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

Carla Casler

Main address

3439 NE Sandy Blvd503.477.9731 3304

Portland, OR 97232 USA

Show more contact info

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

Integrative medicine is the future of medicine. It is critical, especially at this time, that our 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, and resilience is how we can survive and thrive 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. In addition to this, AWB and its community partners will provide other essential integrative medical services,

Trauma patterns are not just psychological in nature. Post-traumatic stress is a physical condition, wreaking havoc with the brain, nervous system, and metabolism. Somatic interventions, like acupuncture, begin the healing process by re-regulating the body, so that a person can process emotional trauma. Otherwise, the person is “stuck” in flight, fright or freeze, creating chronic physical or mental illness. Extreme traumatic stress is often transferred to the next generation, resulting in significant social problems for individuals, families, communities and nations.

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.

Acupuncture helps prevent and resolve trauma by “resetting” the nervous system, enabling us to move beyond fear, to think rationally and cooperatively. 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 non-profit organization, dedicated to providing
treatment, training and education to Israelis and Palestinians about the benefits of
trauma healing
• Provided over 10,000 treatments in Palestinian villages, Jewish settlements, for
displaced Sudanese refugees, for 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 created the MSRP program during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan because so many soldiers and veterans were suffering the effects of trauma without effective treatment within the military medical system. 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.

Clients at MSRP clinics experience benefits such as a full night’s sleep for the first time in years and fewer bad dreams. They experience improved mental clarity, less anxiety and depression and a renewed interest in social relationships and community. Many subsequently report that they are able to reduce medication dosages for a wide variety of symptoms that are co-morbid with stress and post-traumatic stress, including pain and insomnia.

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, including populations such as: elders, people with limited access to healthcare and refugees.

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:
Between January, 2019 and March, 2020, AWB-trained acupuncturists took five service trips to Brownsville, Texas-Matamoros, Mexico, offering free acupuncture treatments for migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and community first responder volunteers at the International Bridge that connects the two cities. These treatments were offered in border encampments to alleviate pain and traumatic stress experienced by people affected by violence, poverty, torture, and displacement from their countries of origin. AWB also treated community volunteers who often suffer secondary trauma as a result of extremely stressful support work with migrant communities.

AWB collaborates with community first responder organizations, including Las Angry Tias & Abuelas of the Rio Grand Valley, Team Brownsville, and Catholic Charities, that assist asylum seekers with food, water, clothes, transportation assistance, shelter, medicine, and toiletries. AWB’s provides a critical missing element: Trauma-informed mental health support for migrant families and volunteers who suffer significant levels of pain and post-traumatic stress.

AWB’s direct service work was paused in March 2020 due to CoVid, and is expected to resume in the spring-summer of 2021. AWB is seeking funding for this program, which includes setting up “mobile clinic” treatment teams to provide acupuncture treatments, as well as training for local health professionals on the Mexico side of the border to expand service capacity and a sustainable service program.

International:
Since May 2016, AWB has offered trauma-healing treatments in Greece where over 60,000 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. Immigrating to EU countries like Germany is not a possibility for them because they migrated to Greece after the border to the rest of Europe was closed in March 2016. They are stranded in Greece until they receive asylum there, or are likely to be deported back to the Middle East. Greece cannot provide an economic future for them (many Greeks have no work) and deportation can mean death.

AWB is the first organization that we know of that has brought 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. In October and December 2016, AWB trained 20 Greek practitioners who are working in teams to offer treatments twice weekly at the Ritsona and Oinyfyta camps. Since May 2016 AWB has sent eight volunteer teams to Greece. In early 2021, AWB was officially incorporated as an NGO in Greece and is in the process of starting a community acupuncture clinic in the city of Athens focusing on treating refugees and residents of Athens. From there, AWB hopes to expand capacity to other parts of Greece and Europe where refugee and migrant communities are located and whose access to mental health services is limited.

Moving forward, AWB intends to:

- Create new refugee support clinics in the US. We especially intent to build on our trauma-relief project at the Texas/Mexico border in Brownsville, TX, to treat migrants, asylum seekers and community first responders.
- Continue direct service in the refugee camps while maintaining biosafety protocols in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Train more Greek acupuncturists to provide treatments. We are supporting them by offering training, transportation and supply stipends.
- Train acupuncturists in European countries such as Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands who are working with over 1 million resettling refugees.

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

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 have developed and implement a mobile clinic format for trauma relief, where we are able to 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.

We have been offering in-person trainings for over a decade and have recently expanded to 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 populations in need. Finally, we are currently working on making our training material available in Spanish so as to reach practitioners and communities in need in Latin America.

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 Veterans nationally, as well as one clinic that serves 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. In 2021, we plan to continue these clinics and to expand 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 hope to establish 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. 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.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • 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,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    New board member and staff additions will be from BIPOC communities to expand diverse leadership in the organization.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

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

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

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

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

ACUPUNCTURISTS WITHOUT BORDERS

Board of directors
as of 8/30/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Verena Smith

AWB

Term: 2020 -

Beth Nugent

Laura Wolf

Ramon Serrano

Walter Bosque del Rio

Nam Tran

Verena Smith

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 ? Not applicable
  • 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 02/11/2021

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
Jewish
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/17/2020

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 seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • 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.