the profession. Eventually he became President of ANJC, and with a dynamic group of board members, started to attain successful outcomes that they had never seen before.
Over the past fifteen years, he and other leaders within the organization have chipped away at health care barriers and antiquated laws, working tirelessly to ensure improved access to chiropractic care in New Jersey.
And their work continues today.
Dr. Clarke, along with the ANJC Board of Directors as well as an active organization membership, has dedicated extensive time and efforts to promoting anti-discrimination bills, the first Licensed Chiropractic Assistant (LCA) license and a number of other initiatives. Just recently, they drafted and are working to introduce opioid legislation that will move patients away from the drug model to more conservative approaches.
“We are educating policymakers and patients on the importance and value of chiropractic as part of the solution to the opioid epidemic,” he said. “Many MDs are in support of our initiatives, but we all have to work together. We have to take a multi-prong approach to educate, to get stories out there and to market them appropriately,” continued Clarke. “We were never part of the drug problem, but we can be a big part of the solution.”
Dr. Clarke said by getting involved, everyone can have a small part in making a large impact. “The younger chiropractors absolutely need to get involved,” he said. “Just like athletes, as the older players retire, the younger ones come up. You have to be involved, and the more involved you are, the more successful we can be as chiropractors and as a profession.”
The ANJC Board with Dr. Clarke (seated, far right) and Dr. Michael Kirk (2000), former ANJC President (standing, second from right).