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Title: Sherman College of Chiropractic President, Dr. Jon Schwartzbauer
Host: Dr. Thomas Lamar
Show Date: 12/03/2010
Run Time: 27:05
Description: Join Dr. Lamar as he sits down with Sherman Chiropractic College president, Dr. Jon Schwartzbauer to ask some tough questions and to gain some insight, from the perspective of an educational leader, on what lies ahead on the health care horizon. Recorded at the Fall 2010 New Beginnings Chiropractic Weekend.
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ON LOCATION in New Jersey
An Interview with Sherman College of Chiropractic president, Jon Schwartzbauer, DC
New Beginnings Chiropractic Weekends
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Check out the New Beginnings Interview Archives! (plus see who’s still the cue for release)
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Visit our iTunes listing and leave us a review!
Does your podcast listening schedule need a little backbone? If so, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your podcast chiropractor, Dr. Thomas Lamar.
[Dr. Arno Burnier: I’m Dr. Arno Burnier — chiropractor, founder of MLS adjusting seminar and Café of Life — and right now we’re on SpinalColumnRadio.com].
Spinal Column Radio, episode number 33
Coming up next on Spinal Column Radio, An Interview with Sherman College of Chiropractic President, Dr. Jon Schwartzbauer.
[Dr. Jon Schwartzbauer: … always at the core is locating, analyzing, and correcting vertebral subluxations. And that focus, permeates throughout the institution, and it’s our core curriculum.]
[intro theme music]
And welcome back to another exciting and information packed episode of Spinal Column Radio. My name is Dr. Thomas Lamar, chiropractor and Dad of 6. And this is the podcast that gets you to think. To think about your health in a whole new way. We’re the podcast for your backbone… the podcast with backbone. Who knew that spinal education could be this much fun?
We’d like to invite you to visit our podcast website at SpinalColumnRadio.com where you can learn more about us, check out our world-renowned “What’s a Podcast?” page, and can access the show notes for this episode. Also, we encourage you to leave comments and ask questions through our website, or, if you prefer, you can email me using DrLamar AT SpinalColumnRadio DOT com.
[transitional sound effect]
So there we were at the pinnacle event of the 20th Anniversary New Beginnings Chiropractic Weekend on the New Jersey Coast: the evening bonfire on the beach. The skies were clear, the waves of the Atlantic Ocean were crashing on the sand…. and huddled around a roaring blaze were 150-plus chiropractors. One of which… wrapped in a blanket on that crisp October eve was Sherman College of Chiropractic President, Dr. Jon Schwartzbauer — the last person on my list that I just did not want to leave New Jersey without interviewing. But… it looked like it wasn’t going to happen. So… I was hopeful that I could at least land a telephone interview with the good doctor. Because, you see folks, with all the health care turbulence that we are currently in and that which looms on the horizon… I wanted to gain the perspective of one who leads and charts the course of a chiropractic college. Because our chiropractic college presidents are able to view our profession, and health care in general, from a unique vantage point.
And so after trading apologies for our schedules conflicting all weekend for his interview…. he asked me if our studio was still set up. And, actually, even though our flight was just hours away… it still was. So upon hearing that… he said, “Can we do it now?” And so dressed in his casual duds with blanket in tow, he followed me back into our “On Location Studio” at the Ocean Place Resort and Spa for what amounted to not only be a great interview, but great conversation off-mic. Dr. Jon Schwartzbauer, a chiropractic leader who clearly embodies the concept of “Service Above Self.”
[transitional sound effect]
Well, today on Spinal Column Radio, as we continue podcasting on location at the New Beginning Chiropractic Weekends 20th Anniversary gathering…
I have the distinct pleasure and honor of speaking with a chiropractic college president.
Since 2007, Dr. Jon Schwartzbauer has manned the helm of Sherman Chiropractic College in Spartanburg, SC. As their 4th president since the school’s founding in 1973, Dr. Schwartzbauer has brought to the school a breadth of academic leadership and administrative experience, as well as a passionate commitment to vertebral subluxation-centered chiropractic.
