Photo credit: Jade Fang of Jade Community Acupuncture
During the POCAfest keynote address, Alexa Hulsey of East Nashville Community Acupuncture provided an impressive summary of what POCA co-op has accomplished since its inception, and invited the participants to envision where POCA will go next and to write down their wishes and ideas throughout the weekend.
When I completed acupuncture school in 2007, there were no acupuncture jobs. Graduates were expected to open up their own private-room practices and to charge charge $50-100 per visit. Today's graduates now have the option of being hired at existing CA clinics. Over 1 million acupuncture treatments in 2014 happened in community clinics. In fact, we estimate that 1/6th of all acupuncture treatments given in the US in 2014 took place in POCA clinics.
Today, it is rumored that 1/3rd of existing US acupuncture schools will close or merge in the next few years because of concerns that their graduates cannot obtain gainful employment. POCATechnical Institute (POCATech) is the only new acupuncture college to emerge recently. POCATech was a glint in the eye of POCA founders three years ago. This month, POCATech's first class has completed its first year – at a fraction of the cost that they would pay at other schools. On the wish list that POCAfest attendees created over the weekend, someone wrote: “A POCATech branch in New England” and someone else wrote: “A dozen POCATech branches”.
Break-out sessions during the weekend included: Community Acupuncture 101 for people wanting to open new CA clinics; business operations sessions for front desk staff, owners, and employees; sessions for sharing favorite acupuncture techniques; a workshop on welcoming diversity; a large discussion on developing our sensitivity and capability for treating trauma survivors; and a session on creating alternative business models – co-ops and nonprofits. All of the sessions I went to were well-attended with lots of informed Q+A. Clearly, participants were sharing useful information for tasks that they cared about, tasks that they were in the middle of dealing with.
Being at POCAfest let me see myself as part of a group that shares ideas, states its wishes, gets things done, and changes the world. It's an inspiring place to be.
POCAfest moves to Marin Headlands, California for the weekend of Sept 26-28, 2015. POCAfest is open to POCA members, friends, and family – patients, acupuncturists, clinic owners, and affiliated organization members. Marin Headlands is a beautiful setting on the beach. Bring your family, hike, watch the surfers, get treated at the drop-in POCAfest acupuncture clinic, meet your peers, learn more about Community Acupuncture. Come take a peek over the horizon and be refreshed and re-invigorated.
~ by Pam Chang, June 2015