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A project supported by the Decade of the Bone and Joint, an initiative of the World Health Organization

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A Project supported by the Decade of the Bone and Joint, an initiative of the World Health Organization

December 15, 2009

A charitable non-profit organization registered in the United States with the goal of helping people in underprivileged regions of the world who suffer from health problems related to the spine.

2000-2010 was declared The Decade of the Bone and Joint by the United Nations and formally launched at the WHO headquarters on January 13, 2000, in Geneva. It has been endorsed by the governments of 61 countries. The Goal for the Bone and Joint Decade is to improve the health- related quality of life for people with musculo-skeletal disorders throughout the world.

A number of epidemiology studies have demonstrated that spinal disorders are amongst the most serious and debilitating health problems in rural communities in developing countries. In Africa the point prevalence of low back pain in adults has been reported to be as high as 59% and in adolescents as high as 14%. The one year prevalence has been documents can be as high as 72% The Society for Education, Action and Research in Community Health (SEARCH) organized a meeting with the leaders of 60 villages in rural India to understand their main health needs. The results of this study showed that 47% of this sample was suffering from Low Back Pain on the day of survey and up to 65% of the patients attending at the clinics had complaints of Low Back Pain. This physical suffering results in both physical and mental distress and can be devastating in its economic implications in populations that depend on manual labor for survival.
These communities have no healthcare resources to relieve the burden of spinal disorders. People with these complaints currently do not have access to neurologists, spine surgeons, rheumatologists, chiropractors or physical therapists. These patients currently have no where to turn to seek relief.

The clinical model developed by World Spine Care is a multidisciplinary approach to spinal disorders that incorporates the best available scientific evidence into the cultural, political, medical, and economic values of targeted communities. World Spine Care plans to integrate its approach into existing healthcare infrastructure on a short or long term basis as desired by the individual communities.
The proposed process being proposed by World Spine Care to assist people with spinal disorders is as follows:

  1. Perform an epidemiological study to determine the impact of spinal disorders in designated communities that fit the criteria established by WSC as having no current resources to assist people with these problems.

  2. Identify the health care resources in the community which could be considered in the establishment of an evidence based spine care program. This would include traditional healers, nurse practitioners, clinics and medical staff, local community hospitals and secondary and tertiary hospitals.

  3. Recruit volunteer health care professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, and physical therapists to provide primary spine care and act as the core clinicians in the program. It is anticipated that clinicians will be recruited from North America, Europe, and neighboring countries to the targeted communities. All professionals would be licensed in their jurisdictions and comply with local temporary local licensing requirements.

  4. The volunteer health care professionals will be responsible for the screening of serious spinal pathology through a medical history and physical examination, and will provide non-surgical treatment care including medication, manual therapies, exercise therapies, and patient education.

  5. Volunteer health professionals will also interact with local health care providers and traditional healers to share their knowledge about the assessment and management of simple spinal problems and coordinate their treatment efforts.

  6. Patients identified as having serious spinal pathology by the primary spine care clinicians will be referred for further evaluation to volunteer medical specialists, including non-surgical specialists such as neurologists, rheumatologists, and physiatrists, and surgical specialists such as orthopedic and neurological surgeons with advanced spine training.

  7. World Spine Care plans to identify individuals from the targeted communities who have the necessary undergraduate qualifications to be admitted to an internationally recognized health educational program with a primary interest in spine care, including chiropractic or physical therapy. WSC will then seek financial aid and scholarships for these individuals and assist them with admissions into these programs.

  8. This will allow ongoing care in the community and allow World Spine Care to establish similar programs in other communities.

Board of Directors:

  • Elon Musk. Chairman – Musk Foundation, CEO and CTO - SpaceX
    ChairmanSolarCity, CEO - Tesla Motors

  • John Donahue. Chairman – Palladian Muscular Skeletal Health

  • Trevor Ireland. Chairman, Board of Directors – Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Liaison – Bechtel Foundation, Palmer Foundation

  • Scott Haldeman. President/CEO - World Spine Care

  • Simon Dagenais. Treasurer/CFO - World Spine Care

Committee Positions

  • President: Scott Haldeman DC, MD, PhD, FRCP(C) (USA)

Clinical Professor, Department of Neurology, University of California, Irvine.

Adjunct Professor, Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of

California, Los Angeles (USA)

  • Vice-President: Margareta Nordin Dr. Med. Sci. (USA)
    Professor (Research) and Program Director, Departments of Orthopaedics and Environmental Medicine, Graduate Program of Ergonomics and Biomechanics, School of Medicine and Graduate School of Arts and Science, New York University, New York.

  • Secretary/Treasurer: Simon Dagenais DC, PhD (USA)

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Social and Preventive medicine, School of Public Health and Health Professions, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York.

  • Epidemiologist: Eric Hurwitz DC, Ph.D. USA)

Associate Professor. Dept. of Public Health Sciences, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI (USA)

  • Clinical Care Coordinators: Geoff Outerbridge DC, MSc (CANADA)

Joan Haldeman RPT (USA)

  • Coordinator, Southern Africa Division: Reginald Engelbrecht DC (SOUTH AFICA)

  • The Bone and Joint Decade Liaison: Deborah Kopansky-Giles DC (CANADA)

  • WHO Liaison: Molly Meri Robinson DC (SWITZERLAND)


  • Charles Branch MD – Dept Neurosurgery, Wake Forrest U. (USA)

  • Max Aebi MD – Editor in chief, European Spine Jounal (GERMANY)

  • Sameer Kalkotwar MD – Orthopaedic Surgeon, Mumbai (INDIA)

  • John Mayer DC, Ph.D. – University of Southern California (USA)

Sponsoring Organizations (actual and committed): Institutional Collaborating Centers:

Palmer College of Chiropractic Palmer College of Chiropractic

Palladian Musculoskeletal Health Care Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College

Musk Foundation

Bechtel Foundation

Palmer Foundation

Professional Sponsoring Organizations:

Bone and Joint Decade

World Federation of Chiropractic

Registered domain name: “”

Address: 801 North Tustin Ave, Suite 202, Santa Ana, California, USA

Tel: 714-547-9822

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