ABOUT US

Supporting Caregivers,
First Responders
& Community Members

ABOUT US

Healing Opportunities is a non-profit organization committed to facilitating NADA ear acupuncture treatment to assist in periods of transition, crisis and disaster relief. This protocol helps to reduce the negative health effects of stress and trauma. We focus on the often underserved population of caregivers, from health care providers to non-profit workers.

The fundamental concept of our Care for Caregivers program is to provide loving care for the caregivers in our community; a group of individuals and professionals who are overworked, and who continue to be in need of care themselves due to their focus on the patient, family member or the local community that they serve.

OUR MISSION

To promote health within Santa Barbara County by facilitating NADA ear acupuncture treatment to reduce the negative effects of stress and trauma for caregivers, first responders, healthcare professionals and community members in need.

OUR HISTORY

THEN

Founded in 2001 by Joann Tall and Scott Blossom, Healing Opportunities responded to what had emerged as a dire need for caregivers in our community, and took service to the homes of terminally ill patients, providing acupuncture care for patients and their caregivers. The signature program, Compassionate Care for Caregivers provided a multi-disciplinary application of functional medicine modalities, with services offered in Acupuncture, Acupressure, Yoga, Qi Gong, Reiki, Massage, Tuina, as well as practices for moving through bereavement, and more.

Practitioners worked in a variety of settings with the goal of alleviating stress and medical difficulties experienced by caregivers during, and because of the care they extend to others. Settings included patients’ homes, clinics, or a locale best-suited to the caregiver in need, where services were provided free of charge for caregivers, patients, staff, family and friends. A few organizations who benefitted from the service offerings of Healing Opportunities, were Hospice of Santa Barbara, Visiting Nurses of VNHC, Cottage Hospital, and the Santa Barbara Cancer Center, and more.

Recipient feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and demand for service affirmed the need, as daily log entries recorded the emotional and physical benefits that improved overall well-being for those who received care.

NOW

The fundamental concept of Compassionate Care for Caregivers, was just that – to provide loving care for the caregivers in our community; a group of individuals and professionals who are still overworked, and who continue to often be in desperate need of care themselves due to their focus on the patient, family member or loved-one.

The positive impact of caring for caregivers is immeasurable and we recognize that the need is greater than ever, so we endeavor again to generate compassionate care within the realms of our current offerings at Healing Opportunities.

Our ongoing efforts as a non profit service organization will build upon our history, strengthening the Santa Barbara community through holistic healing and collaboration with other organizations.

“ The fundamental concept of Care for Caregivers,

was just that –

to provide loving compassionate care for caregivers

in our community; individuals, and professionals

– who are often in desperate need of care themselves. ”

 

~ Joann Tall, Healing Opportunities Co-founder

Leadership

N. Scott Vincent

President

Nicholas “Scott” Vincent was born and raised in Santa Barbara, attending local public schools before transferring to The Thacher School in Ojai, California. He later received a bachelor of arts degree in economics from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, before attending the University of San Diego School of Law.
Scott served for 23 years as an assistant city attorney for the City of Santa Barbara, and retired in 2018. While there, he advised the Community Development Department and the Planning Commission on land use law, also advising the Finance Department, Fire Department, and Library Department for the city. Scott has been a longtime volunteer, involved with Special Olympics and the Down Syndrome Association, also assisting the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (CADA) by serving as a Teen Court judge for nearly 10 years, and currently serves as Board President of the SBCC Foundation. Scott has been a long time supporter of Healing Opportunities, and the organization is proud and fortunate to benefit from his leadership as President of the Board of Healing Opportunities.

Kimberley Green

Executive Director

Committed to mind, body balance and integrative approaches to health, Kimberley brings a strong nonprofit acumen to her leadership of Healing Opportunities. In prior roles, she empowered youth through wilderness education, created and led youth yoga programs, and developed curricula, episodic scripts, and programs for health education. She attended Western State College of CO and Portland State University (BA English), where her entry into the nonprofit sector began with Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro. She progressed to nonprofit development, and leadership roles with various youth advocacy and health promoting organizations, including United Boys & Girls Clubs of SB County, Girls, Inc. of Greater SB, Bragg Health Institute, and more.

With a desire to support broader application of the NADA protocol, to promote its efficacy, and to increase accessibility to its stress reduction benefits, Kimberley looks forward to growing outreach and programs at Healing Opportunities that will uplift our community.

