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President Hardee Spearheads College's Increased Minority Recruitment Efforts

NOVEMBER 08, 2001 -  "On the road again," may well be the refrain running through Sherman College President Jerry L. Hardee's head lately as he travels to numerous historically black colleges and other institutions throughout the southeast with strong minority enrollments to educate students about the rewards of a career in chiropractic. As the first African American to head one of the nation's chiropractic colleges, Hardee hopes to use his highly visible leadership position to impact the growth of minority interest in the profession.

"Although the number of women in the profession has grown from about 13 percent to almost 20 percent in the past 15 years, minority representation in the field continues to lag way behind," Hardee says. According to 1998 National Board of Chiropractic Examiners data, more than 93 percent of practicing chiropractors are Caucasian and fewer than one percent are African American.

"We need to continue to build female enrollment and minority enrollment if the profession is going to grow and thrive in the future," says Hardee. "We need to expand into new demographic markets and build on our traditional student base comprised largely of white males referred into the profession by a practicing chiropractor."

"Many students first become exposed to the rewards of a chiropractic career through a mentor who is a practicing chiropractor," Hardee explains. "The lack of African American and other minority role models among doctors of chiropractic today makes it more difficult to mentor prospective minority students." Hardee calls for greater outreach efforts in the nation's colleges and high schools to get the chiropractic message directly to students.

Toward that end, he has traveled to more than 10 colleges this fall and plans many more recruitment trips in the coming months. In addition to addressing students, especially those enrolled in science and health-related undergraduate majors, he is also visiting with college career counselors, health science profession advisors and science faculty to inform them about of the opportunities available in chiropractic and the academic background needed for admission to a chiropractic college. He is also working proactively with the American Black Chiropractic Association (ABCA) and recently served as the keynote speaker for the ABCA's annual convention in Minnesota.
Working with the college's public relations office, Hardee is reaching out to representatives from the African American media to spread the message about the need for more minorities in the profession.

He is also exploring how he might connect with large church conferences and conventions that typically represent primarily minority congregations. "I plan to use every avenue available to me to build enrollment at Sherman College in general, and to attract more minorities into the profession. The results will be a real win-win for all concerned. If we educate minorities about the advantages of a chiropractic career - from being a small business owner to serving humanity and making an attractive salary - they will be positioned to reap these rewards for themselves. And Sherman College will increase its influence in the profession," he said.

- If you are interested in getting involved in student recruitment efforts at the college, please contact the Admission Office at 800-849-8771, ext. 1222, or e-mail admissions@sherman.edu.

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