In 2009 and 2010 The Octagon hosted two conferences addressing the area of Philosophy of Human Existence. These were entitled “the New Vitalism” and the “Vitalism Working Summits.”  These conferences were essential to framing the vitalism conversation upon which The Octagon is based. In addition, these conferences created an overview of vitalistic thought as expressed in many disciplines within health care as well as beyond the health care domain. The proceedings of each of these conferences can be found here.

2011 brought a shift in the emphasis of The Octagon from the models and perspectives of vitalistic thought to contemporary scientific paradigms, exploring the chiropractic concept of subluxation. Again, we began with a background survey of historical writings and perspectives and transitioned into 21st century analyses of plasticity, mind-body relationships, and epigenetic influences. Details related to the outcomes of this conference can be found by clicking here. [link] The major presentations of the 2011 Octagon Conference were recorded and can be accessed here. [link]

The focus of The Octagon in 2012 did not follow as a logical development from the 2009-2011 conferences. Rather, it was felt that a conference addressing the passage and implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also referred to as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare” was desperately needed to introduce the PPACA, in detail, to the chiropractic profession. “Health Reform: Where Do We Go from Here?” was convened in April 2012. The agenda, speaker profiles and videos of the major presentations of the conference can be found by clicking here. [Link]

In the spring of 2013, a report outlining a series of possible futures for the chiropractic profession was released by the Institute for Alternative Futures (IAF) entitled Chiropractic: 2025. A copy of this report can be found here [link] As this report, in essence, provided a nexus between the conceptual perspectives of vitalism, elements of the discussion of subluxation theory and a consideration of the future of health care delivery in the United States—each an area of focus of a previous Octagon Conference—it was agreed that the Octagon Conference in 2013 should consider an in-depth assessment of Chiropractic: 2025 and the development of strategies to see the more positive scenarios realized for the chiropractic profession.

With a track record of having completed a series of five highly successful and relevant conferences related directly and indirectly to issues and concerns of the chiropractic profession, Life University president, Guy F. Riekeman issued a challenge to The Octagon to commit to a five-year exploration of another of the eight areas of inquiry of Life University, that being Integrity and Citizenship.

Around this time Brendan Ozawa-de Silva, Ph.D. and Michael Karlin, Ph.D. joined the graduate faculty of Life University teaching primarily in the Psychology Department. Fortunately for The Octagon, each of these gentlemen accepted an additional assignment working at The Octagon. Their presence, backgrounds, experiences and insights greatly facilitated the process of addressing the charge President Riekeman had put to the Octagon.

In 2014 The Octagon began its Integrity and Citizenship Cycle as requested by President Riekeman. One of the challenges put to The Octagon by President Riekeman involved the development and validation of an integrity index or scale that could be broadly applied across a wide range of circumstances. The role of the 2014 Octagon Conference was for us to develop a comprehensive overview of the work being conducted and academic circles related to integrity and citizenship. It was during this process that it became clear that the subject of compassion needed to be reflected as a significant part of this inquiry. The Octagon Conference 2014 drew heavily upon the writings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama (HHDL) in his book Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World. From this conference emerged a series of recommendations, most notably, was the encouragement for Life University to establish a center to explore integrity, compassion and secular ethics. Later in 2014 at the recommendation of President Riekeman, the University’s Board of Trustees authorized the development of The Center for Compassion, Integrity and Secular Ethics (CCISE).

By 2015, the second year of the Integrity and Citizenship cycle, CCISE had been established and many of its projects were well underway. As such, the 2015 Octagon focused on reviewing and revising these projects by bringing together faculty consisting of individuals affiliated with many of our partners as well as other CCISE Fellows. These projects included the early phases of many of what have become CCISE’s signature initiatives today, such as the Chillon Project, Compassionate Integrity Training, CCISE’s involvement in establishing both the Positive Human Development and Social Change Department and degrees, and the Compassionate Integrity Measure Working Group.

In 2016, the third year of the Integrity and Citizenship Cycle allowed The Octagon to focus on integrity in business. A faculty of persons with research experience in compassion, peace studies and integrity joined forward-thinking business leaders from several major corporations to explore the translation of the concepts of compassion, integrity and secular ethics into the corporate environment. This became another landmark point for The Octagon as these discussions led to the refinement of a business and workplace oriented compassion, integrity and secular ethics training program that has come to be known as Compassionate Integrity Training (CIT).

The fourth year of the Integrity and Citizenship Cycle, 2017, saw the attention of The Octagon Conference turn to many forms of education, focusing on K-12, post-secondary, prison and business. An international faculty of academics, practitioners and business leaders explored the demands of each domain and how the PHDSC and CIT initiatives could be presented in each of these environments. This discussion created an excellent venue to bring focus to the integrity measure concepts worked on during previous conferences. Considerable progress was made on this measure through the inclusion of faculty active in the area of integrity related matters.