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AWB News & Updates

The latest news on AWB projects, events and opportunities

New Covid-19 Safety Manual Available

AWB has created a supplement to our standard clinic manual to support practitioners with extra safety guidance during Covid-19.  Feel free to download and use as needed.

How to Run a Safe AWB Community Acupuncture Healing Circle (aka Mobile Field Clinic) During CoVid-19

APRIL 2021 UPDATES

AWB-Greece opening treatment space in central Athens

We are happy to share that AWB-Greece is preparing a wonderful store-front clinic space in central Athens where refugees and residents can receive integrative, trauma-informed healing services including acupuncture, massage, tui-na and herbal medicine. This project is being coordinated by Eirini Tsilafaki, a practitioner from Athens with help from Gaia Ivri, an AWB practitioner from Israel who built a clinic and provided treatments for refugees on the island of Chios in 2020.

As you may know, AWB-Greece is now an official NGO! Since 2016, AWB has worked with refugees in Greek refugee camps and community support centers in Athens. This new designation enables the organization to grow by accessing European Union refugee grants.

Building strong & sustainable partnerships to support exploited & vulnerable farm workers

It’s Spring in California. The hills are green, covered with orange native poppies and mustard flowers. Wildfire season seems a long way off, yet a disaster unseen by most people continues to grow in the beautiful agricultural valleys of this amazing state: The living and working conditions of farm workers and their families who face poverty, health inequity, high risk of Covid, and exposure to toxic pesticides. Most folks don’t realize that California produces one-third of the nation’s vegetables and nearly two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts. California’s 500,000-800,000 agricultural workers comprise the backbone of this abundance. Seventy-five percent are undocumented, and hundreds of thousands are women and children.

Even though the government considers them to be “essential” workers, farm workers are exploited and unprotected: Unprotected under National Labor Relations Laws, exempt from most minimum wage laws, not entitled to overtime pay or mandatory rests-meals, and usually ineligible for Covid relief funds. Poverty, harsh living-working conditions, lack of health insurance, food insecurity, and exposure to toxic pesticides are the norm for most farm worker families.

Last year, AWB began developing partnerships with community organizations that support CA farm workers and their families. We’ve just started a new round of mobile clinics with the Botanical Bus, a bilingual mobile herb project in Sonoma County, where workers are the foundation of the lucrative CA wine industry, as well as the Center for Farm Worker Families in the Central Valley, home to huge strawberry and apple farms. These amazing organizations offer physical, emotional, educational and advocacy support to farm worker families on a daily basis. AWB’s role is to provide acupuncture and other integrative medicine services for stress, pain and trauma reduction. We are honored to be a part of this service community.

AWB’s goal is to show up when and where we are invited, and build sustainable projects under the leadership of local partner organizations. An important element of this mission is to move away from the volunteer model and pay practitioners for their work. With the support of the California Endowment, we are able to do this in California-based projects, and want to make it standard for all of AWB’s work in the United States and internationally.

MARCH 2021 UPDATES

Mobile Clinics for Stress and Trauma-Healing in the US/Puerto Rico

This year, AWB is building mobile clinic teams and ongoing projects in regions disproportionally affected by disasters and systemic trauma, including California, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Florida, Minnesota, New York and Puerto Rico. Our projects support:

  • Essential workers, particularly health care and farm workers
  • Indigenous and migrating people at the southern border
  • Communities facing high levels of violence
  • Houseless people
  • Social justice activists
  • Communities devastated by wildfires, hurricanes, floods

We’re collaborating with organizations such as the Botanical Bus (a bi-lingual herbal project for farm workers) and the Center for Farm Worker Families in California; the Angry Tias y Abuelas (serving migrating
people) and Tenemos (serving the houseless community) in Texas; multiple social justice organizations in Oregon and Washington; the Serrales Foundation (serving communities in Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria and recent earthquakes); the Integrative Healers Action Network and Livity Rising (serving people affected by CA wildfires); Berkeley Community Acupuncture (serving the Navajo Nation); and many more. We are honored to be in partnership with these amazing organizations!

