Orval Hidde, D.C., J.D., passed away on November 20th, leaving a lasting legacy for the chiropractic profession. National University of Health Sciences is proud to have had its alumnus Dr. Orval Hidde (’53) serve on both its faculty and on its board of trustees. One of the first four inductees to the university’s Hall of Honor, Dr. Hidde’s portrait takes its place alongside other historic figures in the chiropractic profession.
Dr. Hidde is best known for having served on the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) and its Commission on Accreditation (COA) from 1959 through the early 1980s. He led the CCE during a time when chiropractic physicians were fighting key battles on several fronts to gain parity in mainstream health care and eliminating discriminatory obstacles to a chiropractic physician’s right to practice.
Under Hidde’s leadership, the profession won a key victory on the education front. He achieved an academic milestone for the profession through gaining recognition of the CCE from the United States Department of Education (USDOE).
“What many people don’t know is the unrelenting commitment and personal sacrifice Orval Hidde gave to achieve recognition for the CCE,” recalls Dr. James Winterstein, president emeritus at NUHS. “In the early years, the biggest obstacle Hidde faced at the USDOE was its team of attorneys. So Hidde, while running a full-time practice in Watertown and raising a family in Oconomowoc Wisconsin, shifted his patient hours to the evenings, and pursued a law degree at his own expense during the day at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.”
Soon armed with both a doctor of chiropractic from National and a law degree, Dr. Orval Hidde patiently persevered for the profession, giving his time as an expert witness and advisor to licensing boards, legislatures, courts and attorney generals’ offices, and numerous state and federal government bodies. He kept up his efforts at the USDOE from 1958 through 1974 when the CCE was officially granted accreditation authority.
Recognition of the CCE was important to the chiropractic profession because until that point, the American Medical Association’s most successful argument against chiropractic physicians was that their schools were unaccredited and had no prerequisite undergraduate educational requirements. That’s why in addition to securing accreditation, Hidde also prevailed in setting an initial accreditation standard to require a minimum of two years of college course study prior to admission to a chiropractic college. That requirement has been expanded since Hidde’s tenure.
In the newly empowered CCE’s first official declaration of standards, Chairman Hidde stated: “A doctor of chiropractic is a physician who practices primary care…” This set the stage for the profession to later establish a definitive broad scope of practice bolstered by solid academic legitimacy.
“Federal recognition of the CCE was arguably a watershed event in our profession,” says Dr. Joseph Stiefel, current President of NUHS. “Without Orval Hidde, we would have undoubtedly achieved recognition eventually under other leaders, such as Joseph Janse, Leonard Fay, Jack Wolf and James Winterstein. However, our profession would most likely be two decades behind where we are today.”
In addition to his work on the CCE and at National University of Health Sciences (formerly National College of Chiropractic), in 1957, Dr. Hidde was named Wisconsin’s Chiropractor of the Year. He was twice named the American Chiropractic Association’s Chiropractor of the Year. In 2006, he became the 25th international recipient of the prestigious Chiropractic Heritage Award of the Association of Chiropractic History. In addition to his place in the Hall of Honor at National University, he also received the National University of Health Sciences President’s Award and the university’s Distinguished Service Award.
Dr. James Winterstein says, “For me, Dr. Hidde was a mentor, a man of quiet determination, and one who did not waste time. I cannot express strongly enough how valuable his leadership was as Chair of the Board of Trustees during my presidency. He forged a role model in educational leadership for those who followed. We have lost a giant, but we have gained a clear road map for the future from his example.”
President Stiefel lauds Dr. Orval Hidde’s lifetime of service for lifting the profile of not only National University, but all other chiropractic educational programs as well. “We at National are proud to have a chiropractic leader like Dr. Orval Hidde as a key contributor to our own institutional history. We owe so much to him and intend to continue his legacy through honoring the high standards for chiropractic education that he championed, and continuing to work for the advancement of chiropractic medicine.”