Growing as a Leader: Dr. Maiers Reflects on ACA Presidency

This January, Michele Maiers, DC, MPH, PhD completed her two-year term as President of the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), the largest professional chiropractic organization in the United States. Northwestern Health Sciences University (NWHSU) is grateful to Dr. Maiers for her service to the chiropractic profession.  

Dr. Maiers is the Executive Director of Research and Innovation here at NWHSU, with interests in non-pharmacological interventions for musculoskeletal conditions and healthy aging. Her research is focused on clinical trials that answer practical questions, with results that can be translated into knowledge that improves patient care, policy guidelines, access, and reimbursement. In celebration of her presidency, student Kit Harlow spoke with Dr. Maiers about her presidency, as well as the ongoing change she hopes to see in the profession.  

Becoming President in Unfamiliar Territory  

Dr. Maiers stepped into her role as president in 2021, just a year into the pandemic. “While every tenure in leadership has its share of humbling life lessons, being in leadership during a pandemic was an in-the-moment lesson in change management, and a constant reminder to never underestimate the importance of personal connection,” she shared. “Empathy was a critically important leadership skill during the uncertainty of the pandemic.”  

Mentoring—and being Mentored by—the Next Generation 

Dr. Maiers approached the presidency as an opportunity to grow, while creating opportunities for others to do the same. “Every leadership role is an opportunity to learn and grow, both as a person and as a professional,” she shared. “I’m certainly a better leader than I was two years ago and a better person for having the opportunity to work with a broader cross-section of the profession than I have in the past. Chiropractic is comprised of amazing healers, teachers, innovators and leaders.” 

She shared that her greatest accomplishment with the ACA was the opportunity to mentor a new generation of leaders, cultivating their strengths and expanding the opportunities available to them to foster personal and professional growth.  

“Some of my best mentors are in the earliest stages of their chiropractic careers,” said Dr. Maiers. “These people and my interactions with them as president have made me a more astute, patient, collaborative leader.”  

More Work to be Done 

Dr. Maiers also spoke on the work within the ACA that remains to be accomplished. The ACA’s top advocacy priority is modernizing chiropractic coverage under Medicare. This change will likely take time, though important strides have been made within the last few years. 

Lastly, Dr. Maiers commented that is was an honor to change the face of chiropractic leadership as a mid-career, female, researcher and academician within the ACA and celebrate how the profession has become more diverse and inclusive.  

Story by Kit Harlow, Chiropractic Student