One of the best things about POCA, I think, is that it’s based on self-organizing: members are free to identify needs and then work together to meet them. Recently, a group of POCA members in different states/provinces (Arizona, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and Ontario) began discussing the possibility of a POCA-specific auricular acupuncture training program for non-acupuncturists.
Obviously, this work is inspired by NADA, and undertaken with the recognition that NADA as an organization has laid immense groundwork to move it forward for several decades. There are four main reasons for developing a separate program: 1) NADA and POCA have many similar ideals, but they’re structurally very different, and in some states/provinces it’s been challenging to work out the glitches; 2) POCA members are requesting some specific program content around trauma informed care and the social, rather than personal, factors of addiction/social determinants of health; 3) given that POCA has patient members who could benefit from this training, it makes sense to develop something that those members could access through the co-op itself rather than asking them to join another organization; and finally, 4) above all, in light of the opioid crisis — alongside the ongoing epidemics of trauma and chronic/persistent pain — there’s such an overwhelming need for this kind of training, it’s just practical to have multiple programs available.
More people could benefit from auricular acupuncture training than NADA and POCA together could ever serve. As Sandra L. Bloom, MD, wrote: “There are so many traumatized people that there will never be enough individual therapists to treat them. We must begin to create naturally occurring, healing environments that provide some of the corrective experiences that are vital for recovery.”
Sara Bursac, NADA’s Executive Director, had a very kind response to POCA’s new project:
I know that Mike always encouraged for this work to be widely spread, and in that spirit, I hope that the POCA group involved with developing a parallel track will create something that will stand to serve many communities within and outside of POCA. There is certainly a need. And, as he always said when presented with ideas like you are writing about – Just do it.
We’d appreciate your feedback and would like to keep and open-ended exchange of information going so that we both can learn from each other’s experiences. And while our trainings will be considered distinct, as you said, we will both continue to support each other in increasing access to acupuncture.
Because of POCA Tv, our online courses, the forums, and of course POCAfests, the co-op already has a lot of the infrastructure we need to roll out a training program that takes advantage of our organizational strengths: consistency, transparency, experimentation, and information sharing. We hope that our infrastructure will also make it easy to compare notes and share outcomes with NADA, to the benefit of both organizations. The goal is for the NADA protocol to get into the hands of many more communities that need it.
So! This program is still in the development stage with much still to be decided, including its name — but speaking of POCAfest, we’re hoping to do a trial run of the training at Milwaukee POCAfest in the spring. Please stay tuned for details. If you have immediate questions, the organizers — Ellen, Caroline, Cris, Susan, Amy and Olive — will be responding to this thread inside the forums, so please ask them there.