2017, like 2016 before it, was a hard year for a lot of people. I’m a big fan of year-end gratitude lists, *especially* when it was hard.
At the top of my gratitude list is POCA, particularly for its most recent donation to POCA Tech — $14,500. $10,000 of that was part of POCA’s regular twice-yearly donation to POCA Tech, which helps enormously in keeping our tuition affordable for students. An additional $4500 of that covered the last payment to Measurement Inc, the psychometrics firm that led us through our Job Task Analysis.
Speaking of the JTA: we’re still sitting on a pile of data that we have yet to crunch, but what we’ve already crunched is hugely helpful to us as we’re preparing for POCA Tech’s initial accreditation site visit from ACAOM. That will happen sometime this spring (still waiting to hear about the date). It seems like the point of this site visit is looking at how our school evaluates itself, and given our mission, I can’t think of a better way for POCA Tech to validate its program and curriculum than a Job Task Analysis of what punks are actually doing in POCA clinics.
So thank you, yet again, to POCA for the donation.
And also, thank you to all of the POCA punks who took the time to fill out our JTA.
POCA Tech is also very grateful for the patient members of the co-op and their many, many contributions. Patient members and volunteers who participate in the membership drives make POCA’s donations to POCA Tech possible.
And then there are the patients like Julie from Many Rivers Community Acupuncture, who run their own fundraisers for POCA Tech and send us the proceeds. Thank you, Julie and all the other patients who support our school in this way!
And thank you to the patient members of POCA who volunteer for essential functions like serving on the Board of Directors, making our monthly newsletter happen, and all the other behind-the-scenes functions we couldn’t do without. Thank you to Bob, Donna, Carol, Gloria and all the other patient members who support our cooperative with their time and talents.
Finally, in thinking about gratitude, I’d like to quote from a paper written by one of POCA Tech’s Cohort 1 students:
“I have long understood that CA is a model designed to benefit “regular people,” but in seeing the world through my own hetero-masculine whiteness, “regular people” has habitually meant folks of what I might call the upper working-class. Teachers, office workers, welders, carpenters, musicians… folks from everyday professions who are mostly making ends meet, albeit modestly and certainly not without difficulty. And I’ve understood the importance of making acupuncture available to those people — the people of “my” community.
POCA Tech has helped me develop my class consciousness and expand my sense of community. It has encouraged me to see my own privilege in a clearer light. As my awareness of just how vulnerable so many people are, how precariously so many lives are lived, and just how far “below” those working class professions the ladder of desperation goes, my understanding of who these underserved communities are, and with it my appreciation for the subtleties of the practice, has grown that much deeper. From the appearance of the building and the way practitioners dress (the “de-professionalization” of “the medicine”), to the structure of the intake forms and the manner in which punks communicate with patients, these aspects of the practice of Liberation Acupuncture are not merely for the comfort or ease of the practitioner, norare they random. They are consciously designed to non-verbally communicate a message of welcomeness and accessibility to the widest possible range of patients, including those among the most marginalized groups in our society. This aspect of the practice, and the effect it has had on me, cannot be overemphasized.
This expanded sense of just who “regular people” are and how challenging their lives are, how real their pain is, is one of the biggest gifts I’ve received as a student at POCA Tech, and one of Liberation Acupuncture’s signature contributions to the world. It’s the fact that LA is grounded in practice — in action — that has actually changed my habits of thought, changed the images that habitually pop into my mind when I think of “regular people.” Working in the clinic has exposed my various privileges in a deeply personal, tangible way — it’s been a humbling and transformative experience and I am thankful for that!”
Thank you, POCA, for making so many good things possible.