Board of Directors

Kirstin C. McFarland

Interim Treasurer

Kirstin Candy-McFarland completed her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (with an Emphasis in International Relations) at UCSB in 1990 and later completed a Master of Arts in International Relations with a Business Emphasis, in 2008, from San Francisco State University.
Starting her accounting career in1992, she has worked with firms such as Howard Hudson and Company, CPAs, Robert Renaud CPA and Gerry Lipone, CPA.
In 1996, Kirstin established her own business, providing various accounting services under her new consulting firm, Accomplish More Business Solutions. She serves clients in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Francisco and the Bay Area.
With a focused emphasis on the implementation of technology and electronic, paperless workflows, Kirstin provides specialized services for diverse industries, within the nonprofit and for-profit sectors.
With nearly 30 years of accounting and business experience and direct knowledge of nonprofit business and financial process, Kirstin is an asset to the governance of Healing Opportunities, as Treasurer of the Board.
In her free time, Kirstin trains for, or directs triathlons with her husband, Jerrett. She is grateful for quiet moments, sitting in the garden at their home in Santa Barbara, watching their two kitties at play!

Julia Fraas, MBA

Secretary

A U.S. Air Force Veteran, Julia is a proponent of natural health and natural lifestyle choices. Her commitment to integrative health is a driving force in her life, and important to her support for the mission of Healing Opportunities.
A Michigan native, her military service took her to Charleston, SC, Incirlik Turkey A.B., and the island of Terceira in the Azores, with subsequent travels taking her around the globe. During this time, she earned her Masters in Business Administration, and is currently the PTA Vice President for Goleta Family School, and teaches in the Goleta Union School District, while raising her two adventurous daughters. Julia looks forward to the positive community involvement she can generate through her service to Healing Opportunities.

Ruth Ackerman, Ph.D., L.C.S.W

Director

Ruth provides a wealth of information and is a guiding force on the board at Healing Opportunities. Deeply involved in advocacy for NADA protocol ear acupuncture, she is a past president of the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association and remains active with the organization. As a Registered Trainer for NADA, she has taught and trained the NADA protocol nationally and internationally. In 1988 Ruth was instrumental in founding Project Recovery, an addictions treatment program, originally NADA Protocol, based in Santa Barbara.

Ruth is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been a practicing psychotherapist since completing her Masters in Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley in 1967. She was also awarded a PhD in Human and Organizational Development with an emphasis on non-profit management from Fielding University.

With early clinical experience in child and adult protection services, her work has been focused on macro and micro systemic interventions and trauma treatment including EMDR and other integrative modalities such as mediation and hypnosis.

Christian A. Guier, MD

Director

Dr. Guier is a Board Certified orthopedic surgeon working in San Francisco and Santa Barbara; privileged to do orthopedic surgery at California Pacific Medical Centers, as well as directing FastTrack Orthopedics, an orthopedic walk-in clinic at Orthopedic Institute of Santa Barbara.

A graduate of McGill University Medical School in Montreal, Canada, Dr. Guier’s credentials include a history in orthopedic surgery in Montreal, San Francisco, and Jackson, Wyoming, including physician and surgeon to the French National Ski Team, following a Sports Trauma fellowship in Lyon, France.

Dr. Guier has held appointments on numerous boards and committees, and is the recipient of various honors and awards. He offers his years of experience as a medical professional and his worldly perspectives to his position on the Board of Directors for Healing Opportunities.

In Memoriam

Rachil B. Vincent, L.Ac., C.N. 1970 — 2022

Beloved healer and organizational leader, Rachil B. Vincent passed on, on May 29, 2022.

Rachil was an integral force within Healing Opportunities from 2007 to 2022. We honor her and miss her warmth, her deep knowledge and her loving way of being.

She had an eclectic approach to healing; trained in clinical nutrition, holding a Master’s Degree in Oriental Medicine, which included: Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, Constitutional Dietary Training, Shiatsu, Cupping Tai Qi and Qi Gong (energetic healing), she enjoyed helping people heal themselves naturally. Through educating her patients she empowered them to access their bodies’ own healing powers: promoting health and preventing disease.

Founder of The Sage Center for Health: consisting of a private a practice as well as a corporate wellness program, Rachil. was dedicated to creating awareness and access to integrative medicine in our community. Having lived in Santa Barbara for over 20 years, she directly contributed and guided the efforts of Healing Opportunities since its inception in 2001, as an intern. Her dedication led her to serve proudly as President of the Board for many years, and served as Executive Director in 2021. Her legacy of pride and service will continue within the Healing Opportunities' mission.

