Last year marked the 20th anniversary of the Journal of Chiropractic Humanities. What are the roots, and more importantly, what is the future of this unique chronicle of scholarly discussion on philosophical issues facing the chiropractic profession?
Prior to 1991, National College of Chiropractic (now National University of Health Sciences) was fulfilling the need for a scientific journal through publication of the Journal of Manual and Physiologic Therapeutics (JMPT), However, there was no peer-reviewed journal solely dedicated to discussions about philosophy within the chiropractic profession.
In 1991, NCC’s President James Winterstein proposed the creation of the journal Philosophical Constructs for the Chiropractic Profession. The initial issue was based on papers presented at National’s 1991 homecoming. The first issues were a success, and in 1993 the journal changed its name and broadened its purpose, becoming the Journal of Chiropractic Humanities (JCH).
The mission of the new JCH expanded and remains “…to foster scholarly debate and interaction within the chiropractic profession regarding the humanities, which includes; history, philosophy, linguistics, literature, jurisprudence, ethics, theory, sociology, comparative religions, and aspects of social sciences that address historical or philosophical approaches.”
“The objective of the JCH is to create an environment that promotes legitimate dialogue in a field where a diversity of opinion exists,” says current editor, Dr. Claire Johnson. “The journal also provides a professional forum for interaction on these views. No other chiropractic journal is solely dedicated to philosophical discussion that is done in this scholarly, rational, and professional manner.”
The JCH is particularly relevant to the chiropractic profession today. “It is important for people to have a reliable source to go to for information that they can trust,” says Dr. Johnson. “The Internet contains a lot of misinformation on topics related to philosophy, ethics, history, and social sciences as they relate to our chiropractic profession. Knowing that one can turn to a peer reviewed journal for trustworthy information is important when making decisions or considering important professional topics.”
Dr. Johnson, who took the journal’s helm in 2004, has watched readership of the JCH broaden over the years, not only within the chiropractic profession, but also garnering readers from other disciplines and expanding its international readership.
“Comparing the first issues to the most recent issues, there has been an evolution in style and scholarly debate. The format and style are evolving to be more like what we see in other humanities professional and scholarly journals,” she observes.
“I also see that there are more people engaged in discussing topics that were once considered taboo. In addition, I am seeing some old topics reappear, which means that our conversations are continuing and evolving. Discussing old topics in a new context is a step in the right direction. Healthy debate where ideas are challenges in a scholarly and professional manner is essential to the growth of a profession. The JCH helps support and promote evolution of thought in the profession, and thus is an essential component of our profession’s future.”
For the near future, one of Dr. Johnson’s goals is to bring the JCH into the PubMed indexing system. Although JCH is currently indexed in several other indexing systems, PubMed is where health care providers and decision makers look when searching for trustworthy and high quality literature. Dr. Johnson reports, “In order to apply for indexing in PubMed, there are many steps to accomplish. We are currently working on the final stages of the applications process. At the moment, our JMPT and JCM (Journal of Chiropractic Medicine) are indexed in PubMed, and it would be fantastic to have our third journal, JCH, indexed there as well. We hope to have this goal accomplished within the next year.”
As the profession moves forward, NUHS and Dr. Johnson feel that the role of the JCH will be even more relevant than before. “Chiropractic has never been at a loss for facing controversy head on and we continue to face many challenges. The issues that the chiropractic profession is struggling with are issues other healthcare professions are also facing,” says Dr. Johnson.
For that reason, she urges all chiropractic physicians who haven’t explored JCH to visit the online publication at www.journalchirohumanities.com. Here anyone can read current and past issues, and find editorial and submission guidelines. “All members of the chiropractic community are welcome to submit publications for journal review,” says Dr. Johnson. “With twenty years behind us, we believe the next twenty may be the most interesting in terms of chiropractic evolution and debate from a humanities perspective.”