As the diversity of the United States (US) population continues to change, concerns about minority health and health disparities grow. Health professions must evolve to meet the needs of the population. The purpose of this editorial is to review current trends in the diversity of chiropractic students, faculty, and practitioners in the United States. This editorial was informed by a search of the literature, to include PubMed, using the terms chiropractic and diversity, minority, and cultural competency. Demographic information for the chiropractic profession was obtained from the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners and The Chronicle of Higher Education. These data were compared to diversity data for medical doctors and the national and state populations from the American Association of Medical Colleges and the US Census, respectively. Surprisingly little has been published in the peer-reviewed literature on the topic of diversity in the chiropractic profession. For the variables available (sex and race), the data show that proportions in the US chiropractic profession do not match the population. State comparisons to associated chiropractic colleges show similar relationships. No reliable data were found on other diversity characteristics, such as gender identity, religion, and socioeconomic status. The chiropractic profession in the United States currently does not represent the national population with regard to sex and race. Leaders in the profession should develop a strategy to better meet the changing demographics of the US population. More attention to recruiting and retaining students, such as underrepresented minorities and women, and establishing improved cultural competency is needed.
Claire Johnson is Editor of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, and Journal of Chiropractic Humanities, and a full-time professor at the National University of Health Sciences.
Bart Green is Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Chiropractic Education and a part-time faculty member at the National University of Health Sciences.