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AWB Newsletter December 7. 2006 Subject: AWB - Trainings; Last minute gifts; Notes from the Interior; AWB Data Collection

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Acupuncturists Without Borders
December 13, 2006
In This Issue - Trainings
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(Photo - Qigong at AWB Boston Training - click on photo for upcoming training details)

AWB Community-Style Acupuncture Leadership Training: How to do AWB Disaster, Trauma and Community Work

Acupuncturists Without Borders is offering a comprehensive weekend training January 12 -14 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

16 PDA’s approved by NCCAOM (including 4 that meet Ethics/Safety requirement).

Includes: How to set up a Mobile Clinic, how to create teams that flourish together, how to work in a disaster situation, comprehensive acute traumatic stress management, how to set up a community acupuncture clinic in your local area, cultural competency, and ethical and safety issues. There will be instruction and practice in qigong for reducing stress and toxic situations.

The first 6 course hours are an Introduction to the work of AWB, and it is approved as its own curriculum for 6 PDA’s (NCCAOM). Everyone is welcome to take either the 6-hour segment or the entire weekend of 16 hours, which continues through Saturday and Sunday.

Cost: $90.00 for those who want to come for the first 6-hour section, and $240.00 for the whole weekend. We will offer a 30% discount to AWB volunteers.

Contact Diane Eggleston, 520-840-0557, for registration information.

Future AWB trainings planned for Boulder, Colorado at Southwest Acupuncture College (February), New Orleans (May), New York City (June), and more to be announced.

Need a last-minute holiday gift? Click on photo to see AWB products - gifts that gives several times over (not to be too cliche)...

Year-End Fundraising Campaign

$2,177.00 raised so far! Thank you to all donors. Please consider giving a donation if you would like to see the work of AWB continue and expand. We are completely dependent at this time on individual donations (and we have heard from the IRS that our tax exempt status is very close to being finalized - all donations are retroactively tax deductible!).

You can donate online through our secure Paypal account.

(Photo - AWB Board members Felice Dunas and Jordan Van Voast at Spring meeting)

This past week we had our monthly Board meeting via teleconference. Instead of doing regular business we all shared from our hearts about why we are involved with AWB, what our vision is, who we are, and what struggles we face in doing this work where we especially need to ask for patience from each other.

One of the long term goals of AWB is to bring acupuncture to populations in need of healing, whether that need is due to climatic disasters (which affect underserved communities more severely in general), traumatic history (returning veterans), or conflict within the community, both domestically and internationally. Community style acupuncture is especially well suited to help heal the communities from trauma that is community wide because it allows us to heal as a group, softening the isolation that can be a byproduct of trauma and conflict. Our work in acupuncture relief teams within these communities reinforces that what we may not be able to do alone, we can do together.

When we do our introductions as teams in New Orleans, we ask people to share about themselves, including what our biggest challenges are (that we are willing to share) that might get in the way of a smooth running team, and where we need understanding and possibly help from the group.

Even though we have been very externally focused as an organization so far, I have to say that some of the biggest learning for me has been this: The effort to accept differences, I mean to REALLY accept, and to learn how to work with others, whether on an acupuncture relief team or in a relationship or on a Board of Directors, is the some of the hardest work of all, and the most rewarding. To me, this is what diversity and peace work is all about; coming to understand differences so that we can work to evolve and heal together.

This sometimes means that the job will get done very differently than how I (just using myself as an example) might envision. I think we mostly live our lives wanting things to be done our way, not the other person’s way, so this is hard. It means I may have to work really hard, to see the gifts that each person brings, and also to embrace the challenges that they face. It doesn’t mean that I have to bring every person and every behavior into my little world; but it does mean I have to work to open my heart and extend my mind regularly, and to continually strive toward the most open and direct and ongoing communication. I can tune into to where my own “stuff” gets in the way, which means that is where I need to focus, not outwardly. It even means I can try to be as open and vulnerable as I can about my own “stuff”.

I believe that this is where the work of peace in the world lies. I often think of a Buddhist teacher’s story from a meditation retreat I went to: He described his work in a hospice program, where prisoners would work with people who were dying. He told of a man who had killed a gay man in a hate crime. This man’s first client in hospice was a gay man who was dying. This big, burly guy listened to the gay man, got to know him, eventually was holding his hand, and started sobbing and sobbing and sobbing. He came to realize through this healing how his own internal creations of enemies had caused so much pain, all around.

