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Acupuncturists Without Borders

Over the Years

What started as a coordinated effort to help those in need during a devastating natural disaster, has grown into a diverse community helping bring the Medicine of Peace to the entire world – in places affected by disasters, human conflict, environmental devastation, poverty and social injustice.

^
2005

Hurricane Katrina & the Founding of AWB

Acupuncturists Without borders was born in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, USA to provide rapid trauma relief care to those affected by the hurricane.

From October 2005 to November 2006, AWB provided free community acupuncture treatments to 8,000 people in Louisiana, including evacuees, residents, first responders, emergency personnel, volunteers and other care providers. We organized over 25 teams to travel to New Orleans with over 75 acupuncturists participating in the program. AWB worked successfully with mental health organizations, free medical clinics, homeless shelters, New Orleans firefighters, police and SWAT teams, the military and Coast Guard, FEMA and a variety of other trauma recovery groups to provide free acupuncture treatments to people in the Greater New Orleans area.

^
2006

Training Program Begins

 

In 2006,  AWB began training acupuncturists to set up Ear Acupuncture field clinics for prevention and treatment of trauma.

Our “Healing Community Trauma” training is now offered around the U.S. approximately 9 – 12 times a year as well as an online training version available for acupuncturists and other practitioners worldwide. To date, AWB has trained more than 6,000 acupuncturists in the United States. “Healing Community Trauma” has also been offered to acupuncturists and other medical professionals in Canada, Nepal, Mongolia, Haiti and Israel.

^
2007

Launch of Military Stress Recovery Project & California Wildfire Relief Program

One of AWB’s signature programs was launched in 2007 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, providing free community-style acupuncture treatments to veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as their family members. Since then, the program has expanded nationally and continues to provide trauma and stress-relief treatments to veterans.

 

In October of 2007, AWB launched its second disaster relief effort, since Hurricane Katrina, in response to wildfires in Southern California. For close to a month, AWB mobilized over 40 individuals to provide acupuncture treatments to residents, public servants and emergency response workers as the California fires of the season raged on. Since its inception, the California Wildfire continues to grow and AWB continues to work throughout the US West Coast providing trauma relief and herbal medicine treatments throughout the fire season each year.

^
2008

Iowa Floods

As an intense month of floods throughout the state of Iowa came to an end, AWB provided disaster relief training to volunteers and helped set up various clinics to treat affected communities, first responders and other health personnel involved in the immediate response to one of the worst natural disasters to ever hit the state. This experience helped AWB focus on solidifying its disaster response capacity, as well as coordination efforts with state authorities to allow mobilization of out-of-state practitioners to help provide trauma treatments and healing practices to those in need.
^
2009

World Healing Exchange Program Begins

AWB’s “World Healing Exchange (WHE)” program takes acupuncturists from the United States abroad to exchange information with indigenous healers and offer service clinics for local communities. The focus is on learning traditional healing methods, while doing service work, and offering information about trauma recovery with ear treatments. To date, AWB has led WHE trips to Israel, Nepal, Mongolia, Ecuador, and Mexico.
^
2010

Haiti Program Begins

Following the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, AWB mobilized hundreds of acupuncturists across the US to travel to Haiti to provide trauma relief treatments to survivors and first responders. Over 5,000 treatments were provided throughout the island in 2010. Following this massive mobilization, AWB trained over 120 health care practitioners in Haiti to be able to continue providing acupuncture treatments in the long term. To date, over 30,000 treatments have been offered as a result of the country program.
^
2011

Tucson Shooting and Joplin Tornado

In January of 2011 after the shooting in Tucson, Arizona AWB trained about 40 acupuncturists in Phoenix and then ran a relief clinic in Tucson. This was one of the first programs to run relief clinics in response to situations of violence as a way to reduce stress levels and help prevent trauma within affected populations.

Following the Joplin Tornado in Missouri, USA, AWB set up a mobile recovery clinic serving residents and communities affected by the tornado. This was part of AWB’s US Disaster Relief Program and was an important step in continuing to consolidate the organization’s disaster response capacity and protocols. Thanks to this consolidation AWB has been able to train and set up hundreds of clinics throughout the US able to effectively and rapidly respond to populations in need, following the occurrence of natural disasters.

