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Vet Newsletter 3-31-08
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Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans Project
March Newsletter
Project Participant Updates
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March 31, 2008
We've Got Needles to Share With You!

Thanks to Kan Herb Company, AWB has received a donation of nearly 250 boxes of Carbo ear needles that have recently expired.  We want to distribute these needles among the veterans clinics.

We are offering these free needles to veterans clinic groups who are connected  with AWB.  If you are in need of needles for your veterans clinic, whether it is already operating or still in its formative stages, please send an email to by April 20th.  Once all of the requests have been received, the needles will be evenly distributed among the clinics.

We hope that this will be the first of many benefits that AWB will be able to offer to you as the program grows.  We are actively working to obtain supplies and funding that can be passed on to the veterans clinics that are connected to AWB.
The Next Conference Call

Next conference call time:
Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Call Topic:
Funding and Financials

Local Times:

2:00 pm - AHST (Alaska Hawaii Standard time)
4:00 pm - PST (Pacific Standard time)
5:00 pm - MST (Mountain Standard time)
6:00 pm - CST (Central Standard time)
7:00 pm - EST (Eastern Standard time)

Instructions for Joining the Call

Please read the article on Call Guidelines at the bottom of this email before joining the next call.

1.  Dial the conference call number: (616) 597-8000

2.  You will be prompted to enter the Pass Code: 1017686 followed by #
3.  Follow any other prompts, as they are self-explanatory
4.  Please wait to announce yourself unless the intros have not yet begun

Other keys to know:

Press *4 for more instructions
Press *6 to mute (like if your dog is barking), and *6 again to un-mute.

*You will be charged whatever your long-distance rates are for this phone call and nothing more.
Veterans Project Participant Updates
The project has grown dramatically in the last two months and new acupuncturists are joining the effort weekly.  Here's an update on currently operating clinics and promising future teams.

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Cross your fingers, the flagship Albuqeurque Veterans Clinic may have finally found new space.  The Albuquerque volunteers are ready to jump in and get this clinic operating again.  We'll keep you posted.

Arlington, Massachusetts
Arlington Veterans Clinic
Mondays, 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Located at the Jefferson Cutter House, the Arlington Clinic opened on February 4th, 2008.  The clinic has had exposure in the local newspaper and is currently working on coming up with other outreach ideas.

Chicago, Illinois
The Healing Junction Clinic
Thursdays, 6:00pm - 8:00pm
The Chicago clinic had a fantastic article published in the Chicago Tribune and operates out of The Healing Junction Clinic.  This clinic has also been very successful in getting clinic supplies donated and we thank the companies that have been so supportive of the Chicago clinic.

Fort Myers, Florida
Lotus Blossom Clinic
Mondays, 4:00pm - 6:00pm
The newest edition to the nationwide veterans clinics!  More information about the Fort Myers clinic will be forthcoming.

Framingham, Massachusetts
Veterans Acupuncture Care (VAC) Metrowest
Saturdays 10:00am - 12:00pm

The Framingham clinic will be opening soon at the Framingham Civic League.  This team held a training for its volunteers in early February and is working out the final details of its operation plan.

Grants Pass, Oregon
Acupuncture at Riverside
Saturdays, 10:00am - 12:00pm
This veterans clinic has been operating since May of 2007!  The Grants Pass team reports treating about nine veterans a week and is seeing mainly veterans from Vietnam and their significant others.  The clinic has had exposure through articles and ads in local papers and calendars. 

Madison, Wisconsin
This team is currently meeting monthly to find clinic space and design a training program for volunteers who have not been trained by AWB.

New York, New York
NYCVAC - New York City Veterans Acupuncture Clinic
Wednesdays, 6:00pm - 8:00pm
The New York team began providing treatments to residents at Black Veterans for Social Justice in Harlem at the end of February and report treating twelve veterans a week.

Northport, Florida
Warm Mineral Springs Veterans Clinic
Thursdays 6:00pm - 8:00pm
This clinic began on March 6, 2008.  We hope to hear more from this new clinic soon!

Portland, Maine
The large Portland team is currently meeting regularly to work out a business plan and go through the Veterans Project Site Manual.

Rochester, New York
Every other Friday, 4:00pm
Operating out of the local Veterans Outreach Center this clinic opened on March 14, 2008 and is open to residents of the center.  The team leader is working to open treatments to the general public.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Headed up by a former  New Orleans volunteer, the Santa Fe clinic is slated to open in mid-April at the Pojoaque Pueblo Wellness Center.

A word from Sarah:
I want to emphasize with this listing that every clinic and every team is different.  Some teams meet for months to develop a comprehensive plan, review the manual and hold trainings...other clinics take flight immediately and solve issues as they arise.  Some are housed in private clinics, others in public spaces; some clinics have teams of seven AWB trained individuals and others consist of one or two non-trained volunteers who are learning as they go.  Whatever you choose, AWB is here to support, encourage and lend whatever assistance we can.

