AWB News & UpdatesThe 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.
JULY 2021 UPDATES
Springing Into Summer!
As Spring slides into Summer and we feel the abundance of the Earth element, we hope you’re healthy and well. One of the bittersweet outgrowths of the past year and a half has been greater awareness of how acute, systemic, and intergenerational trauma affect us individually and collectively. The acknowledgment of how pandemic-related trauma disproportionally affects people of color, first responders, health and essential workers, and houseless people is increasingly part of our national narrative, as is the expanding conversation about how generational and toxic systemic trauma informs the health and well-being of Black, Brown and Native peoples.
As Covid infections have dipped, and public health regulations have relaxed in some parts of the world, we’ve accelerated our efforts to offer in-person trauma-healing treatments with many of our community partners. Here’s a look at what’s been happening at AWB this Spring…
AWB Mobile Clinic Team, Tijuana, Mexico – June 2021
Acupuncture on Both Sides of the Border
Since 2019, AWB has provided treatments to migrating people in Matamoros and Tijuana, Mexico. Thousands of refugees, escaping violence, poverty and torture in their countries of origin, live temporarily in these border cities, waiting for a chance to cross to the United States. Living conditions are grim and trauma is high. Once people cross to the US, living and work conditions usually continue to be extremely challenging. Many find low-paying, physically dangerous work in the agricultural fields of Texas and California, joining communities of farm workers that grow and harvest our food. Just as we provide treatments for refugees in Tijuana, we support farm workers in the agricultural regions of California. The “border” doesn’t actually exist when it comes to AWB’s work because these communities are intimately connected.
This Spring, AWB held weekly mobile clinics in Sonoma County with the Botanical Bus, as well as monthly clinics in Watsonville, CA with the Center for Farm Worker Families. In June we resumed our collaboration with the Refugee Health Alliance in Tijuana. AWB-trained practitioners from southern CA are offering treatments in refugee shelters twice a month, and we’ve resumed regular service/training trips to work with the Parteras midwives at the Justica en Salud clinic that offers integrative care for refugee women and children. We hope to resume work at the Texas border this summer.
AWB Treatments at the Botanical Bus Mobile Clinic – May 2021
Mobile Clinics Around the US…Here’s What’s New
- At this writing, we’re working with AWB colleagues in Miami to organize support for first responders at the Champlain Condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida. We hope to provide treatments in the coming days and weeks.
- Meanwhile, AWB-trained practitioners have started mobile clinic projects for houseless people in Portland, Oregon and Houston, Texas. NADA trainer Nathalie Folch and AWB Board member Nam-Thu Tran (both part of the AWB Texas-Mexico Border Project) have spearheaded monthly treatments at Tenemos, a social service program for the Houston houseless community.
- Mobile clinics for long-term wildfire relief are scheduled for the summer in Santa Cruz County, CA, where fires ravaged many communities last year. AWB, along with Livity Rising! and the Integrative Healers Action Network, has created CARE – Community Alliance for Resilience and Equity – to provide ongoing services.
- The InnSpot, an AWB-affiliated clinic in San Diego, is treating medical and nursing staff at the San Diego VA, and continues to offer free treatments to vets, first responders and their families at its newly expanded clinic.
First AWB Mobile Clinic at Tenemos, Houston, TX – June 2021
Haiti – A Special SOS
The situation in Haiti is very grim right now due to the recent assassination of Haiti’s president, earthquakes, hurricanes, community violence, and colonial oppression. The need for community trauma-reduction support is great. For the past decade, AWB Haiti coordinator Louissaint Alcide and a cohort of AWB-trained practitioners have offered monthly treatments in villages like Leogane, Petite Place Cazeau, Maïs Gaté, and Delmas 33. AWB has also trained health practitioners at CapraCare, a mental health service organization that focuses on trauma reduction.
Right now it is dangerous for our team in Haiti to be publicly active, despite its deep commitment to serving in the face of natural disasters and conflict. We hope this will change very soon and that we’ll be able to support even more trauma-healing work throughout the country. Please consider contributing to the AWB Haiti Program so that we can give our Haitian team what they need to do this work.
