Melbourne chiropractor holds screening of anti-vaccine film

Many readers would know that I’ve recently completed a fifty post series on Anti-vaccine chiropractors. The series came about because the Chiropractic Board of Australia had decided it had had enough of the embarrassment of anti-vaccine riches in its ranks. On August 8 2013 it issued some new orders to the rank and file:

The Chiropractic Board of Australia cracks down to protect the public.

The Chiropractic Board of Australia is cracking down on chiropractors who step outside their primary role as healthcare practitioners and provide treatment that puts the public at risk.

To protect public safety, the Board has:

– ordered practitioners to remove all anti-vaccination material from their websites and clinics
– removed several courses from the list of approved CPD programs, and
– introduced random audits of practitioner compliance with the Board’s registration standards. [Media Release August 8 2013]

And, on September 26 2013, the CBA issued another communique, directly related to the sustained breaches of several CBA standards, guidelines, and codes which have been highlighted, for their own benefit:

Social media

The National Board has noted a rise in matters being bought to its attention that involve the use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter etc. The Board hopes to be able to publish cross-professional guidance in relation to social media in the coming months. In the interim, practitioners should note that the requirements for advertising as well as professional and ethical conduct apply to social media just as they do in any other context. The National Board expects that every practitioner should be familiar with and meet the standards set by the National Board.

Last night, in Melbourne, chiropractor Lisa Smycz held a screening of the anti-vaccine film The Greater Good. I’m not going to give a rundown of the film, as it has been done by Dr David Gorski on Science Based Medicine:

Unfortunately, The Greater Good, which could have been a provocative debate about current vaccine policy based on asking which vaccines are necessary and why, in the end opts to be nothing more than pure anti-vaccine propaganda of the lowest and most vile sort. It give the pretense of “balance” by including prominent pro-vaccine scientists, but in the end it is very clear where the message of the movie lies, particularly given the three main families profiled in the film. Worse, from correspondence with a couple of the pro-vaccine doctors interviewed in the movie, to me it appears that the resemblance between this movie and Expelled! is more than just its denialist tendencies in that the filmmakers apparently were less than straightforward with scientists about their viewpoint when interviewing them. All of this leads me to conclude that The Greater Good is to vaccines what Expelled! was to evolution: Science denialist propaganda of the most blatant sort.

Smycz runs a business called Errol Street Chiropractic, in North Melbourne. As is the case with the vast bulk of our anti-vaccine chiropractors, she is a member of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia.

Targeting families and prospective families of those with babies, Smycz put out a call on her business’s Facebook page on September 26:

Smycz 2 Greater GoodSmycz also shared the invite on her private profile. As an aside, see how she calls herself “Dr”? I don’t see the “(chiropractor)” alongside it, as is demanded by CBA guidelines. Anyway, here is her profile’s post of the event, from September 30:

Smycz 1 Greater GoodAnd Smycz even created an event page for the screening of the anti-vaccine film:

Smycz 3 Greater Good event friends invitedI’m left wondering, with all of the attention which has been placed on chiropractors and their sharing of anti-vaccination misinformation, why would Smycz even begin to think that holding, and promoting, this event was a good idea? Did she even think about the repercussions about spreading anti-vaccination misinformation, after the CBA specifically stated that the practice was to cease? As it turns out, yes she did. Only five days after the CBA press release regarding anti-vaccinationism, Smycz posted this:

Smycz 4 should I screen the Greater GoodSo, she knew it was fraught with danger, and she did it anyway.

Another thing which has left me a little astonished – well, not really – is the fact that no one on her list of eminent invitees warned her that this would be a bad idea. There are several CAA Board members on these lists (and a truckload of anti-vaccinationists):

Smycz 9 invited list


Smycz 19 invited guestsWhen I say I’m not surprised that no one warned her, I mean it is because it wouldn’t have dawned on any of them that she was doing anything wrong. Most of them are anti-vaccine anyway, so it must be a great idea, right?

I’ll leave you with another couple of Smycz’s examples of accurate immunisation information.

Remember that anti-vaccine meme about the CDC, Polio vaccines, cancer, and the SV-40 virus which never caused cancer in anyone, which is direct from conspiracy central?

Smycz 5 polio cancerAnd this glorious screenshot of one of anti-vaccine loon Shawn Siegel’s billboards, pushing an  autism lie, which also promotes Siegel’s anti-vaccine podcast.

Smycz 6 Siegel billboard lieI’m waiting for the Chiropractic Board of Australia to do more than issue communiques. These people know they are doing the wrong thing, and they just don’t care. Either that, or they know the CBA won’t do a damn thing. Ever.

About reasonable hank

I'm reasonable, mostly.
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0 Responses to Melbourne chiropractor holds screening of anti-vaccine film

  1. wzrd1 says:

    Let’s review a couple of facts.
    An antivax film was screened and attendees were some CBA board members.
    Yeah, the CBA is going to do something. They’re going to shake their finger and say, “Naughty, naughty!” and nothing else.
    As usual and as I predicted after your first article. :/

    I suggest that it is time for politicians to initiate proper policing of the ranks of Chiropractors, revoking licenses for such infractions.
    Or enjoy The Poxes.

    • There weren’t many attendees. The invitees were CAA Board members. They didn’t go, but, were aware of the screening as they were invited. They should have said something.

      The CAA is like the chiros union, the larger of the two (the other is COCA). It does the chiro protecting.

      The CBA is the Board, which is the one which is meant to do the investigating and disciplining.

      • wzrd1 says:

        Thanks for the clarification. As you can tell, I’m not conversant with the structure, regulatory or protective for Chiropractors in Australia.
        So, I learned a couple of new things today, which makes the day much brighter for me.

        There are two types of US citizens. My type, which seems to be a vanishing breed, the ones who learn and love to learn.
        Then, there are the much more numerous ones, you know, the ones who live up to the stereotype of US citizens (I *hate* the term Americans, as Mexicans, Canadians and all of the central and south American people are Americans, not only the US).

  2. Sue says:

    In a medical analogy, the CAA is like the AMA, while the CBA is like the Medical Board of AHPRA. The AMA certainly fights for its members’ entitlements and conditions, but it also promotes issues of public health and professional conduct.

    Chiro is way behind the other regulated health professions in tightening up advertising and self-promotion standards. The vast majority of chiro practises wth websites and FB pages promote themselves as small businesses first, not professionals first.

    Advertising for medical services is taken much more seriously – complaints are made and action is taken for the occasional practitioner who steps outside the boundaries.

    Time for chiro regulation.

  3. Annette Bannon says:

    I use to think of them as poorly regulated. Now I think of them as no regulation .
    So many gaps it is not funny.
    They should hang their heads in shame

    • wzrd1 says:

      Policing one’s ranks works well only when the ranks and leadership are honest and possess some degree of morality.
      When that isn’t true, the inmates run the asylum.

  4. SJ says:

    Everyone is missing point- you can’t regulate quackery and more importantly, you shouldn’t try. AHPRA/ CBA is rapidly realising that attempting to do so is futile. The veil of regulatory legitimacy can only stretch so far. Against what standard do you regulate a quack? Certainly not against the evidence base because there is none. Deregulate them all – caveat emptor.

  5. Christine Bayne says:

    Seems Smycz has removed her business Facebook page. Good riddance.

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