^
2012

Superstorm Sandy

After the devastating pass of Hurricane Sandy through the East Coast of the US, AWB coordinated the mobilization of volunteers and set up clinics throughout New York and New Jersey. These clinics, located along communities severely impacted by the hurricane, provided treatments to evacuees, relief workers and emergency responders. As many continued to be in a state of homelessness, or lacked power, for weeks after the pass of the storm, AWB clinics provided safe, clean and warm spaces for them to rest and experience stress relief as they continued their rebuilding efforts.
^
2013

AWB Begins Work in Mexico

Since 2013 AWB has been working to build trauma relief capacity in Mexico. Beginning with a World Healing Exchange program in Yucatan, AWB has worked with local communities, fostering spaces for exchange of ancestral healing knowledge with acupuncture practitioners. In addition to the WHE programs in Yucatan, Baja and Oaxaca, AWB began providing trauma relief treatments to migrant population in Northern Mexico in 2019.
^
2014

Israel/West Bank Program Begins

In 2014, AWB Executive Director Carla Cassler traveled to Israel with AWB founder Diana Fried and a team of volunteers to train 40 acupuncturists. The training was remarkably powerful and effective, and trainees set up healing circles throughout Israel, implementing what they had learned. They also worked regularly under the auspices of Physicians for Human Rights to provide field clinics in the West Bank. The need for this work was underscored shortly afterwards when the horrifying Gaza war erupted, creating more trauma for the region.
^
2015

Nepal Earthquake

Following a 7.8 magnitude devastating earthquake in Nepal in April of 2015, AWB provided over 20,000 treatments throughout the affected area and continues to focus in the PTSD treatments to this day. Thanks to its foundations and previous work in Nepal, AWB was able to mobilize people and resources in a rapid and efficient manner. It is testament to the power of an ongoing program that is then able to mobilize in a profound and sustained way, unlike other disaster relief models, where groups come in upon notice of a disaster, and often do not stay or help build sustained resiliency.
^
2016

AWB Starts Working in Greece

Since May 2016, AWB has offered trauma-healing treatments in the Aegean Islands of Greece where tens of thousands of people from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries live in refugee camps. Many refugees experience significant trauma from war, displacement, dangerous migration, and loss of friends and family. Meanwhile in Athens, AWB is helping local acupuncturists incorporate as AWB-Greece. Once this happens, trauma-healing projects like the one in Chios, as well as treatments offered at refugee community centers in Athens, can gain funding and support from EU foundations.

AWB is the first organization to bring trauma reduction acupuncture to refugee camps in Greece. Our mission is to create as much “capacity” as possible, which is why we are now training Greek acupuncturists to offer treatments.

^
2017

Six Disasters, Thousands of Treatments

From hurricanes in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico; to a shooting in Las Vegas; to devastating fires throughout California, never before had AWB been asked to respond to so many disasters in such a short period of time. As the Veterans Clinics Program in the US continued to grow, AWB had to mobilize hundreds of volunteers and practitioners across the country to respond to the high number of disasters and traumatic events that occurred.

The results of the mobilization were incredible. Hundreds of volunteers came together, providing trauma relief treatments to thousands of people in a matter of a few months. Furthermore, AWB was able to further consolidate its disaster response capacity nationally, expanding its network of providers and clinics eager to bring the medicine of peace to their communities.

^
2018

AWB Israel Established & AWB Begins Work at the Mexican Border in Texas

After several years of work in Israel and the West Bank, providing trauma relief clinics and treatments with human rights organizations, AWB began training a group of Palestinian health-workers in the West Bank to do the NADA protocol. That same year, AWB was officially incorporated as an NGO in Israel, facilitating the sustainability of ongoing programming, trainings and the provision of trauma relief treatments to all.