What has become clear is that every clinic needs one or two motivated individuals to take charge and be leaders for their communities and the other interested volunteers in their area.  We'd love to see clinics started in the Denver area, the Bay Area, Washington D.C. and San Diego where we have many trained volunteers!

Program Updates

AWB is finalizing a special password protected area of the website specifically for the Veterans Project.  This area will include a calendar, bulletin boards to promote communication between project volunteers, a blog, a Frequently Asked Questions area, clinic updates, project information, documents and more.  We hope to be able to open the Veterans Project Volunteer Pages up to all of you in the next couple of weeks.

Thanks to a suggestion by our wonderful New York team we've made a significant change to the Veterans Project Financial Agreement.  For those of you not familiar with this arrangement, AWB is offering to extend our tax-deduction status to individual clinics so that your donors can receive a tax deduction through AWB.  These donations are then put into a separate account and the funds can be used to reimburse your documented clinic expenses.  AWB will now provide clinics with 70% of their donated funds and will retain only 30%.  For more information about entering into this reimbursement arrangement with AWB you may email us at

There has also been discussion about and action surrounding malpractice insurance.  One of the Veterans Project volunteers (New York again!) is actively trying to sort out this issue for acupuncturists and ADS certified individuals and is working on setting up parameters for group rates.  We'll keep you posted on this issue as it develops.

New Resources for Your Use

1-800-273-TALK is the new VA sponsored Veterans Suicide Hotline.  You may want to make this number available on small cards in your clinic.  Be aware before referring anyone that because this hotline is part of the VA system that caller names are referred back to the VA and the VA is required to follow up.  While this is a great new resources, it may not be the best option for those who wish to remain ananymous.

GI Rights Hotline
  - This organization provides counseling, information and resources to military personnel, veterans and families and is 100% confidential.  Find out if there is a local number in your area and see about getting your clinic listed as a local resource!

Recent Articles About Veterans Issues
AWB regularly posts news articles in the "Public Health Articles" area of our Newsroom on the AWB website.

Army PTSD Study On Track To Present Findings This Year
The study we've all been waiting for on acupuncture and PTSD!

When Strains on Military Families Turn Deadly
By Lizette Alvarez and Deborah Sontag
The New York Times, February 15, 2008

Happenings Around Town: Free Community Acupuncture
Check out the Arlington Veterans Clinic listing in the Arlington Advocate!

New Generation of Homeless Vets Emerges
By Erin McClam, January 20, 2008

Issues Addressed in the February 27th Call

Highlights from the Wounds of War Conference:

Sarah and Diana's complete notes will be posted in the new blog in the Veterans Project Volunteer Pages on the AWB website.  The conference in its entirety will also be available online shortly and we will send you the link to this video footage as soon as it is available to the public.

The term "Post-Combat Stress" largely has replaced the term "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder within the military and there seems to be little difference between a diagnosis of PTSD or PCS.  AWB is beginning to change our language to reflect this and we encourage you to think about the language you want to use in your own clinic.

There is gowing recognition within the military that combat trauma transfers to other past trauma in one's life and can activate latent issues.  In addition to this, current wars can reactivate trauma in veterans from previous wars.  We feel this may be why so many clinics are currently seeing many Vietnam veterans coming in for treatment.

A combat wound is not a monotrauma.  It is a polytrauma and there are silent internal wounds that accompany physical injury.  These hidden wounds can include physical pain, traumatic brain injury, emotional pain and ear/vestibular trauma.  There is more going on than we can actually see and it is important to be attuned to this.

Veterans who have been wounded in combat and sent home early often have tremendous difficulty.  They worry that they have abandoned their squad and have a sense that their mission has not been completed.  Combat wounded veterans are at a very high risk for mental health issues as a result.

One high ranking officer shared a story regarding being on an airplane after returning from Iraq and hearing a seatbelt click.  To him, the sound resembled that of a gun lock being switched off and sent him into a flashback on the plane, in which he yelled "Weapons Green" over and over again.  It is important for us to realize that flashbacks can be a source of great embarrassment for veterans and  we need to be respectful and understanding.

The best way to try and reach veterans is to make our outreach materials and techniques personal.  There is still a stigma in the military around having a diagnosis of PCS or PTSD and some veterans will not respond to outreach that uses this type of language.  A flyer that says things like, "Are you yelling at your kids more often?", "Are you drinking more?", "Have you stopped talking to your spouse or your frends?", more likely to be more relevant to current veterans and may hit home more than flyers that advertise treatments for PTSD. 

Caring for families of veterans is VERY important and often the best way to reach veterans themselves.  Often, the families see the post combat trauma, even if the veteran doesn't realize that there is an issue.  By helping families, who are a veteran's primary support system, we automatically help support the veterans.  It is very important to do outreach to families.  Local veterans organization will have resource lists of group who work specifically with families.

Military men and women tend to turn to faith-based help first.  Be in touch with military chaplains and pastoral counselors who may be more willing to refer individuals to acupuncture.

A LACK OF SUPPORT after return from combat is the strongest factor in the development of PTSD in post-combat veterans, according to a 1999 study by Sharley and Yehuda.

