Remembering Maxine McMullen, RN, DC, FICCP

By Sharon Vallone, DC, DICCP, FICCP

There are people who come into our lives who gently nudge (or in some cases, firmly bump!) us off the path we thought we were following with keen focus. They broaden our horizon and challenge us to excel by raising the bar. Whether inspired by awe (or “fear,”) beguiled by humor, instilled with confidence, embraced with love or a kaleidoscope of all those experiences, we follow their lead which soon becomes the way of our own hearts as we begin to embrace the gifts they confidently declare that we have and must own so that we can be of the greatest service to the children who need our care and advocacy. One such very special and awesome woman crossed my path in 1992 and irrevocably changed the course of the years to follow.

It was with deep sorrow that the International Chiropractors Association and chiropractors around the world heard of the passing of Dr. Maxine McMullen, one of the icons of chiropractic and a pioneer of chiropractic pediatrics. Dr. McMullen passed away January 16, 2018 leaving a legacy of the love, leadership and encouragement for her family, friends and students. Dr. McMullen believed life was to be led to the fullest and she dedicated hers to her family of origin and her family of chiropractic encompassing thousands of patients, students and colleagues, many who claimed her friendship over the years.

Her history, as shared so lovingly by her sister, encompassed caring for babies and students from her years in New Zealand as a surgical nurse, to her years of professorship and leadership at Palmer College as the first female academic dean of a chiropractic college. While also running a private practice, she continued to teach and served on the National Board of Examiners and as vice president in 1999 and 2001 of the International Chiropractic Association. Serving in many other capacities within the ICA, she was then the founder and first chair of the ICA’s Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics, developing the professions first postgraduate diplomate in chiropractic pediatrics, the Diplomate in Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics (DICCP) which fostered the education of graduate doctors of chiropractic who wanted to broaden their knowledge and gain new skills to serve this population that was so special to her.

Dr. McMullen’s dedication to the supporting the chiropractic profession and the growing body of chiropractors who were pursuing further education in chiropractic pediatrics was inexhaustible. Next, she teamed up with the ICA again and created a venue to publish research, case reports and commentaries to support the field clinician and encourage research in the field. Her hope was that chiropractic pediatrics would have a seat at the table when long term planning of pediatric healthcare was conducted.

With the long time support of Molly Rangnath, the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic was born and as its editor, Dr. McMullen tirelessly encouraged authors to contribute and build a foundation of pediatric chiropractic literature. The journal carries on today with the continued dedication of Molly Rangnath and carrying her mission and vision further, we hope, as an open access journal. Interested chiropractors, healthcare professionals and web surfing families alike, will hopefully not only find an avenue of publishing their work, but also as a resource that will support their healthcare choices and management.

Dr Maxine, I do believe you will be remembered everyday as each of your students lay their hands on a child with the knowledge that they have the skill to make a difference in their health and well being. You also constantly cajoled us to attend to our stress levels and mental health as well as you attended to you’re young patients. Your words ring out in my memory as a reminder to take life as it comes, slowly and with gratitude….”Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff!”. Thank you, dear Friend. Until we meet again.