The combination of Covid, increased conflict between Israel and Gaza, political instability, and violence between Jews and Palestinians inside Israel has escalated trauma levels throughout the region. AWB trainer Nawal Awad and her sister, Council trainer Itaf Awad, are providing treatments and somatic therapy for Israeli and Palestinian girls in Beit Jala, Palestine where Israelis and Palestinians can meet without security checks. We plan to do our third practitioner training in Palestine this October.
Practitioners in Israel are starting to do in-person “healing circles” again now that Covid infection rates are lower. Here’s a report from Chemed Tov, AWB-Israel Coordinator:
“Last month, AWB Israel hosted its first post-Covid-back-to-real-life conference! 50 therapists from across the board, came together for a full day on treating patients who had experienced sexual trauma. And as we know, if you are treating people, you will be treating someone who has been sexually assaulted. The day included five lectures, a healing circle, and a meditation. Participants’ feedback was incredible and we all can’t wait for what’s next!”
AWB trainer Nawal Awad (top) with Ghadeer Muammar, a physical therapist trained by AWB in Bethlehem, Palestine
AWB-Israel conference on sexual violence trauma – June 2021
AWB Greece is now an official EU registered NGO! A newly painted AWB storefront clinic space is ready to open in September and will offer acupuncture, massage, herbal medicine, reflexology, and other therapies to refugees and residents in Athens, home to thousands of migrating people from the Middle East and Africa. AWB-trained practitioners will be able to volunteer at the clinic in the coming year.
Photo: AWB-Greece coordinator Eirini Tsilafaki doing pediatric tuina treatments in Athens
MAY 2021 UPDATES
AWB welcomes a new Executive Director, Nipin Gangadharan!
We are thrilled to welcome Nipin Gangadharan as AWB’s new Executive Director. Nipin has over a decade of non-profit organizational experience, serving crisis-impacted communities in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Nepal and Bangladesh. As a passionate advocate of social justice, human rights and mental health, Nipin’s values and expertise will surely help AWB expand trauma-informed care in communities throughout the world. You can read more about his experience and professional background here!
AWB is part of a bold new wellness collective serving vulnerable communities in Northern CA
Now that CoVid is under greater control in many communities, AWB is holding more clinics for people who need stress and trauma recovery support. This weekend, we offered our second mobile clinic for farm workers in Watsonville, California, in collaboration with the Center for Farm Worker Families (CFF).
AWB’s collaboration with CFF is part of a new, larger collective project called CARE (Community Alliance for Resilience and Equity) which will bring trauma recovery and wellness mobile clinics to people in Santa Cruz County, CA. The CARE project, consisting of practitioners from AWB, the Integrative Healers Action Network (IHAN), and Livity Rising!, supports farm and other essential workers, as well as Santa Cruz County communities that need long-term wildfire recovery services.
We are very excited to join forces with CFF, IHAN and Livity Rising! to offer acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, herbal medicine and other therapies in local communities that don’t always have access to interactive medicine treatments.
If you are interested in volunteering in Santa Cruz County at an upcoming CARE mobile clinic, contact email@example.com.
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
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.
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.
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!
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
Partnership with Botanical Bus
Mobile Trauma Relief Clinics
Disaster Relief Kits
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
Greece, Haiti, Mexico Projects
SEPTEMBER 2020 UPDATES
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
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:
- Los Angeles
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.”
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.
- 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 Increasing Online Training Options During Pandemic
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
- African American History of Acupuncture & How Its Erasure Contributes to Racial Health Disparities (Dr. Tenisha Dandridge)
- Safety in CoVid-era community clinics (Dr. Beth Nugent) (more info will be posted soon)
- Ear Seeds for frontline hospital workers (Kim Stephens, LAc) (more info will be posted soon)
Reflections on AWB’s Work from Our Partners and Colleagues
RAMON SERRANO, LAC
GUY PAGE, FOUNDER OF INN SPOT COMMUNITY ACUPUNCTURE
DR. ROBERT WOODBINE, ND
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.