ICA Saddened by the Passing of Past President, Dr. Michael S. McLean

By Taylor Carter

August 23, 2023, Falls Church, VA – The International Chiropractors Association (ICA) mourns the passing of Past President and long-time advocate, Dr. Michael S. McLean of Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Current ICA President Dr. Selina Sigafoose Jackson shared the following thoughts:

While serving the ICA on a Zoom call this evening, I was informed of the sudden passing of a fearless leader, friend, and colleague, Dr. Michael McLean. This gentleman single-handedly politically took charge for chiropractic. He so effortlessly encouraged and explained how anyone could move the needle politically with their local legislators. He taught us all how to make our way into the door to protect and promote chiropractic.

“The love of his life, Dr. Pat McLean, passed on May 8, 2023. While Dr. Mike’s health was fading, there is no doubt that the loss of Pat contributed to his passing at this time.

“I was so honored to receive the call on a Saturday afternoon in the autumn of 2013, with my father sitting by my side, from Dr. Mike asking me to serve with him and Dr. Ron Oberstein as an officer on the ICA Board. Truth be told, I was blown away to be considered and took the opportunity with great seriousness. Like Dr. Mike’s wife Pat, Mike saw something in me that I did not see or know in myself. He is responsible for me getting involved in ICA leadership and the subsequent results of building strong relationships over the last 10 years. For that, I am so thankful.

“I loved listening to Mike speak. He was so elegant in his appearance, stature, and words. He would use vocabulary that I would have to use a thesaurus to understand. I cannot imagine the chiropractic world, ICA, or his family without him in it; but, as the saying goes, he is certainly in a better place.

“His passing is bittersweet. Dr. Mike will be so missed by many, but being reunited with his love, Pat, is such a sweet image that we can all hang on to. So long wonderful friend!”

About Michael S. McLean, DC, FICA: Michael S. McLean, DC, FICA, was presented the Association’s highest honor for 2005, Chiropractor of the Year, at ICA’s 79th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC in April of that year. Dr. McLean served in many leadership positions in the ICA, including as ICA Assembly Representative for Virginia, as a Member of the ICA Board of Directors, as Chair of ICA’s Legislative Committee, and as ICA President from 2013-2015. He served as an ICA representative to many other chiropractic organizations, including the Chiropractic Coalition. Dr. McLean worked tirelessly on federal legislation and was personally responsible for the development and introduction of many key chiropractic legislative initiatives. Dr. McLean was appointed by the Secretary of Defense to serve on a new advisory committee created by Congress to advise the Department of Defense (DOD) on chiropractic healthcare programs for military personnel. Dr. McLean was one of a very small handful of doctors of chiropractic selected to participate in the DOD Chiropractic Health Benefits Advisory Committee.

In 2002, Dr. McLean was also appointed to serve on the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Chiropractic Advisory Committee, created by Congress to advise the Secretary and the Department on the implementation of a chiropractic services program for veterans mandated by Congress. The appointment was made by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Dr. McLean was one of only six doctors of chiropractic from across the nation to be selected for this important committee assignment.

Dr. McLean with Congressman Chris Smith

Dr. McLean served the community of Virginia Beach, Virginia for many decades and was a leader in state and national professional organizations and political affairs. Dr. McLean came from a large and active chiropractic family. He practiced with his wife, Dr. Patricia McLean, and has a daughter, son, son-in-law, and sister-in-law who are also doctors of chiropractic. When Dr. Pat desired to have a clinic in Hawaii, Dr. Mike gladly joined in the effort.

Dr. McLean with former US Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin at the 2014 Parker Seminar Health Reform Presentation

Dr. McLean, a 1974 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic in Iowa, served in many volunteer capacities in numerous professional and community organizations. Dr. McLean was a founder and Past President of the Hampton Roads Chiropractic Association, a founder and Past President of the Virginia Society of Chiropractic, and Chairman of the International Chiropractors Association Political Action Committee. He has written extensively for health publications and has regularly testified on behalf of the chiropractic profession before numerous Congressional committees.

Before attending Palmer College, Dr. McLean conducted his undergraduate work at Vanderbilt and the University of California. During his career, he and Dr. Pat pioneered LightForce® Adjusting Technique, which he taught as a member of the post-graduate faculty at Life Chiropractic College.

Dr. McLean with Dr. Stephanie Youngblood and Senator Harry Reid

He Cared about Veterans: Dr. McLean was an inspiring leader, faithful to chiropractic and to our nation. In honoring him, and his dedication to those who served our nation in uniform, he shared this message in November 2013 for Veterans Day: “On November 11th many nations around the world honor the service and sacrifice of military veterans and remember those who paid the ultimate price in service of their nation. In the United States, we celebrate Veterans Day as a national holiday. This is so important in light of the continuing sacrifices our men and women in uniform continue to make on our behalf, as well as they have done throughout the ages.

“Today is Poppy Day in New Zealand, and Remembrance Day in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, where people traditionally observe two minutes of silence at 11 am on November 11th. The poppy, famous from the World War I poem ‘In Flanders Fields,’ is visible in the US and elsewhere as a symbol of honor and remembrance of those who gave their lives in past wars. As ICA President, I feel it was important and appropriate to acknowledge this special day each and every year. There are nearly 25 million military veterans in the United States, with more than 930,000 having served in Iraq and Afghanistan in the current conflicts in those countries. Likewise, our friends around the world, including Great Britain, Canada, Australia and others, have also sacrificed greatly in those regions. It is my fondest hope that we will all be mindful of the sacrifice so many have made in defense of our beliefs and freedoms. Their example, their message; that ‘What we believe in is worth fighting for,’ is especially poignant and meaningful to us as chiropractors. I believe that it is so important that we in the ICA both remember the sacrifice and honor their example and their courage in answering their nation’s call to battle. I am reminded of the words of Abraham Lincoln, in his first inaugural address in March of 1861, when he sought to stir the hearts of the people with reminders of the sacrifice on which the nation was founded. He said, ‘The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth-stone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.’

“Those who have returned deserve the best care, the greatest degree of understanding and the widest possible community support as they seek to resume civilian life. In this effort, every citizen has a role… To all who served in the military, and to the families who waited at home, and to those serving now, we say THANK YOU. You will never be forgotten.”

Dr. McLean with Congressman Richard Armey

ICA Executive Director, Beth Clay, said, “Dr. Mike McLean was one-of-a-kind – self-assured; confident in his foundation in chiropractic principles and in the philosophy of personal liberty; and dedicated to service. Even after retiring from the ICA Board, Dr. McLean continued to be a valued resource and mentor. His passion for protecting and promoting chiropractic through advocacy set an example that I hope all ICA members aspire to emulate.

“I am reminded of our Founder Dr. B.J. Palmer’s famous quote, ‘We never know how far reaching something we may think, say or do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow.’ It is truly fitting as I reflect on Dr. McLean’s decades of service to chiropractic and to humanity. He directly benefited tens of thousands of lives and the ripple effect of that will continue for decades, improving the lives of millions.”

Dr. Michael McLean and his wife Dr. Pat had five children. Our condolences go out to them and the remaining family. Announcement of memorials or services will be provided when available.

Dr. Mclean with Dr. Coralee Van Egmond, Dr. McMichaels, Dr. Phillips, and Pat Ryan
Dr. McLean with Congressman Neil Abercrombie
Dr. McLean with former ICA President George Curry
Dr. McLean with Congressman Filner
Dr. McLean in China as part of the ICA King Koil tours.
Rep. Don Manzullo with Dr. McLean and Dr. Don Hirsh
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