ACUPUNCTURISTS WITHOUT BORDERS

providing disaster relief, recovery and support for building resiliency – to communities affected by disasters, human conflict, environmental devastation, poverty and social injustice

aka AWB   |   Portland, OR   |  www.acuwithoutborders.org

Mission

AWB's mission is to interrupt the devastating effects of trauma by reducing suffering and helping individuals and communities find greater balance and resiliency. We use community-style ear acupuncture as a powerful, simple, safe way of helping people "reset" their nervous systems to a greater state of calm, quiet and clarity. When a group experiences this relief from chaos, hope, determination and resiliency can begin to be restored, which allows communities to move forward.

Ruling year info

2007

Executive Director

Nipin Gangadharan

Main address

3439 NE Sandy Blvd503.477.9731 3304

Portland, OR 97232 USA

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EIN

54-2190889

NTEE code info

Disaster Preparedness and Relief Services (M20)

Mental Health Treatment (F30)

Public Health Program (E70)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

AWB’s mission is to interrupt the devastating effects of trauma by reducing suffering and helping individuals and communities find balance and resiliency. Unresolved trauma affects not only the health of individuals, but the well-being of families, communities and entire nations. Trauma often has repercussions for generations, preventing cooperation, co-existence and peace among the world’s people. We use community-style ear acupuncture as a powerful, simple, safe way of helping people “reset” their nervous systems to a greater state of calm, quiet and clarity. When a group experiences this relief from chaos, hope, determination and resiliency can begin to be restored, which allows communities to move forward.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Mobile and Community Clinics for Trauma Relief

We believe that integrative medicine is the future of medicine. It is critical that health practices address the whole person–the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health of not only individuals, but entire communities. Doing so will increase community resilience during these challenging times.

Acupuncture is a proven medical modality that treats stress, trauma, pain, substance abuse, mental health challenges, and post-traumatic stress. We are currently working on making community acupuncture part of the standard of care in the immediate aftermath of disasters (natural or human-made), alongside traditional medical interventions. Community acupuncture allows those treated to experience relief together from stress and trauma. When the whole group feels calm and quiet, hope and resiliency rise powerfully within it.

Population(s) Served
Victims and oppressed people

AWB has been providing trauma healing acupuncture services in Israel and the West Bank for the past four years. The one thing that all people in this land share is trauma, from war, displacement, dispossession of land, and violent persecution. Unresolved trauma can often be passed from generation to generation, and is an obstacle to individual, community and national wellbeing. Trauma keeps fear alive and may prevent human contact, diminishing the chances for co-existence and peace.
AWB offers acupuncture treatment to everyone regardless of tribal, religious or political affiliation.

Since 2014, AWB has
• Trained over 120 Jewish and Arab-Israeli acupuncturists and medical workers
• Helped develop AWB Israel as a nonprofit organization, dedicated to treating and training Israelis and Palestinians about the benefits of trauma healing
• Provided over 10,000 treatments in Palestinian villages, Jewish settlements, for displaced Sudanese refugees, Holocaust survivors, and Israeli soldiers

Population(s) Served
Victims and oppressed people

The Military Stress Recovery Project (MSRP) provides free acupuncture treatments for veterans, active military personnel, reservists and their families.
The MSRP began in 2006 with a pilot clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and currently includes over 30 AWB-affiliated clinics across the country.

AWB’s Community Service Clinic Program grew out of its Military Stress Recovery Program, which offers treatments for stress and trauma to veterans, active military and their families. Each community service clinic affiliated with AWB serves a unique audience within the local community.

Pharmacological treatments for post-traumatic stress (PTS) have been shown to be relatively ineffective and can create chemical dependence with devastating side effects, including increased suicide rates. AWB has pioneered the use of acupuncture as a safe, effective, non-pharmacological therapy for returning soldiers that fills this trauma treatment gap.