Ear Seeds for Nurses and African-American History of Acupuncture

Since the beginning of Covid, AWB has offered free ear seed kits with a simple instructional video to health care and essential workers. Nurses around the country have been especially eager to use this tool, for themselves, their colleagues and students for stress and pain reduction. AWB supported ear seed projects have popped up at hospitals in Milwaukee, North Carolina, Ohio and Connecticut.

We’ve also added Melanin Collection ear seeds to our kits. The seeds, with latex free adhesive to match multiple skin tones, were developed by Dr. Tenisha Dandridge, who has offered several AWB webinars on the African American History of Acupuncture. Dr. Dandridge is the founder of the Black Acupuncturist Association, a “national platform for Black acupuncturists in the United States and those who wish to find them…a place to come, to gather, and to grow for the betterment of Black and Brown people…a resource for keeping abreast of the latest news and research generated by the growing number of African-American men and women who practice this beautiful medicine.”  Membership and ear seed purchase info is available on the Black Acupuncturist Association website. If you haven’t caught one of Dr. Dandridge’s amazing AWB webinars, her next one is scheduled for May 5th, 2021. You can register HERE

International Program Updates

MEXICO

The pandemic interrupted AWB’s work at the US/Mexico border for a year, while the situation for migrating people became even more dangerous and precarious. We plan to return to direct service and practitioner training at the Brownsville, TX-Matamoros, Mexico border in late spring. Meanwhile, our collaboration with the Parteras midwives/Refugee Health Alliance in Tijuana, Mexico remains strong. We provide telemedicine training and herbs to the midwives (photo at left) who care for hundreds of migrant families every week, and plan to resume service/training trips in May.

HAITI

AWB-trained health workers continue weekly clinics in villages like Leogane, Petite Place Cazeau, Maïs Gaté and Delmas 33.

From Jenny Alcide:

I want to thank the staff for helping me again. I felt traumatized often by the situation in Haiti – kidnapping and different situations that make me feel stressful. Acupuncture treatments become more important in my life. I feel good today. I feel better. Thank you to AWB staff and donors for this treatment.

NEPAL

From AWB-Nepal Coordinator Priti Thapa:

With Covid, we had to stop treatment for 7 months starting last winter. Then we did very few clinics at SAATHI and Kripa Ghar. In total 5 in the last 3 months…Now, lletting you know that we have started our clinic at SAATHI women’s center, we will be continuing our weekly clinic here and are in talks to do the same in CASA Nepal!

GREECE

We are thrilled to announce that AWB-Greece is now an official NGO! Since 2016, AWB has worked with Middle Eastern/African refugees in Greek refugee camps and community support centers in Athens. NGO status gives our program access to EU refugee support grants to build an integrative wellness center for refugees and city residents in Athens. This project is being coordinated by Eirini Tsilafaki, a practitioner from Athens with help from Gaia Ivri, an AWB practitioner from Israel who built a clinic and provided treatments for refugees on the island of Chios in 2020.

Trauma-Informed Care Training Courses

The Covid pandemic prevented AWB from offering LIVE trainings for over a year, but gave us an opportunity to develop on-line offerings in trauma-informed care and pandemic-era clinical safety. While trauma-informed care is what people need more than ever, we have found that most Asian Medicine practitioners are not trained to provide it. AWB’s courses help fill this gap, and reach more practitioners around the world! We are particularly proud of Repairing the Shattered Heart, our new trauma-informed care certificate course which will be fully available by early summer (four of five modules are already available).

Click here for a list and description of all current AWB webinars and courses.

NOVEMBER 2020 UPDATES

On November 15th, 2020, AWB held a virtual party to celebrate 15 years of service. Check it out below!

OCTOBER 2020 UPDATES

Puerto Rico Clinics

In partnership with the Fundacion Comunitaria of Puerto Rico, AWB is offering weekly trauma healing clinics in Puerto Rico to support people still reeling from Hurricane Maria and recent earthquakes in the southwest part of the island.

See our Facebook Event Page for the most up to date information on clinics. 