I think that on a less severe level, most of us do this on a regular basis. We sometimes box people into corners that make their personal challenges (some may call them faults, or weaknesses) something we spend a lot of time focusing on and we can create projections of people that become solid and somewhat rigid.

When those become a shared projection (we get a group of people to back us in this), it is can be a destructive and painful path. I believe that if we work with our projections, to better understand ourselves and others, and we hold in our hearts and minds the goal of helping each other to evolve more as human beings, that we can even give constructive feedback when we work in groups, so that this becomes a very powerful means of personal development.

I often think of the Dalai Lama saying that no matter what anyone does, what we all really want is to be happy – I try to remember those words when I am tempted to engage in projections.

I am deeply committed to working on these interpersonal dynamics on the teams and everywhere within our organization so that we will practice among ourselves the healing and compassion that we bring to communities where we are doing our healing work. This is a challenging path, but I truly believe that this will make us even more successful in our work, and that this is the true path of love and peace in the world.

Beth Sommers has written an excellent summary of AWB’s data collection project from Louisiana. Her writeup follows. Data compilation not included here, from the rest of the year in Louisiana, will be completed in the future. All of this work is done by volunteers, so the timeframe is a bit longer than it might be otherwise.

Acupuncturists Without Borders
Summary of Treatments Administered 10/05 through 2/06

Following Hurricane Katrina in September, 2005, Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB) responded by sending volunteers from around the country to New Orleans and other affected areas. Thousands of treatments were administered to help survivors deal with the stress of this natural disaster.

Information on demographic characteristics of individuals receiving acupuncture treatment was collected, as well as evaluations of the services provided. The following sections summarize the information that was gathered.

Description of individuals receiving acupuncture

In order to determine who was using the services of AWB, questionnaires asking for basic descriptive information were distributed. Over 2000 individuals responded to the questionnaire; the results of 2178 respondents will be summarized here. Slightly over half (52%) of this group was female. The average age of the respondents was 63 years old, with males being slightly older than females (64.8 years versus 61.3 years, respectively). Respondents provided information on their ethnic and racial backgrounds; most of the group was non-Hispanic (90%). Slightly over half this group reported being white (58%). 22% reported being African-American, while 12% of the respondents were Asian. A small percentage (3%) were of mixed race, while Native Americans comprised 1% of those responding to the questionnaire. A total of 5% were from other categories.

This was the first time acupuncture treatment was received by 68% of the respondents. Many reported being employed the previous week (55%) and 38% were rescue workers.

Treatment evaluation

Approximately 1670 individuals responded to an AWB survey related to their assessment of the treatment they had received. Of this group, approximately two-thirds were responders (n=705), emergency medical personnel. 22% (502 individuals) described themselves as evacuees. Over 1100 of the people in this group had never experienced acupuncture in the past.

Satisfaction with treatment was quite high overall, with 30% (n=482) individuals responding to a question about the effectiveness of treatment on reducing their level of stress. Over one-third of the group reported that treatment had been “very effective”, and 380 individuals reported that treatment had been “extremely effective”. Almost everyone questioned responded that they would use acupuncture (n=1622) as well as recommend it to others (n=1628).

These levels of treatment satisfaction are exceptionally high and indicate a tremendous amount of favorable response to acupuncture. Many factors may influence this response, including:
• good relationships with acupuncture providers
• perceived effectiveness of treatment
• care provided in the context of familiar community centers and churches that are trusted and respected.

AWB has clearly developed and assembled the elements of a successful model of care. Since this data was compiled, the organization has returned to areas affected by the hurricanes, and will be working with other survivors of climatic disasters and other traumas.

Elizabeth Sommers, MPH, Lic.Ac.
Research Director
Pathways to Wellness/ AIDS Care Project
Boston, Massachusetts

February 18, 2007 is Chinese New Year. We will be inviting those who would like to hold community acupuncture events, and to support the work of AWB, to consider doing so as part of celebrating the Chinese New Year. We will produce promotional materials. For more information contact


Diana Fried
Acupuncturists Without Borders

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