AWB works in the region because it is a conflict area where most people suffer from deep trauma. Palestinians suffer displacement, discrimination, economic restriction, high imprisonment rates, and other horrors of the occupation. Israelis suffer from traumatic war experiences, terror attacks, and transgenerational trauma from the Holocaust and centuries of antisemitism. And there are other communities that experience trauma-the Druze, Sudanese refugees, and Palestinians who are also Israeli citizens. It is a complicated place with more nuances than not.

Finally, as part of AWB’s efforts to bring healing to populations that have suffered, or are suffering, serious traumas, we began working in Texas, US, along the Mexico border, providing trauma relief treatments to migrant populations, health practitioners and activists working to protect the rights of asylum seekers and other migrant groups.

^
2019

Mexico Refugee Program

In Tijuana, The AWB Refugee Program has been treating asylum seekers and refugees who face devastating living conditions, legal challenges, and health problems – as well as community activists and health practitioners who often suffer from secondary trauma due to their tireless, supportive work. Since we started in 2019, we have done hundreds of treatments at the Espacio Migrante clinic, Prevencasa clinic, and in multiple refugee shelters throughout Tijuana.

The AWB Border Project also assists the Parteras midwives in Tijuana, Mexico, sponsored by the Refugee Health Alliance. The midwives provide obstetrical care to over 80 pregnant people, as well as primary care to hundreds of asylum seekers residing in Tijuana shelters. AWB volunteers trained 10 of the Parteras midwives/students to do Nada ear acupuncture treatments. We continue to support their life-saving work with fundraising, herbal medicine supplies, and tele-training. In-person support will resume when Covid-19 is under control and travel restrictions lifted.

We also work with the Inn Spot, an AWB-affiliated Military Stress Recovery Project clinic based in San Diego, to offer treatments at the US Deported Veterans Center in Tijuana. The Center provides legal and social support to US military veterans that have been deported from the US.

^
2020

Covid-19 & Social Justice

The need for stress and trauma reduction in our communities has never been greater. COVID-19, economic devastation, and entrenched racial/social injustice has deepened the need. As some shelter-in-place rules have relaxed, AWB has started organizing/supporting in-person community acupuncture clinics in the US. AWB has developed new guidelines for how to do safe group clinics during COVID. Additionally, AWB continues to be ready to respond to natural disasters and is currently coordinating various clinics throughout the West Coast in response to the Wildfire season that has affected the region.
^
2005

Hurricane Katrina & the Founding of AWB

Acupuncturists Without borders was born in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, USA to provide rapid trauma relief care to those affected by the hurricane.

From October 2005 to November 2006, AWB provided free community acupuncture treatments to 8,000 people in Louisiana, including evacuees, residents, first responders, emergency personnel, volunteers and other care providers. We organized over 25 teams to travel to New Orleans with over 75 acupuncturists participating in the program. AWB worked successfully with mental health organizations, free medical clinics, homeless shelters, New Orleans firefighters, police and SWAT teams, the military and Coast Guard, FEMA and a variety of other trauma recovery groups to provide free acupuncture treatments to people in the Greater New Orleans area.

^
2006

Training Program Begins

In 2006,  AWB began training acupuncturists to set up Ear Acupuncture field clinics for prevention and treatment of trauma.

Our “Healing Community Trauma” training is now offered around the U.S. approximately 9 – 12 times a year as well as an online training version available for acupuncturists and other practitioners worldwide. To date, AWB has trained more than 6,000 acupuncturists in the United States. “Healing Community Trauma” has also been offered to acupuncturists and other medical professionals in Canada, Nepal, Mongolia, Haiti and Israel.

^
2007

Launch of Military Stress Recovery Project & California Wildfire Relief Program

One of AWB’s signature programs was launched in 2007 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, providing free community-style acupuncture treatments to veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as their family members. Since then, the program has expanded nationally and continues to provide trauma and stress-relief treatments to veterans.

 

In October of 2007, AWB launched its second disaster relief effort, since Hurricane Katrina, in response to wildfires in Southern California. For close to a month, AWB mobilized over 40 individuals to provide acupuncture treatments to residents, public servants and emergency response workers as the California fires of the season raged on. Since its inception, the California Wildfire continues to grow and AWB continues to work throughout the US West Coast providing trauma relief and herbal medicine treatments throughout the fire season each year.

