CRC Trustee, Jacqui Rix, with CRC founding Trustee and WFC Secretary General, Richard Brown

We were delighted to have our poster accepted for presentation at the WFC’s Biennial Congress, EPIC 2019, held in Berlin in conjunction with the ECU.

CRC Trustee, Jacqui Rix was able to present our poster, which summarised our activities and initiatives that are helping to build UK chiropractic research capacity.

Here Jacqui, CRC Trustee, chiropractor, academic and researcher, summarises her thoughts on the EPIC event:

“The Cambridge English Dictionary (dictionary.cambridge.org) defines the informal use of the word EPIC as “extremely good” or “extremely large”. The Urban Dictionary (urban dictionary.com) indicates the word EPIC has been decreasing in use since 2012 as it becomes less fashionable. Well, definitely not in the world of Chiropractic!

The theme of the joint WFC/ ECU Conference (2019) in Berlin was EPIC. This term became something of a well-used, trendy term in the chiropractic world in the last year. “Be EPIC”, “we’re EPIC” and even #EPIC began to appear on Facebook and Instagram posts in the last year. It was a declaration, a line in the sand, and in some instances, even a controversial battle cry: “Be evidence-based, be patient-centred, be inter-professional and be collaborative!” Not just one of these on occasion, but all of them together. I felt inspired and enthusiastic before I even landed in Berlin.

The conference was opened by Dr Laurie Tassell, President of the WFC; Dr Vasileios Gkolfinopoulos, President of the ECU and Dr Timo Kaschel, President of the German Chiropractic Association. Day one highlighted evidence -based care and patient-centred care and what this means in practice, with a great talk by Jeremy Howick on the importance of empathy with patients. Day two highlighted the importance of inter-professional collaboration, with a particularly enlightening talk by Joy Doll regarding working in multidisciplinary teams. Day three highlighted collaborating with purpose, with an energetic and enthusiastic talk by Greg Kawchuk.

While the conference was a lot of fun and very inspirational, it did send me home with food for thought and three take home messages. Firstly, I got the distinct impression that the time for ‘naval gazing’ inward at the profession has come to an end. I felt truly happy walking away from the conference that we have begun to look outwards at our place in musculoskeletal and spinal care. This is a really positive and exciting time for evidence-informed chiropractors to step out and claim their place in musculoskeletal health care.

Secondly, the importance of research in our profession. It is difficult to have evidence-based care without evidence. This was the first conference I have been to in a while where I felt that the presence of research was everywhere and really felt. Every day there were researchers presenting the latest findings to delegates. Everyday there were new posters being put up presenting research. As a researcher, I was in my element, I confess that I loved it. We are building the blocks of our profession. This is why I am particularly proud to have represented the Chiropractic Research Council (CRC) at this event. The CRC are building research capacity in the UK from student level to clinician level. We are funding students to present their research at conferences such as EPIC 2019 in Berlin, thus allowing them to rub shoulders with the research Rock Stars of our profession from an early age. We are developing newly graduated students with a three month internship to develop them as researchers and nurture that research bug within them. We are developing clinicians and health care professionals with collaborations and PhD funding to ensure that research in chiropractic is being generated in the UK. This is an excellent initiative and registered charity in the UK.

Thirdly, research is underfunded. Henrik Wulff Christensen from NIKKB presented how all chiropractors in Denmark contribute to research. Equally, I cannot thank the BCA enough for their contribution to the CRC. But in general at the conference, researchers across the globe were talking about one thing, the dirty word of funding. Unfortunately, a lack of funding for research could hinder being EPIC.

Moving forward, I urge you to think about how you can contribute to being evidence-based. You may decide to continue reading Chiropractic and Manual Therapies and use the evidence to support your treatment decisions; you may be a closet researcher who wishes to break free; or you may want to donate more of your hard earned money towards research. I challenge you to decide if you are PIC or EPIC. If you choose EPIC, welcome to the family!”