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WFC History

In September 1987, at a World Chiropractic Summit convened by the European Chiropractors' Union in London, England there was agreement that a Presidents’ Committee be formed to enquire into and report upon the formation of a world federation representing national chiropractic associations. The Presidents’ Committee reported and the World Federation of Chiropractic was established in Sydney, Australia on October 2, 1988 at a World Chiropractic Congress organized by the Chiropractors' Association of Australia.

Back  row from left. Dr. Enrique Benet Canut, Latin America (Mexico); Dr.  Donald Wood, North America (Canada); Dr. Bruce Vaughan, Asia (Hong  Kong); Dr. Gerard Clum, North America (USA); Dr. Chris Diedrichs,  Africa (South Africa); Dr. Ken Ludtke, North America (USA); Dr. Yousef  Meshki, Eastern Mediterranean (Jordan).

The first Council meeting was held in Toronto, Canada August 31-September 2, 1989 attended by delegates from 7 world regions elected for a three-year term. Dr. Gary Auerbach (North America), Dr. Christoph Diem (Europe) and Dr. John Sweaney (Pacific), were elected as President, Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer. A Research Council was established, chaired by Dr. Scott Haldeman, USA. A Secretariat was established in Toronto with Mr. David Chapman-Smith as Secretary-General. Subsequently, Council meetings were scheduled annually in Geneva, Switzerland (1991), Hong Kong (1992), Cancun, Mexico (1994), Nicosia, Cyprus (1996), Cape Town, South Africa (1998), Canela, Brazil (2000), Toronto, Canada (2002), Singapore (2004), Johannesburg, South Africa (2006)

The WFC was admitted into official relations with the World Health Organization as a non-governmental organization or NGO in January 1997 and has represented the chiropractic profession at WHO since that time. One product of that relationship is WHO’s first policy document on chiropractic, Guidelines on Basic Training and Safety in Chiropractic, published in 2005 and now available in many languages. The WFC’s Chiropractors Against Tobacco (CAT) campaign arose as part of the WFC’s support for WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative.

The WFC’s voting members are national associations of chiropractors – currently in 85 countries. Non-voting, individual and corporate associate membership categories were established in 1996 and led to many individuals, colleges, organizations andWHO plenary taken during the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control,  that WFC had delegation status.  It was taken in the CICG meeting room. vendors providing active and financial support.

The WFC’s strength comes from its partnerships with and support from the national and international organizations representing all aspects of the profession – education, accreditation, research, examining and licensing boards, and specialty areas of practice such as orthopedics, radiology and sports chiropractic. This has enabled the WFC to provide an effective forum for discussion of major issues facing the profession internationally. Good examples are the 1995 to 1997 consultation on educational standards which led to the Tokyo Charter (1997) and the 2003 to 2005 consultation on market identity which led to unanimous acceptance by members of a Task Force Report on identity (2005).

WFC Council, May 1993, photographed at the 2nd Biennial Congress in London, England. Back row (from left): Dr. Enrique Benet-Canut, Latin America (Mexico); Dr. Efstathios Papadopoulos, Eastern Mediterranean, (Cyprus); Dr. Kurt Van der Walt, Africa (South Africa); Front row (from left): Dr. Gerard Clum, North America (USA); Dr. Gary Auerbach, North America (USA); Dr. John Pammer, North America (USA); Dr. Louis Sportelli, North America (USA); Dr. Vince Lucido, North America (USA); Dr. Christoph Diem, Europe (Switzerland); Dr. Paul Carey, North America (Canada); Dr. John Sweaney, Pacific (Australia); Dr. Bruce Vaughan, Asia (Hong Kong); Dr. Anthony Metcalfe, Europe (UK); Mr. David Chapman-Smith, Secretary-General.In addition, the Biennial Congress was created with the inaugural held in Toronto, Canada April 29-May 5, 1991 including the First Assembly of Members and a Symposium program, co-sponsored by the American Back Society. Subsequently, Congresses were held in conjunction with the Council meeting and the Assembly of Members in the following cities:

1993 London, United Kingdom, co-sponsored by the World Health Organisation
1995 Washington, DC as part of the Chiropractic Centennial Celebrations
1997 Tokyo, Japan co-sponsored by the World Health Organization
1999 Auckland, New Zealand
2001 Paris, France
2003 Orlando, Florida, USA
2005 Sydney, Australia
2007 Vilamoura, Portugal
2009 Montreal, Canada
2011 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2013 Durban, South Africa
2015 Athens, Greece
2017 Washington, D.C., USA
2019 Berlin, Germany
2021 Virtual Event
2023 Queensland, Australia

In 1998, the WFC introduced its Education Conference with the focus being on the Internationalisation of Chiropractic Education. This was held in Manila, The Philippines. Further Education Conferences took place as follows:

2000 Fort Lauderdale, USA - Conference on Philosophy in Chiropractic Education, co-sponsored by the Association of Chiropractic Colleges

São Paulo, Brazil - Conference on Clinical Education, co-sponsored by the Association of Chiropractic Colleges and US National Board of Chiropractic Examiners

Toronto, Canada - Conference on Patient Examination, Assessment and Diagnosis in Clinical Education, co-sponsored by the Association of Chiropractic Colleges and US National Board of Chiropractic Examiners
2006 Cancun, Mexico – Conference on Professional Identity and Curriculum in Chiropractic Education

Beijing, China – Conference on Chiropractic Education in an Era of Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants: How to Make the Successful Transition to 21st Century Technology, co-sponsored by the Association of Chiropractic Colleges and US National Board of Chiropractic Examiners

Madrid, Spain – Conference on Clinical Training in Chiropractic Education: Meeting the Demands of a New Era, co-sponsored by the Association of Chiropractic Colleges, the Consortium of European Chiropractic Educators and the International Board of Chiropractic Examiners

Perth, Australia - Conference on Translating Evidence Into Practice, co-sponsored by the Association of Chiropractic Colleges, the Consortium of Chiropractic Institutions Asia Pacific, the International Board of Chiropractic Examiners, and Murdoch University

Miami, Florida, USA - Conference on Chiropractic Education for a Changing Healthcare Environment, co-sponsored by the Association of Chiropractic Colleges

Montréal, Canada - Conference on Chiropractors: Training Tomorrow's Spine Care Experts, co-sponsored by the Association of Chiropractic Colleges
2018 London, United Kingdom - Empowered to Teach, Inspired to Learn: Creating Excellence in Chiropractic Education, co-sponsored by the Association of Chiropractic Colleges
2022 St Louis, USA - Leveling Up: Creating Consistency in Chiropractic Education, co-sponsored by the Association of Chiropractic Colleges


Dr. Scott Haldeman, Chair, WFC Research Council (middle), and Dr. Jean Moss, President, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (right) present a Research Award to Bart Koes, MA of the Netherlands at the 1st Biennial Congress in Toronto

Delegates at the WFC’s 1st Assembly of Members in Toronto, Canada May 1991

Mr. David O’Bryon, Executive Director, Association of Chiropractic Colleges (left) and College Presidents, photographed at the Faculty of Chiropractic, UNEVE University, Mexico City at the time of the WFC/ACC Education Conference in October 2006.


WFC Presidents photographed at 9th Biennial Congress, Vilamoura, Portugal, May 2007. Back row (from left): Dr. Louis Sportelli, USA (1998-2000); Dr. Bruce Vaughan, Hong Kong (2000-2002); Mr. David Chapman-Smith, WFC Secretary-General; Dr. Paul Carey, Canada (2002-2004); Dr. Anthony Metcalfe, US (2004-2006). Front row (from left): Dr. John Sweaney, Australia (1195-1998); Dr. Christoph Diem, Switzerland (1992-1995); Dr. Gerard Clum, USA (2006-2008) and Dr. Garry Auerbach, USA (1989-1992)

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