Population(s) Served
Veterans

Acupuncturists Without Borders’ Nepal program has been in operation since 2009. Currently, AWB’s focus is on organizations and programs in the following areas:

- Trafficking of women and girls, and children
- Women and children victims of domestic violence
- Empowerment of women with substance addiction
- Disaster response preparedness and post trauma treatments

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Victims and oppressed people

United States-Mexico Border:
AWB currently has active field operations in Tijuana, Mexico, where we help provide integrative health services to migrants and refugees, with a special focus on pregnant individuals. We also provide training support to the midwives of the Justicia en Salud initiative.

We are also focused on expanding our border coverage and are actively engaging with other support groups in Browsnville, Texas looking to support communities located in the border town of Matamoros, Mexico.

International:
Since 2016, AWB has offered trauma-healing treatments in Greece where over 60,000 people from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries live in refugee camps.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants

In 2010 Haiti was hit with a huge earthquake that flattened the capital city of Port-au-Prince, as well as many surrounding areas. Following generations of political, environmental and economic hardship in the country, the earthquake disaster devastated this little country.
Acupuncturists from around the United States begged AWB to mount a relief effort in Haiti. With support from private sponsors and relief coordinators, as well as Mayway and other organizational sponsors, AWB began sending relief teams to Haiti. In 2010 eight relief teams offered approximately 5,000 treatments. Subsequently AWB provided three trainings for a total of 120 local health care practitioners.

Currently AWB trainees in Haiti offer six weekly clinics, and AWB provides ongoing support for a part-time local clinic coordinator. AWB volunteers have offered over 30,000 life-giving treatments in Haiti, and there is demand by local health care practitioners for an additional training if funds can be raised.

Population(s) Served
Victims and oppressed people

Since early 2022, AWB has been involved in humanitarian relief efforts in response to the ongoing migration crisis as a result of the war between Ukraine and Russia. We have trained over 500 practitioners in trauma-informed basics and battlefield acupuncture, and have also been providing community-organizing and network-building support in the Netherlands, UK, Portugal, Germany, Norway and other countries in the region that are receiving large numbers of refugees and migrants fleeing war, violence and poverty in the region.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
Victims and oppressed people
People of European descent
People of Middle Eastern descent
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of direct care staff who received training in trauma informed care

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Health, Social and economic status, Ethnic and racial groups

Related Program

Mobile and Community Clinics for Trauma Relief

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This metric shows the amount of people that have taken our core training programs in the US. The total amount of practitioners that we have provided training to is close to 6,500 worldwide.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

AWB hopes to bring trauma relief services (the "Medicine of Peace") to communities affected by disasters, human conflict, environmental devastation, poverty and social injustice. We are committed to collaborating with local community-based organizations and treating all who have been affected by traumatic events – survivors, first responders, emergency personnel and other care providers. We offer services and training in local communities with the goal of creating long-term, sustainable benefits after we leave. Our intention is to empower each community we serve in a way that best supports their particular needs for rebuilding and recovery.

Our overall strategy for providing trauma relief services to communities in need, as well as creating long-term trauma relief and prevention capacity locally consists of:

1. Over the last 15 years, AWB has developed and implement a mobile clinic format for trauma relief where we provide community acupuncture and other wellness services in an effective, efficient and inexpensive way. We have hundreds of practitioners across the US and worldwide who we are able to group and mobilize to respond to sudden crisis, as well as partners in some key communities who we work with to provide trauma relief services to communities affected by historic and ongoing disasters (e.g. racism and other forms of structural violence). All of the practitioners in our network are trained by AWB. Our trainings are developed and tested by our staff who are all certified practitioners with more than 15 years of experience in the field and are experienced field-workers.

2. We seek to partner with and train local practitioners and medical personnel in the communities we serve. This technical training guarantees that there will be sustainable capacity for future trauma relief and prevention as the practitioners continue to provide services in their communities. Additionally, our certification enables individuals to advance their education and become a part of our network and connect with acupuncture professionals, organizations and private businesses around the world.