When he’s not busy leading the Sherman College, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters and watching baseball. And I might add I’m delighted to find out that he’s a fellow Rotarian.
Dr. Lamar: Dr. Schwartzbauer, welcome to Spinal Column Radio.
Dr. Schwartzbauer: Thank you Tom. I appreciate it.
Dr. L: Well, I want to thank you for taking time out this evening to talk with us. I pulled you away from the New Beginnings’ bonfire and … although you did look a little cold out there…
Dr. S: It is a little chilly. That wind is starting to blow and I couldn’t get close enough to the bonfire with all the people here this weekend.
Dr. L: That’s true. There is a lot of people out there! It is pretty… pretty amazing actually.
Dr. S: It is.
Dr. L: Well, you have a very interesting story. You graduated from Sherman Chiropractic College in 1997, and then just 10 short years later you are sitting in the captain’s chair running it. How does that happen?
Dr. S: You know, I’m still trying to figure that one out myself and probably so are a bunch of other folks… you know, Sherman is a small family, small group and small college. We’re tight knit. We wear a lot of hats and everybody does. So, from staff members to faculty members to administrators, you know you just sort of pitch in wherever you need to help. And from the time I started as a faculty member I certainly did that. And I think through participating and volunteering, being on certain committees… you know, doing those kinds of things you know just sort of gave me a feel of what it was like to take on more administrative type roles and I enjoyed it. And so certain, opportunities present themselves and you know and I can’t remember probably 2006…
Dr. L: Right.
Dr. S: … the opening became available and I went for the presidency.
Dr. L: And as I understand it… It wasn’t like, you know, “Oh! Jon will do it!” It was… they did look at other candidates correct?
Dr. S: Yeah. You know, I’m not sure how many folks. I think, maybe 8 or 9 applicants for the presidency.
Dr. L: So, it wasn’t like you drew the short straw in the Sherman family.
Dr. S: Right. You know, I think there were some individuals going for the position from Sherman College but we had some outside individuals as well going for the position. So you know, I guess not a huge number of applicants going for the job, right? I mean it’s a unique…
Dr. L: Oh sure!
Dr. S: It’s a unique position.
Dr. L: It’s pretty niche actually.
Dr. S: Right.
Dr. L: Even niche within the chiropractic profession.
Dr. S: Exactly.
Dr. L: We will kind of talk about that in a minute.
Dr. S: Exactly.
Dr. L: Well, how has the fact that you are a relatively recent graduate of the same school that you are now leading… how has that fact been an asset to the college?
Dr. S: Yeah, I think that’s important. I think, you know, to understand the culture of an institution, to have gone through the institution as a student, you know, you can’t replace that experience. And so, you know, I knew everything about Sherman, how it functioned, how it worked, the people, the history and so… I can’t imagine coming in from the outside and having to try to learn that and then sell that to, you know, to the community.
Dr. L: And I would think too that you would being a relatively recent graduate would have maybe a closer knit relationship with the student body because they would relate to you better.
Dr. S: You know, I think so. I mean, you know, I can’t say for certain. You’d have to ask the students that but, you know, it seems like you know through a lot of the events that we put on like you know “Lunch With The President”. You know, where I bring a group of students in and we do this on a regular basis and they get a chance to chat with me. I take groups of students out to dinner. You know, they enjoy being able to do that and to share their experience with me. So, I think they feel comfortable enough knowing that, you know it hasn’t been too long since I’ve been through the program and you know…
Dr. L: Right, so you weren’t telling the stories like, “When I was in school we had to hike through, you know, 10 inches of snow and you know backwards…
Dr. S: Uphill both ways…
Dr. L: … Yeah and Coke was a nickel.”
Dr. S: Yeah, exactly! Exactly. Yeah they see me as, I think, maybe a little bit more real that way.
Dr. L: Yeah. I could see that. There are 31 chiropractic colleges around the world. 18 of which are here in the United States. What sets Sherman apart?