Partnership with Botanical Bus

We are now partnering with the Botanical Bus, an amazing mobile indigenous herb clinic, to bring mobile clinics to CA farmworkers during the fire and grape-picking season. The Botanical Bus is a bilingual mobile herb clinic that empowers holistic health through culturally relevant, community-driven programs. Our first clinics will be helop October 10th in Sonoma, CA and October 17th in Santa Rosa, CA. 

See our Facebook Event page for the most up to date information on clinics. 

Mobile Trauma Relief Clinics

AWB volunteers have established mobile clinics in Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, Ashland, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz and other cities affected by violence, protests, and West Coast wildfires. AWB volunteers have been awesome, offering acupuncture and ear seed treatments to fire fighters, evacuees, social justice activists, and people without homes. These clinics are being set up for long-term trauma healing work.

See our Facebook Event page for the most up to date information on clinics. 

Disaster Relief Kits

We have created Disaster Relief Kits that provide practitioners with enough supplies and PPE to start a mobile clinic that will treat 200 people.

Thank you to everyone that has donated! So far, we’ve raised $3,000! We are aiming for $10,000. You can help by donating below. 

Covid-Era Training Resources

We are creating new on-line training resources for acupuncturists and health professionals to work in their communities, with a special focus on how to do safe community acupuncture in the CoVid era. This clip is taken from a new full-length training video we are producing.

Greece, Haiti, Mexico Projects

We continue to work with our community partners in Haiti, Greece, and Mexico to bring acupuncture treatments and herbal medicine to refugees, asylum seekers, and disenfranchised communities. This video is from a clinic at a farmer’s market in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

SEPTEMBER 2020 UPDATES

Wildfire Clinics

Wildfires are raging in much of the Western US and AWB volunteers are responding with pop up clinics to support evacuees and first responders. If you have taken our Healing Community Trauma training (live or online) and would like to start a relief clinic in your area, OR if you would like to inquire about joining a relief effort in progress, please contact Catherine Herbin at coordinator@acuwithoutborders.org

If you are a practitioner in California and think you may be interested in volunteering at some point, please register as a volunteer with Integrative Healers Action Network (IHAN) as soon as possible. We partner with this group for clinics throughout the state and practitioners need to be registered to work on IHAN sites. It only takes a minute and will ensure we can respond quickly to these rapidly developing fires. 

 

JULY 2020 UPDATES

AWB Stress and Trauma Healing Clinics

The need for stress and trauma reduction in our communities has never been greater. CoVid, 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. AWB has developed new guidelines for how to do safe group clinics during CoVid (see below).

AWB affiliated clinics have been held, or will soon be held, in:

  • Minneapolis
  • Los Angeles
  • Seattle
  • Berkeley
  • Sacramento
  • Portland
  • San Diego
  • Navajo Nation
  • Southwestern Puerto Rico

We hope to expand clinic organizing to New York City, Philadelphia and Miami in the near future.

If you are interested in starting a clinic and have undergone AWB training, great! If you haven’t, or you want a refresher, take our ONLINE FIELD TRAINING COURSE. If you’d like guidance on how to set up a mobile clinic or long-term trauma healing project in your community email Carla Cassler at director@acuwithoutborders.org.

AWB International Projects

MEXICO

AWB continues to support ongoing projects globally. The AWB Border Project assists the Parteras midwives in Tijuana, Mexico, sponsored by the Refugee Health Alliance. AWB did four service trips to work with the midwives in Tijuana, before CoVid prevented us from doing in-person field service.

Currently, the midwives provide obstetrical care to over 80 pregnant people, as well as primary care to hundreds of asylum seekers residing in Tijuana shelters. In February, AWB volunteers trained 10 of the Parteras midwives/students to do Nada ear acupuncture treatments. Though AWB can’t resume field trips to work with the midwives yet, we are able to support their life-saving work with fundraising, herbal medicine supplies, and tele-training.

Here’s a recent message from Ximena Rojas, lead midwife at Parteras (pictured at right):

“Acupuncture is going on every day. Today I treated our clinic volunteers and we are thriving. Our 347 active patients are coming for herbs, acupuncture, prenatal care, and to have a relationship with someone in Tijuana. It is beautiful, what we are creating and the birth center is up and running too. Thank you-AWB is amazing and the Chinese herbs are so helpful for the birthing moms and the people in shelters with CoVid fevers. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

 

GREECE

AWB-trained acupuncturist Gaia Ivri (right) has set up an AWB-sponsored clinic for refugees on the island of Chios in Greece. Gaia is part of AWB-Israel, and received her training as part of AWB’s Medicine of Peace project in Israel-West Bank.

