This Path of Service

By Renee K. Barsa, L. Ac.November 13th,2008 was a day just like any other, except that the day became the evening that would change my life forever. It was the evening that the Montecito Tea Fire swept through the mountains outside of Santa Barbara, CA, taking with it hundreds of homes in a lash of furious winds and intense trauma. By the grace of my guardian angels, I escaped the wildfire alive, with the clothes on my back and my dogs. In the harrowing weeks that followed, I was blessed with the opportunity to experience firsthand the tremendous benefit of ear acupuncture for acute trauma. Acupuncture also allowed me to begin the process of healing from the loss of my home and my life as I knew it. What emerged from the ashes was a dedication to give back to the community that so supported me in my time of need.The following month, I attended the Level I trauma training with Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB) and the following year, thanks to the efforts of Healing Opportunities, began volunteering as an acupuncturist with our local chapter of the Medical Reserve Corps, a national disaster response and preparedness organization run through the Office of the Surgeon General. Through continued encouragement from Diana Fried, AWB’s founder, I have now obtained support of acupuncture from the Medical Reserve Corps on a National level, and am working to build a strong collaboration between the two organizations. Community acupuncture plays a unique role in being able to safely and effectively treat a large number of survivors of a disaster and/or first responders very quickly, without the need to verbalize.I will be speaking this May at the Integrated Training Summit in Nashville, TN, about the use of ear acupuncture for trauma/disaster response. This national conference is sponsored by the US Dept of Health and Human Services (HHS), and is an integrated medical, public health, preparedness, and response training summit, that brings together all HHS partner organizations, including the Medical Reserve Corps. My goal is to help establish a team of AWB-trained acupuncturists in every Medical Reserve Corps unit in every county across the nation, allowing all survivors of disasters to have free and easy access to ear acupuncture. It is a goal that together we can accomplish!

In June I will also be speaking about this work at the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) Annual Conference in New Haven, CT. By reaching and utilizing as many trained professionals as possible, we can be that much more prepared to effectively mobilize in the event of a disaster.

This is a historical chance for AWB-trainees volunteering with the Medical Reserve Corps to have immediate access to disaster sites and an established organization to work from. We have the opportunity and the green light to integrate our model of trauma treatment into the existing western structure, to transform the face of disaster care across the country. Thank you for your interest in this very important work, and I look forward to meeting you on this path of service!

Categories Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Posted on July 11, 2012

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