Dr. S: Well, I think it’s our focus… our focus on chiropractic. You know the original intent of chiropractic was to remove subluxations, to analyze the spine realizing that if there is any interference with the nervous system by one of the bones of the spine being out of place that we correct that. And, you know, Sherman hasn’t drifted from that. You know, we have to change things in our curriculum from time to time to, you know, adopt to standards with our accrediting agencies but always at the core is locating, analyzing, and correcting vertebral subluxations. And that focus permeates throughout the institution and it’s our core curriculum.
Dr. L: You know, the word “subluxation”… I won’t point fingers at any schools but at the school I went to it is a bad word.
Dr. S: Yeah, you know I realize that. I realize that, you know, there’s many schools of thought as it relates to that word and every school probably has their definition if they even want to approach the topic.
Dr. L: You know, well there is a bunch of names for it.
Dr. S: Yeah! Yeah, you know and so to me… you know, that’s what D.D. Palmer called that phenomenon, right?
Dr. L: Right.
Dr. S: … that issue and so that’s good enough for me. I realize that there is maybe some other institutions that want to call it something else. You know, why?
Dr. L: How about… I remember there was like a list, and it’s so long it’s almost embarrassing, of different ways that it has been described. Joe Keating, the late chiropractic historian, his… my favorite one came from him, “spinal boo boo”.
Dr. S: Right… yeah. See, you know you don’t see other… like the dental profession. They are not, you know, cavity right?
Dr. L: Cavity, yeah.
Dr. S: It’s still cavity.
Dr. L: Dental carrie.
Dr. S: They’re not sitting around at some conventions saying…
Dr. L: Absolutely.
Dr. S: “Hmmm. Let’s rename the cavity.” Right? I mean…
Dr. L: Let’s shift gears. In my research for our talk today, you know I was very impressed with how your college has embraced Social Media. Can you tell us more about that and how is it working for you guys?
Dr. S: Yeah, I think you know we were one of the first colleges to jump on the Facebook bandwagon, yeah.
Dr. L: Right! I notice you have Facebook. You have student bloggers.
Dr. S: Yes.
Dr. L: That’s amazing!
Dr. S: Twitter… I mean we really have engaged in all of that.
Dr. L: I’m just thinking as a prospective student of a chiropractic college, being able to follow maybe one or two of your bloggers and just getting an inside scoop of what it’s like. That is… that’s very powerful!
Dr. S: It is and we have a lot of great feedback from prospective students saying, “You know what? We loved your website. We loved going there to get a fresh…
Dr. L: It’s amazing, I mean I… you can get lost on your website.
Dr. S: Yeah! You know… and kudos to our P.R. Department. I mean, they are the ones that really saw where the direction was going and where the prospective students were hanging out. And we really want to use our website mostly as, you know, an outlet to our…
Dr. L: Sure.
Dr. S: … to our prospective students and we’re trying to meet them where they’re at. And, you know, I think to have an progressive P.R. Department like that, that’s always looking for the next thing. We were on…
Dr. L: Podcast.
Dr. S: Yeah, there you go. There you go. So, we can’t wait to download this right?
Dr. L: Absolutely! We’ll make it available to you. Speaking of the social media thing, you have a blog.
Dr. S: Right.
Dr. L: And the other thing that was impressive… isn’t there like twice a month you have like an online “Chat with the President?”
Dr. S: Yeah, I just had one this week actually and we were discussing chiropractic and sports and performance. And it was great! You know, students… this is what they do and for them to be able to hop online during their lunch break at their undergraduate school and chat with the president about, you know, these kinds of issues… you know, they love it. And, you know is it a little extra time for us to get that organized? Yeah…
Dr. L: Oh absolutely.
Dr. S: If it makes all the difference in the world let’s be doing these kinds of things. So, yeah we do that. You know, I enjoy my blog. I’m surprised. I always keep asking my web master how many folks are actually reading this and you know, she comes back with… you know, cause they track the data…
Dr. L: Sure.
Dr. S: And she comes back and surprises me with the numbers…
Dr. L: I’m sure they’re fair numbers.
Dr. S: Yeah. So, we’ll keep doing it as long as people are clicking and reading.