^
2008

Iowa Floods

As an intense month of floods throughout the state of Iowa came to an end, AWB provided disaster relief training to volunteers and helped set up various clinics to treat affected communities, first responders and other health personnel involved in the immediate response to one of the worst natural disasters to ever hit the state. This experience helped AWB focus on solidifying its disaster response capacity, as well as coordination efforts with state authorities to allow mobilization of out-of-state practitioners to help provide trauma treatments and healing practices to those in need.
^
2009

World Healing Exchange Program Begins

AWB’s “World Healing Exchange (WHE)” program takes acupuncturists from the United States abroad to exchange information with indigenous healers and offer service clinics for local communities. The focus is on learning traditional healing methods, while doing service work, and offering information about trauma recovery with ear treatments. To date, AWB has led WHE trips to Israel, Nepal, Mongolia, Ecuador, and Mexico.
^
2010

Haiti Program Begins

Following the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, AWB mobilized hundreds of acupuncturists across the US to travel to Haiti to provide trauma relief treatments to survivors and first responders. Over 5,000 treatments were provided throughout the island in 2010. Following this massive mobilization, AWB trained over 120 health care practitioners in Haiti to be able to continue providing acupuncture treatments in the long term. To date, over 30,000 treatments have been offered as a result of the country program.
^
2011

Tucson Shooting and Joplin Tornado

In January of 2011 after the shooting in Tucson, Arizona AWB trained about 40 acupuncturists in Phoenix and then ran a relief clinic in Tucson. This was one of the first programs to run relief clinics in response to situations of violence as a way to reduce stress levels and help prevent trauma within affected populations.

Following the Joplin Tornado in Missouri, USA, AWB set up a mobile recovery clinic serving residents and communities affected by the tornado. This was part of AWB’s US Disaster Relief Program and was an important step in continuing to consolidate the organization’s disaster response capacity and protocols. Thanks to this consolidation AWB has been able to train and set up hundreds of clinics throughout the US able to effectively and rapidly respond to populations in need, following the occurrence of natural disasters.

^
2012

Superstorm Sandy

After the devastating pass of Hurricane Sandy through the East Coast of the US, AWB coordinated the mobilization of volunteers and set up clinics throughout New York and New Jersey. These clinics, located along communities severely impacted by the hurricane, provided treatments to evacuees, relief workers and emergency responders. As many continued to be in a state of homelessness, or lacked power, for weeks after the pass of the storm, AWB clinics provided safe, clean and warm spaces for them to rest and experience stress relief as they continued their rebuilding efforts.
^
2013

AWB Begins Work in Mexico

Since 2013 AWB has been working to build trauma relief capacity in Mexico. Beginning with a World Healing Exchange program in Yucatan, AWB has worked with local communities, fostering spaces for exchange of ancestral healing knowledge with acupuncture practitioners. In addition to the WHE programs in Yucatan, Baja and Oaxaca, AWB began providing trauma relief treatments to migrant population in Northern Mexico in 2019.
^
2014

Israel/West Bank Program Begins

In 2014, AWB Executive Director Carla Cassler traveled to Israel with AWB founder Diana Fried and a team of volunteers to train 40 acupuncturists. The training was remarkably powerful and effective, and trainees set up healing circles throughout Israel, implementing what they had learned. They also worked regularly under the auspices of Physicians for Human Rights to provide field clinics in the West Bank. The need for this work was underscored shortly afterwards when the horrifying Gaza war erupted, creating more trauma for the region.
^
2015

Nepal Earthquake

Following a 7.8 magnitude devastating earthquake in Nepal in April of 2015, AWB provided over 20,000 treatments throughout the affected area and continues to focus in the PTSD treatments to this day. Thanks to its foundations and previous work in Nepal, AWB was able to mobilize people and resources in a rapid and efficient manner. It is testament to the power of an ongoing program that is then able to mobilize in a profound and sustained way, unlike other disaster relief models, where groups come in upon notice of a disaster, and often do not stay or help build sustained resiliency.
^
2016

AWB Starts Working in Greece

Since May 2016, AWB has offered trauma-healing treatments in the Aegean Islands of Greece where tens of thousands of people from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries live in refugee camps. Many refugees experience significant trauma from war, displacement, dangerous migration, and loss of friends and family. Meanwhile in Athens, AWB is helping local acupuncturists incorporate as AWB-Greece. Once this happens, trauma-healing projects like the one in Chios, as well as treatments offered at refugee community centers in Athens, can gain funding and support from EU foundations.