The island, close to Turkey, shelters over 7,000 refugees from the Middle East and Africa. While conditions in the camp are dire, there are no cases of CoVid on the island, including in the camp, due to strict lock-down measures taken by the Greek government this spring.

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 mentoring this effort and supplying projects with funds and supplies.

AWB – Los Angeles is Offering Free Herbal Consults
AWB C.A.R.E.S. is offering free support services to health workers, first responders, and essential workers in Southern California with herbal medicine and stress reduction tools. They are offering:

  • Telehealth herb consultations free of charge
  • Most herbs prescribed by your practitioner will be free of charge or discounted
  • How to reset your system under stress
  • Self-help techniques at home and in the field

Visit the AWB C.A.R.E.S. Website for more info and to make an appointment. 

 

AWB Offering Ear Seeds Kits to Frontline Workers

AWB is supporting front line/essential workers and highly vulnerable communities with non-needling stress reduction tools. We have made a short instructional video on how to apply ear seeds to yourself or to another person. We have also created Ear Seed Kits with supplies and instructions.
  • Kits are FREE for frontline/essential workers and can be ordered by writing to director@acuwithoutborders.org.
  • If you are not a frontline/essential worker, you can order Ear Seed Kits HERE.

AWB Increasing Online Training Options During Pandemic

CoVid prevented AWB from doing live in-person trainings for practitioners this spring, so we have converted our basic field training to a new online course called Healing Community Trauma in Times of Crisis. This 30-hour CEU class prepares acupuncturists and other health professionals to provide trauma recovery treatments in disaster and conflict zones.

AWB offers the training tuition-free to BIPOC practitioners – leaders who are providing healing services in communities across the US.

We also just released an online version of Module 2 of Repairing the Shattered Heart, AWB’s trauma-informed care certificate program. Module 2 offers a clinical tool kit for trauma-informed care including:

  • Ear, scalp, and body acupuncture protocols for trauma
  • Herbal medicine and essential oil therapy for trauma
  • Exercises for trauma recovery
  • Trauma-informed therapeutic touch
This summer, AWB is offering a series of live webinars on current topics of interest to acupuncturists and other health practitioners, including:

 

Cultivating Resilience and Strong Immunity
To help our communities deal with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, AWB released a series of newsletters containing numerous resources to support practitioners and patients.

You can read all the issues here

 

Reflections on AWB’s Work from Our Partners and Colleagues

 

RAMON SERRANO, LAC

AWB just received a grant from the Fondo Fundacion Serrales to provide trauma healing clinics in Southwestern Puerto Rico in the coming year. This part of the island has suffered devastation from Hurricane Maria, numerous earthquakes, and now, CoVid, just in the past two years. Ramon Serrano, coordinator of AWB service projects in Puerto Rico, offers some thoughts on the needs and impact of our work.
 

GUY PAGE, FOUNDER OF INN SPOT COMMUNITY ACUPUNCTURE

In 2017, Guy Page, an Air Force veteran from San Diego, attended an AWB training where he discovered community acupuncture. This experience compelled him to quit his job and finance a community acupuncture clinic, The Inn Spot, in which he is now healing his veteran population with free services. The Inn Spot is part of the Military Stress Recovery Project clinic network sponsored by AWB.
 

DR. ROBERT WOODBINE, ND

In May, AWB was invited to speak at the NCCAOM-ASA Town Hall , an online forum created in the wake of CoVid to support acupuncturists in the US. We presented on the topic of CoVid and Mental Health, with a shout-out to practitioners to join and create AWB projects to address trauma in their communities. The response was huge (3,000 people attended), and some of our recently organized trauma clinics came directly from the Town Hall.

As part of the presentation, Dr. Robert Woodbine, an acupuncturist/naturopath from New York and a former AWB board member, spoke about CoVid, trauma, racial justice, and how our profession can contribute to community healing.