Dr. L: Absolutely, that’s great! Two years into your Presidency you made a very bold move. You made the decision to drop the word “straight” from the college’s name. Why?
Dr. S: Yeah, you know, we had some market research done for the institution and we were looking into… ok, of our prospective student base if a prospective student chooses to go to a different institution versus Sherman College, why is that? And so we spent, you know a decent amount of resources and to try and figure this out, right? Because we want to follow the data. Whatever the data is telling us…
Dr. L: Right.
Dr. S: … we want to make decisions based on strong data and the research was telling us, you know, that this word “straight” was scaring people off. That, you know, we were the only institution with this word in our name, and they never really took it to the next level to learn what “straight” actually was. They just acted instantly on that. And so…
Dr. L: That is a good question. What is “straight” for somebody who is listening right now and goes, “What? Straight?”
Dr. S: Good question. Thank you. You know, “straight” is really just our commitment to staying focused on locating, analyzing, and correcting vertebral subluxations. That’s really what it’s all about. You know, it’s our dedication, our commitment, our focus and even with the word “straight” not in the name of the institution nothing changed with our core curriculum.
Dr. L: Right.
Dr. S: Nothing changed with, you know, what our students actually learn. They still learn the same curriculum. It’s just we didn’t feel like we needed it in the name of the institution. It wasn’t a selling point for us for prospective students and you know…
Dr. L: And ironically I did some research. That’s the original name of the school.
Dr. S: Your right, yeah. “Straight” wasn’t the original… that wasn’t in the original name.
Dr. L: You’re just going back to your roots.
Dr. S: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I think there was a time and place that we needed the word “straight” in there to try to prove two different schools of thought in the profession.
Dr. L: Absolutely, yeah.
Dr. S: And so it was important for the time especially when we wanted to try… when the institution wanted to try to develop two accrediting agencies, right? Which we did, right? But no longer and so you know, we just sort of adapt.
Dr. L: You’re willing to adapt.
Dr. S: Right.
Dr. L: National Health Care Reform… should chiropractic be a part of it?
Dr. S: That’s scary.
Dr. L: Tell me about it.
Dr. S: Yeah, you know, it depends. It depends on what kind of shackles get put on us and what’s included and what’s not included. I would love the fact that, you know, if it was including subluxation correction and it just stopped right there. That, you know… we would have that covered and chiropractic would be covered for the correction of vertebral subluxation. I’m all for that, right? But, you know I see a lot of issues with it, a lot of difficulties with it and we just really it’s too early to tell how this is going to effect the chiropractic profession. It really is and so we are all kind of watching this. We all have got an eye on Capitol Hill, and lobbyists up there and we’re trying to figure out what the next step is going to be as along those lines.
Dr. L: You know, one needn’t turn the pages of the calendar back very far to see that lately, our profession seems to be in a very volatile state of potential change. About 6 months ago they were proclaiming the “Death of the Subluxation” in the UK. Australia is currently undergoing infighting that looks to put restrictions on certain forms of advertising, curtail wellness care, discourage adjusting children, and requiring that chiropractors be up to date on their vaccines. And then in the good ol’ USA we are seeing a tiering of our profession, drugs being introduced into our scope of practice and the first Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine program being accredited by the CCE. Plus, the CCE is currently, like right now October 2, is probably right in the midst now of looking to… Well, they are currently revising the standards of Doctor of Chiropractic Programs and to looking to effectively strip the identity that has defined our profession as separate and distinct for the past 115 years. Is this cause for panic or is this just business as usual for chiropractic?
