When COVID-19 shut down Canada and the world in early 2020, chiropractic students set to graduate suddenly faced unique challenges, the largest being their inability to get licenses until December 2020 at the earliest.
For Junmo Lee, a 2020 Canadian Memorial Chiropractic graduate, this has been a year of uncertainty. “We lost the last two months of clinical internship and wouldn’t have known where to look for help,” he says. “But the CCA is looking out for new graduates – providing resources and advocating for us. It’s been reassuring during these difficult times knowing that someone has our backs.
“The Class of 2020 was graduating during such an unprecedented time with so much uncertainty,” says Alison Dantas, CCA CEO, “We had to reach out and help them, whether they were from a Canadian program or overseas, and let them know they’re part of the chiropractic family.”
The CCA identified four areas where we could make a difference.
Recent graduate, Junmo Lee
The Class of 2020 needed a meeting place to feel connected and supported. We created a CCA Responds: Private Class of 2020 Facebook Group that allowed real-time interaction. Graduates posted messages, got questions answered and discussed what was on their minds. Two hundred and seventy-six have joined the group.
The CCA held a live webinar on April 28 where the Class of 2020 could connect directly with our CEO, Alison Dantas. To show the Class of 2020 that we are in their corner, we held regular Facebook Live sessions to share updates about temporary licenses and the delayed examinations.
Grads needed to increase their knowledge in areas such as understanding contracts, business and financial planning, as well as marketing.
To meet that need, the CCA launched the Chironomics program in June. It includes:
- Weekly tips on business practice delivered via Facebook Live
- An eight-session webinar series that has had more than 500 registrations
“I learned so much about the business side of being a chiropractor,” says Junmo. “I never would have learned that information if it weren’t for the CCA. I had no business background. Now, I’m prepared.”
The CCA is uniquely placed to speak to governments and regulatory colleges across Canada about helpful changes for all graduates, regardless of where they studied.
That is why, in the spring, we contacted licensing and regulatory bodies across Canada to advocate for temporary licensure to ease their path to full practice.
That was important, but more was needed. Five provinces that agreed to some form of temporary licensure in the summer. Grads had to be connected to chiropractors to get licensure. That is why we set up a job board in August to connect chiropractors in those provinces with grads. We told our members about how they could help, and 16 chiropractors agreed to participate in the first week.
The CCA offers grads ongoing skill development through online resources and webinars. These are the same ones offered to members as part of our support for them during the pandemic.
Ready for what’s ahead
The months ahead will have more twists and turns. Our goal, identified in the first days of the pandemic, is to help 2020 grads fully transition into practice in 2021. No other group of graduates have had to face the challenges they face – and the CCA has been there for them and will continue to do so.
“Throughout the pandemic, the CCA has been really clear about what they do for members and new graduates,” says Junmo. “I think we all got a sense of where the CCA stands, how much advocacy they do for us, and that they’re here to support us.”