AWB volunteers in New Orleans after the hurricanes of 2005
Acupuncturists Without Borders was founded by Diana Fried, M.Ac. in September 2005 immediately after Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. 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.
The Evolution of AWB
Community Service Clinics:
With the experience and expertise of bringing community-style acupuncture for disaster recovery to the people of Louisiana, AWB expanded its service to a different population, U.S. veterans. The Military Stress Recovery Project (originally called the Veterans Project), was designed to provide free acupuncture treatments for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. It now offers services to veterans and active military personnel from all conflicts, as well as their families.
Many of these veterans suffer from high levels of post-traumatic stress, chronic pain, concussive brain injuries and substance dependence. Their families and communities suffer with them. Our intention is to support the healing of the wounds of war by providing stress and pain reduction acupuncture, bringing healing, hope and increased resilience to all those affected by the trauma of war. For more information about this program please visit the Military Stress Recovery Project page.
Subsequently, AWB has expanded its Community Service Clinic Program to provide treatment for other trauma-impacted populations, such as refugees, survivors of sexual and domestic violence and first responders. There are now more than 30 AWB-affiliated community service clinics across the United States.
In 2006, AWB began training acupuncturists to set up “field” ear acupuncture clinics for prevention and treatment of trauma. This training program, called “Healing Community Trauma,” is now offered around the U.S. approximately 9 – 12 times a year. To date, AWB has trained approximately 3,500 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.
In 2011 AWB launched its advanced training, “How to Be a Global Healer.” This program is for acupuncturists who want to start community service clinics in the U.S., lead relief efforts, or facilitate trainings and community service clinic programs internationally.
Domestic Disaster Relief:
Since Hurricane Katrina, AWB has provided support and mentoring for disaster relief efforts across the United States. AWB-trained volunteers have offered trauma recovery services in the aftermath of many emergencies including: wildfires in California and Colorado; floods in Iowa, Colorado, and Minnesota; shootings in Aurora, Littleton, Newtown, and Tucson; tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Moore, Oklahoma; Hurricane Sandy; the Boston Marathon Bombing; the Oso, Washington mudslide; the lava flow in Puna, Hawaii; and many more.
World Healing Exchange:
In 2009 Diana Fried created AWB’s “World Healing Exchange (WHE)” program, which 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 Nepal, Mongolia, Ecuador, and Mexico.
International Community Service Clinic Programs:
As an outgrowth of both the World Healing Exchange and the international Healing Community Trauma trainings, ongoing AWB community service clinic programs now exist in Nepal, Mongolia, Haiti, and Israel.