Read more about Rachil's life: In Loving Memory of Rachil B. Vincent

Giovanni Maciocia, OMD, L.Ac., 1945 — 2008

Giovanni Maciocia was a powerful voice and leader in the world of Chinese medicine and a consistent supporter and guide for Healing Opportunities. His participation in our work and in medical education helped bring the acupuncture community together. We are grateful for his influential approach to Chinese Medicine which opened doors for the future of integrating western and eastern medicine.

A highly respected author, lecturer and practitioner of Chinese medicine. He trained in England at the International College of Oriental Medicine graduating in acupuncture in 1974 after a three-year course. He went on to study Western herbalism and graduated from the National Institute of Medical Herbalists in 1977. He attended three postgraduate courses in acupuncture (1980, 1982, 1987) at the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, one of the foremost teaching institutions in China, where he was later appointed Visiting Professor in 1996. There he gained invaluable knowledge and clinical experience helped by his ability to read Chinese which gave him access to Chinese medicine textbooks, old and modern.

Learn more about Giovanni on his website at: https://giovanni-maciocia.com/

John M. Ackerman, M.D. 1937 — 2020

Healing Opportunities honors the life work of early adapter, practitioner and advocate of the NADA ear acupuncture protocol, Dr. John Ackerman. Dr. Ackerman was a Medical Doctor and Psychologist at the forefront of innovation. He was a published researcher and skilled practitioner of auricular medicine, dedicated to the promotion and advocacy of the NADA protocol.

He educated the medical community to improve support for NADA treatment nationally and internationally; serving instrumentally in the initiation of the NADA protocol in Medical Reserve Corps. John was also dedicated to improved health care delivery through work with the Cottage Hospital Department of Psychiatry, SB College of Oriental Medicine, Medical Reserve Corps, and more.

We at Healing Opportunities and others who support and advocate for the benefits of ear acupuncture are indebted to the work and efforts of John Ackerman. John passed on August 20, 2020 providing a legacy for NADA through his many years of advocacy.

Read more about John's life here:

Dr. John Michael Ackerman, M.D., psychiatrist, and pioneer in integrative medicine, had a keen interest in the psychological impact of chronic illness on patients and their families.
John’s penchant for research sprang from his father’s participation as the subject and co-investigator of one of the pioneering studies on the use of warfarin (Coumadin) as a blood thinner.
After graduating in psychology from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!), John received his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin. While studying in Madison, he met his wife Ruth Watkins. They married in 1963.
He completed his straight medical internship at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, followed by his psychiatric residency in San Francisco at UCSF and Mt. Zion hospitals. All of this occurred while Ruth completed her masters degree in Social Welfare at UC Berkeley.
They both worked on the front lines during the Summer of Love.
From 1968-70 John served in the U.S. Public Health Service Division of Indian Health in Anchorage, Alaska, as director of psychiatric services for the indigenous people of the state.
John’s position required weeks of absence from his family as he visited the area hospitals by bush plane, including Nome, Barrow, Kanakanak, Tanana, Kotzebue and Sitka.
He sought to change the Bureau of Indian Affairs policy of forcing indigenous children to attend boarding schools, often thousand of miles from home. He also worked with village healers, and often utilized short-wave radio, the telemedicine of its time.
These experiences introduced John to alternative healing methods and the importance of community in supporting mental health. Always at the forefront of innovation, John began his studies in acupuncture in 1971; family therapy at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic in 1979; and ear acupuncture for treating anxiety, trauma, and substance abuse at Lincoln Hospital in New York City's South Bronx in 1981.
His interest in acupuncture led to him auricular medicine, with many trainings, conferences, and research projects in France. His practice and innovative research resulted in an esteemed award from the G.L.E.M. (Lyon Medical Studies Group).
In addition, for 11 years John travelled to the Netherlands to research subtle energy.
John was an active member of psychiatric and medical societies and presented numerous papers at national and international conferences.
Locally, he was active in the Cottage Hospital Department of Psychiatry, Santa Barbara College of Oriental Medicine, the Family Therapy Institute, Medical Reserve Corps (adding acupuncture to their resources), Montecito Emergency Recovery and Action Group, League of Women Voters and other nonprofits dedicated to improved health care delivery.
John will always be remembered for his patient, loving, compassionate and kind heart, his contagious laughter, his enthusiastic love of song and dance, and his devotion to his family.

