Core Competencies of the Certified Pediatric Doctor of Chiropractic: Results of a Delphi Consensus Process

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J Evid Based Comp Altern Med. 2016 (Apr); 21 (2): 110–114

Elise Hewitt, DC, DICCP, FICC, Lise Hestbaek, DC, PhD,
Katherine A. Pohlman, DC, MS, DICCP, PhD(c)

Portland Chiropractic Group and University of Western States,
Portland, OR, USA

An outline of the minimum core competencies expected from a certified pediatric doctor of chiropractic was developed using a Delphi consensus process. The initial set of seed statements and substatements was modeled on competency documents used by organizations that oversee chiropractic and medical education. These statements were distributed to the Delphi panel, reaching consensus when 80% of the panelists approved each segment.

The panel consisted of 23 specialists in chiropractic pediatrics (14 females) from across the broad spectrum of the chiropractic profession. Sixty-one percent of panelists had postgraduate pediatric certifications or degrees, 39% had additional graduate degrees, and 74% were faculty at a chiropractic institution and/or in a postgraduate pediatrics program. The panel were initially given 10 statements with related substatements formulated by the study’s steering committee. On all 3 rounds of the Delphi process the panelists reached consensus; however, multiple rounds occurred to incorporate the valuable qualitative feedback received.

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Key Indexing Terms:   children, chiropractic, education

From the Full-Text Article:


With doctors of chiropractic playing an increasing role in the integrative team of health care providers, [1–4] it is important to delineate the skills of those doctors of chiropractic who present themselves as certified specialists. Chiropractic undergraduate educational curriculum includes training in many specialty areas, including sports, neurology, nutrition, radiology, and pediatrics, to name a few. This training supplies the necessary skills for all doctors of chiropractic to provide basic care within each specialty. As the chiropractic profession has grown and matured, specialty certifications have developed for those doctors of chiropractic wishing to further their education and skills in specific areas of practice. Currently, there are several certification programs covering 13 areas of advanced specialty within the chiropractic profession (see Table 1). [5, 6] Becoming a certified specialist requires advanced training and passage of a specialty-specific certification examination.

Table 1.   Areas of Advanced Specialty Certification Within the Chiropractic Profession Available in the United States of America. [5, 6]

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