Dr. S: I think it’s business as usual. I mean, you know look… These standard revisions that you were referring to… that process has been going on for quite some time now. It’s just sort of coming to a culmination of a lot of hard work by individuals and it sort of come to the forefront but, you know, the CCE has to revise standards. That’s part of, you know, the U.S. Department of Education’s requirements that you have to re-look at these from time to time and make changes when needed. Now, that’s obviously the question. Do we need to make some of these changes? And that’s part of, you know, public comment coming in is “No, we don’t need to change anything. Everything is going just fine.” You know, the CCE is saying, “You know what? Ideally, we would like to be less prescriptive and get ourselves out of the policy-making business and just do our role as accrediting the institution based on their mission and let them determine how to fulfill their mission.” And I think all of the colleges, actually, are on board with that idea. Now, it would just be interesting to see if they actually follow through with that. You know, what it appears like on this latest draft of the revisions is that they are sort of picking and choosing which ones they want to basically not be prescriptive with and which ones they want to have their hands all over. And so, for instance, the subluxation issue, you know, removing that. Not having it in the standards when they want to all of a sudden get prescriptive with the admissions standards and have a 3.0 GPA all of a sudden. Well, you know, what’s with the decision making here? It’s either all or none and I think that’s what a lot of the institutions will be wondering where the CCE will go with this. So, you know, it’s part of the process. Business as usual and then we will see how it shakes out in the end.
Dr. L: Ok. Dr. Schwartzbauer, where do you see our profession in the next 10 years?
Dr. S: I think a lot will depend on what happens with CCE.
Dr. L: Ok, what we were just talking about.
Dr. S: Yeah, because, you know depending on where they go with it, you know, you could see the institutions spreading farther and farther apart. Where, in other words, you know, you might have certain schools on one end of the spectrum that want to go more towards implementing supplements and…
Dr. L: So, we might have a tiering of the profession that really occurs. Like…
Dr. S: Yes.
Dr. L: … Reggie Gold talks about a split of the profession is probably imminent one day.
Dr. S: Yeah. If the institutions are left to set their mission and then determine how to figure out the best way to achieve that then I think you will start to slowly see this… this, you know, further further separation. Which…
Dr. L: Wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.
Dr. S: I’m not… I’m… Yeah, absolutely. I’m ok with that.
Dr. L: Let, you know… Let them… Let you practice how you want to practice.
Dr. S: Absolutely.
Dr. L: Well, we are here obviously at the New Beginnings Chiropractic Weekends’ 20th Anniversary massive gathering… an event whose primary aim is to talk about chiropractic philosophy. You wrote a blog article a while back, I was reading, that talked about how for some people there is a disconnect between philosophy and science. Tell us how the two are related.
Dr. S: Yeah, you know… They go hand in hand in my mind. You know, I mean really science answers… helps us answer the questions that philosophy asks us. So, as you know, you’re trying to do research on certain topics that we have philosophically stated and some of these fundamental ideas and philosophy… The data then will show us yes or no to some of these philosophical questions which in turn helps us ask better questions on a philosophical realm and the philosophical model. So, really, you can’t separate the two that way. They need each other, right? And so, you know, a lot of times people think, “Well, philosophy and science… oil and water.” And it’s not the case. It’s, you know… They’re actually together and we need to look at them as such and to be able to embrace that and to have forums where we can celebrate both and look at them from a scholarly standpoint and really get the best minds in the profession together to say, “Hey look! From a philosophical standpoint this is how I see this issue. Well, from a scientific standpoint this is how I see this issue.” And it will help us, I think, further the profession at a faster pace if we can get together and have those kinds of deeper discussions.
Dr. L: Yeah, that makes sense. Dr. Schwartzbauer, the fact that New Beginnings Weekends, and other similar seminars or events across our nation, even exist… is that a symptom of a gross chiropractic philosophy deficiency within our profession’s educational system?
Dr. S: Well, I think there is that whether or not that’s why New Beginnings exists… You know, I don’t have the answer to that. You know, I think this certainly does fill a void, right?
Dr. L: Right. I guess that’s what I’m driving at.
Dr. S: Absolutely! Absolutely.
Dr. L: As an example, the Green Books. I mean, it seems like people talk and there’s been a lot of talk about Green Books behind these microphones. And it’s like, why is it that people… students have to seek these out and they aren’t at least offered in the history courses?
Dr. S: Yeah, you know but, on a deeper level… I mean, there’s only so much you are going to get out of a weekend seminar. And I think what this is great for is it really sparks people’s interest in the topic of chiropractic philosophy. And it really, I think, inspires them to take it to the next step and to go home and to study the Green Books…
Dr. L: Right.
