Introducing Adam Wilkey, the incoming President to the World Spine Care (WSC) Europe Board of Directors. Adam is a Chiropractor, a husband and father of six children, and four grandchildren. Executive Director, Stefanie Ince sat down with Adam to discuss his work with WSC, and his vision for WSC Europe in the months and years ahead.
SI: Thank you for taking the time to share your story with the World Spine Care Community! Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Thank you, Stefanie, I’m very happy to be involved. A little bit about me: I am married to Esther and we have six children who are dotted all over the country and world. We are multinational with our kids marrying or being partnered with Brazilian, English, French, and German partners. We now have four grandchildren, with another on the way (fingers crossed all goes well), they are all my life! I’m also a Chiropractor and have been practicing for more than 30 years!
SI: Congratulations on your new role as President for WSC Europe. How did you get involved with the organization?
That’s a bit of a long story, so I’ll try to share my journey.
After many years of practicing, I decided that I needed a break. My family and I took off to Kenya for a year to help out with an educational charity that some friends were involved with. During our time there I did some clinical work and saw interesting cases and realised just how lacking access to meaningful care was for the vast majority of the population. Children attended school with no food, having had no breakfast. Malaria and AIDs were rampant killers that left families destitute. Medical care of any kind was costly (in local terms) and basic.
After an exciting and eventful year, we returned to the UK determined to discover how we could make more of a difference. It really did change our lives.
SI: How did you apply your experience in Kenya to spine care?
When we returned, I enrolled on a Master’s degree studying disaster healthcare, with a view to seeing how and if, chiropractic could be integrated into more of the mainstream, not just in medical mainstream but general public health sphere and within communities. My dissertation was based upon the psychology of those caught up in disasters and saw the similarities with patients suffering with chronic pain.
Following my graduation from the course I started to look at ways in which I could become involved and do charitable work. After looking at what existed, I eventually decided to establish my own charity, whose charitable aims would be to take sustainable care into communities where it didn’t exist.
As I was commencing the process of looking at the mechanism of setting things up, I found an article about World Spine Care, in Botswana. I recognised Scott Haldeman, the founder, studied the website, and decided that I probably didn’t need to reinvent the wheel.
I reached out to Scott to see if they were looking for volunteers and I also spoke to a number of Europeans who had become involved in some way with the charity and the general consensus was that for it too be really effective to establish a World Spine Care charity that was registered in Europe. The organization already had some strong leadership from individuals based in Europe, including Margareta Nordin, who took on the role as the first President. And now, four years later, here we are!
SI: In your view, what are the key priorities for WSC Europe?
As President, I want the organisation to succeed. I believe we have made an excellent start.
I would like to see us grow the organisation with much more support from both within the various professionals who are dedicated to spine care – as well as the general public. I would like us to develop a strategy of how to get growth and use this growth to start to increase the fulfilment of vision and mission of the organization.
SI: What does success for World Spine Care Europe look like to you?
At this point my goal isn’t providing spinal care for every under served community because we are nowhere near that point yet. What success would look like at this point, is understanding more clearly how we can achieve this in a way that is both adaptable and achievable in a stepwise fashion.
We have some wonderful people working in WSCE and what I am looking forward to most is continuing to work with these and others who join the project. I am looking forward to seeing changes take place within the organisation(s) and peoples lives as a result of the work we do. It’s great to see the change in the lives of the patients we help, but it’s also just as rewarding to see the changes in lives and attitudes of the volunteers, in whatever capacity they work with the organisation.