AWB has the Human Resources to reach most of the US mainland and the countries where we have had previous programming. We have ongoing clinics throughout the US west coast and Puerto Rico, Mexico, Haiti, Greece, Israel/Palestine and Nepal. Our aim is to continue expanding our institutional capacity for deployment to other US states and countries with projects already underway in Texas, Florida, New York, Massachusetts, Australia and Germany. We have also recently been incorporated as an NGO in Greece, where we are leading a refugee program that we hope to expand to other parts of Europe and the Middle East currently experiencing a migration crisis. Due to the offset of the war between Ukraine and Russia, we have expanded out training and community organizing program in Europe to the Netherlands, Portugal, Norway, Germany, Poland, Romania and the UK. We are continuously adding new focus countries based on the migration flow of refugees and other migrants in the region to be able to meet the needs for trauma-informed care.

We have been offering in-person trainings for over a decade and currently offer virtual certified trainings as well. This with the hopes to continue growing the technical capacity to treat and prevent trauma in the acupuncture and mental health fields and, in conjunction with our mobile clinics and projects, reach more communities in need. Finally, we are currently working on making our essential training material available in Spanish, Ukrainian and French, to make it available to communities dealing with displacement and large-scale human mobility due to conflict and disaster.

AWB was born in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, US, where a group of acupuncturists, led my Diana Fried, provided more than 8,000 treatments to evacuees, firsts responders, emergency personnel and other communities affected by the devastating hurricane. What started as a coordinated effort to help those in need during a natural disaster, has grown into a diverse community helping bring trauma relief and other mental health services to the entire world – in places affected by disasters, human conflict, environmental devastation, poverty and social injustice.

To date AWB has treated over a million people and provided thousands of trainings to acupuncturists across the US, as well as hundreds of international practitioners. We have managed to establish, in collaboration with local practitioners and community organizations, ongoing clinics for refugees, migrants and Veterans nationally, as well as one clinic that serves pregnant individuals and deported veterans in Tijuana, Mexico. We also maintain clinics to treat refugee populations in Greece and along the US-Mexico border. On the US West Coast, we have created seasonal mobile clinics to be able to respond to communities affected by Wildfires. In 2020 we also began mobilizing teams to treat people in major agricultural zones of California, where most of the US food is produced and whose residents have been working through the COVID-19 pandemic, putting their lives at risk to guarantee food security for the country. These clinics are ongoing and we are progressively expanding services to other agricultural communities in Oregon and Washington.

We are working towards developing rapid response capacity in other "at-risk" states for natural disasters in the US - Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico - as well as providing services for trauma and stress relief to first responders and communities affected by systemic racism in New York and Massachussets. Internationally, we have established a wellness center for refugees in Athens, Greece and continue to support our teams in Israel, Palestine, Nepal, Haiti and Mexico.

We are also working towards creating more technical capacity for trauma relief in the acupuncture and medicine fields worldwide, by expanding our training offer beyond to the US to Germany, the UK, Greece and Australia. In the first quarter of 2022, we trained over 600 individuals in Europe and the Americas in battlefield acupuncture and the NADA protocol, to be able to create response capacity to the refugee crisis in Europe as a result of the war in Ukraine.

Finally, we are hoping to reach more Latin American countries through our Spanish-language trainings. For us creating local capacity is essential to guaranteeing wellness sustainability in the communities we are able to reach.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    We serve underserved, disenfranchised and traumatized communities. Some of the communities have experience long-term trauma and others have experienced trauma due to recent natural and/or man-made events.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    New board members and staff additions will make space to encourage applications from BIPOC communities to expand diverse leadership in the organization.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    We aim to be true to our intent to go where we are needed and contribute in ways that are effective to the communities we serve. We cannot be effective without the assessment of effectiveness and satisfaction with our services by the people we serve. We have been able to strengthen our national programs and include local leaders in meaningful ways to have them direct the actions and priorities of our ongoing programming.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently,

Financials

ACUPUNCTURISTS WITHOUT BORDERS
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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ACUPUNCTURISTS WITHOUT BORDERS

Board of directors
as of 07/13/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Verena Smith

AWB

Term: 2020 -

Beth Nugent

Walter Bosque del Rio

Nam Tran

Verena Smith

India Barkley

Natalie Folch

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 7/13/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Asian American/Pacific Islanders/Asian
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 07/13/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.