Dr. S: … and to, you know, have our students start to form, you know, clubs on campus. And so, this is sort of like a Mecca. It’s like a place where we can all come together, celebrate our philosophy. I look at it more like a fellowship, a gathering, a place to celebrate, a place to inspire furthering the… I don’t know. What do you want to call it? The study of philosophy, you know, I guess tomorrow there is a Green Book study tomorrow…
Dr. L: There is.
Dr. S: … tomorrow 8 am. You know, where…
Dr. L: Sorry, I’m going to miss it. We’re flying home to Washington!
Dr. S: Yeah, but it’s so great to have those opportunities…
Dr. L: Absolutely.
Dr. S: … for our students, for our docs out in the field, and for prospective students. There is a lot of prospective students here this weekend. Which is great.
Dr. L: That is fantastic. Ok. Let’s pretend that I am someone who is interested in a career in health care. Why don’t you go ahead and give me your 60 second elevator speech as to why the time has never been better to become a chiropractor.
Dr. S: Oh, great question! You know, first of all I think I would want to get you to realize that it’s more than just health… that we are dealing with people’s quality of life, which I don’t think a lot of healthcare’s professions really dive into that issue. And so, chiropractic is not necessarily concerned with one’s health… although that’s part of it. You don’t have to have any symptoms at all, no conditions to have quality of life improvements under chiropractic care. And so, I’d really try to get them to think differently from, “Oh, you know, what kind of healthcare profession can I get into?” versus “How can I change people’s lives through a healing art?” And, you know, that would be my focus with the individual… thinking different from sickness and disease care to overall peak performance and quality of life. And that’s exciting to me. I think that’s exciting to most people, but I just don’t think people realize that that exists. And that is what chiropractic is all about.
Dr. L: How can somebody find out more about Sherman College of Chiropractic?
Dr. S: Well, you can always call us, but an easier way to do it is just go online: www.sherman.edu. You know…
Dr. L: They can Facebook you too, right?
Dr. L: LinkedIn
Dr. S: … LinkedIn, the whole works. We’re there.
Dr. L: It’s all there.
Dr. S: We are all there.
Dr. L: If you can dream it up, they are on it.
Dr. S: You got it.
Dr. L: The final word for us here on Spinal Column Radio…
Dr. S: Well, I just want to thank you for having me Tom. This is a a great opportunity for me, for Sherman College. You know, we are always looking for different ways to get the message out and for you to take it to this level shows your leadership in the profession and your creativity and so… Along with your cohort here, Logan, I just want to say thanks and I appreciate the opportunity and keep up the great work.
Dr. L: Well, thank you very much for that compliment.
Dr. S: You bet.
Dr. L: Dr. Schwartzbauer, I want to thank you for taking time out of your very busy schedule to come to our program and allowing me to ask you really some tough questions. I appreciate that.
Dr. S: Pleasure, thank you so much Tom.
[outro theme music]
Dr. Jon Schwartzbauer of Sherman College of Chiropractic! For more information on Sherman College of Chiropractic as well as a link to his blog… check out our Show Notes for this episode.
Spinal Column Radio would like to remind you that true health comes from the inside out — not outside in. As such, the content of this podcast, along with the show notes and related links, is not intended to cure, diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease. But, instead, is meant to inform and inspire you in asking better questions regarding your health. Since the circumstances surrounding your particular situation are unique, you are encouraged to consult with a Doctor of Chiropractic — or other health care practitioner of your choosing.
Hey, next time on Spinal Column Radio, we’ll press pause on our New Beginnings interviews and squeak in an episode that focuses on an article I just finished for the local paper entitled “Steak and BandAids.” That’s next week. So, until then, for my son Logan, tweaking the knobs on the mixer board, this is Dr. Thomas Lamar, your podcast chiropractor.
Spinal Column Radio is a production of Spinal Column Communications in conjunction with AnchorChiropractic.net. Copyright 2010.
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