AWB is the first organization to bring trauma reduction acupuncture to refugee camps in Greece. Our mission is to create as much “capacity” as possible, which is why we are now training Greek acupuncturists to offer treatments.

^
2017

Six Disasters, Thousands of Treatments

From hurricanes in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico; to a shooting in Las Vegas; to devastating fires throughout California, never before had AWB been asked to respond to so many disasters in such a short period of time. As the Veterans Clinics Program in the US continued to grow, AWB had to mobilize hundreds of volunteers and practitioners across the country to respond to the high number of disasters and traumatic events that occurred.
The results of the mobilization were incredible. Hundreds of volunteers came together, providing trauma relief treatments to thousands of people in a matter of a few months. Furthermore, AWB was able to further consolidate its disaster response capacity nationally, expanding its network of providers and clinics eager to bring the medicine of peace to their communities.

^
2018

AWB Israel Established and AWB Begins Work at the Mexican Border in Texas

After several years of work in Israel and the West Bank, providing trauma relief clinics and treatments with human rights organizations, AWB began training a group of Palestinian health-workers in the West Bank to do the NADA protocol. That same year, AWB was officially incorporated as an NGO in Israel, facilitating the sustainability of ongoing programming, trainings and the provision of trauma relief treatments to all.

AWB works in the region because it is a conflict area where most people suffer from deep trauma. Palestinians suffer displacement, discrimination, economic restriction, high imprisonment rates, and other horrors of the occupation. Israelis suffer from traumatic war experiences, terror attacks, and transgenerational trauma from the Holocaust and centuries of antisemitism. And there are other communities that experience trauma-the Druze, Sudanese refugees, and Palestinians who are also Israeli citizens. It is a complicated place with more nuances than not.

Finally, as part of AWB’s efforts to bring healing to populations that have suffered, or are suffering, serious traumas, we began working in Texas, US, along the Mexico border, providing trauma relief treatments to migrant populations, health practitioners and activists working to protect the rights of asylum seekers and other migrant groups.

^
2019

Mexico Refugee Program

In Tijuana, The AWB Refugee Program has been treating asylum seekers and refugees who face devastating living conditions, legal challenges, and health problems – as well as community activists and health practitioners who often suffer from secondary trauma due to their tireless, supportive work. Since we started in 2019, we have done hundreds of treatments at the Espacio Migrante clinic, Prevencasa clinic, and in multiple refugee shelters throughout Tijuana.

The AWB Border Project also assists the Parteras midwives in Tijuana, Mexico, sponsored by the Refugee Health Alliance. The midwives provide obstetrical care to over 80 pregnant people, as well as primary care to hundreds of asylum seekers residing in Tijuana shelters. AWB volunteers trained 10 of the Parteras midwives/students to do Nada ear acupuncture treatments. We continue to support their life-saving work with fundraising, herbal medicine supplies, and tele-training. In-person support will resume when Covid-19 is under control and travel restrictions lifted.

We also work with the Inn Spot, an AWB-affiliated Military Stress Recovery Project clinic based in San Diego, to offer treatments at the US Deported Veterans Center in Tijuana. The Center provides legal and social support to US military veterans that have been deported from the US.

^
2020

Covid-19 and Social Justice

The need for stress and trauma reduction in our communities has never been greater. COVID-19, economic devastation, and entrenched racial/social injustice has deepened the need. As some shelter-in-place rules have relaxed, AWB has started organizing/supporting in-person community acupuncture clinics in the US. AWB has developed new guidelines for how to do safe group clinics during COVID. Additionally, AWB continues to be ready to respond to natural disasters and is currently coordinating various clinics throughout the West Coast in response to the Wildfire season that has affected the region.