Recent Questions and Concerns

We know the program is growing and evolving because your questions are requiring longer answers!  Here are some of your questions and concerns over the last two months.

There has been some confusion about whether groups are required to do fundraising for AWB , whether they are required to purchase a field manual to participate in the project and about whether or not groups are required to ask for donations at their individual veterans clinics.
Just for the record these have been AWB's policies since the very beginning...

Does AWB require me fundraise for the organization, purchase materials from AWB or send money to AWB in any way?
No, AWB will never require you to fundraise for the organization or purchase materials for your clinic from AWB.  Clinics are encouraged (but not required) to fundraise and seek donations to cover their own expenses and if a clinic is interested in trying to raise money, AWB can assist with ideas and advice.  AWB is, naturally, thrilled when a clinic raises some extra funds and can contribute directly to the AWB Veterans Project to help us keep this program growing and thriving.

AWB strongly encourages that at least one individual from each clinic team attend an AWB training and that each team obtain a copy of the Veterans Project Site Manual.  The site manual is available on the AWB website for $75.00 and is free to all training participants.  While AWB strongly encourages these to help us keep all of the teams on the same page and to save time for both you and AWB, neither the training, nor the manual are required to start a clinic.  AWB will support you however we can, no matter what you choose.

Can I ask for donations at my clinic?
While AWB strongly, strongly encourages that treatments are made free in order to be available to everyone.  The decision to ask for donations should be made by individual clinics.  Generally, AWB has found that people like to give something in exchange for treatment and it may be a good idea to have a donation box in your clinic in an accessible location.

There have been lots of questions lately about fundraising, tax liability and the financial agreement.

Does our affiliation with AWB umbrella our clinic under AWB's status as a financial and legal entity?  Does our clinic need to incorporate as our own legal entity for financial reasons?
Whether or not you want to create your own legal entity for your clinic is entirely up to you.  As per the statement of affiliation in the Veterans Project Site Manual clinics are operating under AWB's guidelines, but are independent, so AWB's status as a legal/financial entity does not automatically extend to local clinics.  A copy of this statement can be found here:
"This is an independent and locally run clinic dedicated to the free treatment of trauma experienced by combat veterans and their families.  This clinic is part of a national network of independent and locally based free clinics established with the help of Acupuncturists Without Borders and operates within the general guidelines and principles established by Acupuncturists Without Borders for such free clinics."

If our clinic enters into a financial agreement with AWB, how are the checks AWB sends us reported to the IRS?
AWB will be reimbursing the clinics only for documented expenses and  receipts or invoices for each expense will need to be provided.  AWB will be reporting your incoming donations and your outgoing expenses on our books.  Checks from AWB are not reported back to your clinic on a W-2 or 1099 as income, but are checks strictly for reimbursement and so your clinic is not responsible for taxes on these reimbursement checks.  The only way that these funds would become income for your clinic would be if you are paying the practitioners a wage or stipend for their participation.

If our clinic does not enter into a financial arrangement with AWB, can we legally accept donations if we do not become our own legal entity?
In terms of being at risk for illegaly accepting donations, we suggest speaking with a local lawyer to determine what the laws are in your area. To legally accept donations generally some paperwork does need to be filed, although laws vary from state to state.

Upcoming Trainings from AWB:
Healing Community Trauma

If you  haven't yet attended a training and you sign up now we will send you the Field Manual,
at your request, promptly upon completion of your registration.
Phoenix AWB Healing Community Trauma Training: How to Do Mobile Group Acupuncture for Disasters and Other Traumatic Situations
April 19-20, 2008

Click Here to Register Now!
Instructions For Joining An AWB Conference Call

In order to streamline our conference calls we would like to ask everyone who participates to take a look at the following instructions and call format.  We hope this will help us avoid too much distraction and overlap on the calls and allow us to make the most of the time we have together.  We try to keep the calls to one hour in length.

Before the call:

  • Email your questions to prior to the call.  We will answer your questions during the call.
When you join the call:
  • Announce yourself if you arrive on time and the Introductions have not begun.
  • If you join the call after the start time please wait to announce yourself.
  • During Intros and Updates we will periodically check to make sure everyone who silently joins the calls gets to introduce themselves as well.
*Don't forget to mute yourself if you are hearing any background noise when you are not talking.  Press *6 to mute or use the mute button on your own phone.

Call Format:

     1.  Introductions and Updates - we will ask folks to introduce themselves one by one.
  • When it is your turn, please:
    • Tell us your name and location and whether this is you first call.
    • Give a brief update of what is happening for you in terms of the Vets Project.
    • At the end of your introduction, state any questions you have. (These will be answered after Intros.)
     2.  AWB Update - Diana Fried or the program coordinator will give a brief update from AWB about progress and news relevant to the Vets Project.

    3. Discussion on the call topic.

     4.  Q & A - Diana Fried and AWB staff will address the questions presented during Intros and offer time for further questions at the end.

  • During this time if you have helpful information to add from your own experience to address peoples questions please do so by announcing yourself during a pause.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Sarah Tewhey
Veterans Project Program Coordinator
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