The beginning of chiropractic regulation in the United States has deep roots, with Illinois holding early honors. Minora Paxson, graduate of “Chiropractic Sch. Davenport”, secured certificate #438 on May 24, 1904. She was licensed as an “OP” - Other Practitioner, under Illinois’ 1899 Medical Practice Act, which contained the first regulatory language permitting the legal practice of chiropractic.

Both Kansas and North Dakota ran a tight race for the issuance of the first chiropractic license, with North Dakota winning by a month in April of 1915, when Guy Woods, D.C. received North Dakota’s first license. The North Dakota statute had contained an emergency clause creating the board effective in March of 1915. Kansas had appointed the nation’s first board of chiropractic examiners in 1913, but its first members could not be legally seated until March 1915. The board granted the first Kansas chiropractic license on May 12, 1915, to Anna Foy, D.C.

The first meeting of the chiropractic regulatory agencies occurred in 1919, as part of a joint session with B.J. Palmer and the Universal Chiropractic Association. Five boards were represented by 14 doctors. Connecticut, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina, and North Dakota laid the groundwork at that meeting for the future of the Federation as we know it today.

The boards saw a need for a professional association of the regulatory agencies, establishing the National Council of Chiropractic Examining Boards in 1926. This organization evolved over the years, disaffiliating with the national professional associations in 1947 and incorporating under Wyoming law in 1957. The organization was renamed the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards in 1968. Formal adoption of the new name occurred in 1972. The Federation’s application for recognition as a non-profit organization under IRS Code 501 ( c ) 6 was granted by the federal government in 1968.

Over the years, the members of this energetic group have envisioned the present day regulatory system for
chiropractic. This has included formation of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners in 1961, and recognition in 1974 of chiropractic college accreditation by the US Department of Education (formerly Health, Education and Welfare). Through the efforts of the Federation’s individual boards, practice requirements are perhaps more common than ever before, and the forum for discussion of the global regulatory future has emerged. More uniform credentials for initial licensure are evolving, as are the testing standards and processes which undergird them. Model reference components of a disciplinary code are right around the corner, as is the computerized on-line databank to support them.

At the center, without exception, is the chiropractic regulatory community’s deep and abiding concern for the protection and welfare of its patients. The story of chiropractic’s healing touch as it has been written, and the chapters yet to come, are based on this fundamental foundation.

With appreciation to Ronald P. Beideman, D.C., National College of Chiropractic Archivist, and James D. Edwards, D.C., Board Member, Kansas Board of Healing Arts, for their contributions to the historical regulatory notes.