Advisory Board

Scott Blossom

Co-founder

Scott Blossom is a licensed practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) specializing in acupuncture, lifestyle/diet therapy, and Chinese herbology. Scott has also studied closely with Dr. Robert Svoboda over the last eight years to incorporate Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle therapies into his work. Scott’s approach to yoga practice is based on his studies with hatha yoga master Zhander Remete who founded the Shadow School of Yoga.
A renowned thought leader and educator known for his depth and mastery of traditional Hatha Yoga. Both a clinician and a teacher, Scott’s passion for helping and healing people centers around empowering students and clients to listen deeply to their own inner guidance system.
Scott is co-founder of Healing Opportunities, along with Joanne Tall, L.Ac., and continues his support of the mission of caring for caregivers and the community through his role as Advisor.

Joanne Tall

Co-founder

Joann started her life's work in the study of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in 1972, and became a licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) in 1979, earning her Doctorate of Oriental Medicine in 1983.
She was the Director of the Santa Barbara Branch Campus of California Acupuncture College from 1981 to 1986, and co-founded and operated the Santa Barbara College of Oriental Medicine from 1986 until its closure in 2007. During that time, she and fellow acupuncturist, Scott Blossom responded to a present need in the community to provide much needed care for caregivers, and they co-created Healing Opportunities and its Compassionate Care for Caregivers model.
This original program informs the organization's mission today; and retains her passion to provide integrative medicine to those in need.
Joann is constantly amazed and thrilled to see the progress of Oriental Medicine in our country and in the world. Now, more than ever, all of the integrative modalities bring unique and powerful medicine to heal mind, body and spirit. Healing Opportunities continues to pave the way with introduction and integration of the NADA ear acupuncture protocol along with many other forms of integrative healing for our community.

Rob Croteau

A native of Santa Barbara, Rob Croteau, has served for several years on the Advisory Board for Healing Opportunities. Rob offers his knowledge of Business, Corporate and Transactional Law to support the mission and outreach of Healing Opportunities.

Diyana Dobberteen

A devoted yoga practitioner and scholar of Cultural Anthropology Diyana values the role of traditional healing practices, non-duality, and eastern medicine. In prior roles with Boys & Girls Clubs, Planned Parenthood and other human service providers, she implemented evidence based teenage pregnancy prevention models, advanced health education, and led continual program improvement. A graduate of UCSB (‘95) and Fielding Graduate University (‘17), Diyana has taught locally as an adjunct instructor (SBCC and Antioch), trained nonprofit staff in fundraising, and volunteered to enhance the community. Diyana looks forward to applying these skills and her training to elevate Healing Opportunities’ work and support its leaders.

Jacquelyn (Jackie) Sugich, L.Ac.

Jackie is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Massage Therapist and Yoga Teacher, offering her aptitude in health and wellness to support Healing Opportunities. She began her journey as a wellness practitioner in 1999, completing a massage therapy program at The School of Healing Arts in San Diego, including substantial coursework in eastern medicine and philosophy, influencing her pursuit of acupuncture. She earned her Masters in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from Santa Barbara College of Oriental Medicine in 2006, allowing for study abroad at TCM School of Wanzhou in Chongqing, China, where she worked closely with local hospital doctors. Jackie held a private practice in Santa Barbara from 2006 to 2012, volunteering with Hospice of Santa Barbara and Food from the Heart. After traveling the world for several years, as an on-board cruise line acupuncturist, Jackie decided to return to land and found her way to back to Santa Barbara, where she again holds a private practice and offers her time and support to Healing Opportunities.

LeAnne Thomason, L.Ac.

LeAnne is a licensed acupuncturist with a private practice in Cory, SC. She holds a Master's Degree in Chinese Medicine and has been working in the healthcare field since 2006. With a passion for bringing wellness and health education to the community, LeAnne owns and operates Grasshopper Education, an online health education company.
Bringing her background in wellness and education to the forefront in her support for Healing Opportunities, LeAnne focuses on increasing the accessibility and visibility of acupuncture and wellness in the broader community.
Having served Healing Opportunities as a member of the Board of Directors since 2007, (as a Director at Large, as Secretary, and most recently, as President of the Board). LeAnne continues her support on the Advisory Board, serving in a special capacity as Chair of our Program Development Committee.

Ann Van De Water

Kathleen Zisser, MD

Kathleen is a UCLA trained physician specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. She is also trained in Medical Acupuncture, Yoga therapy, Mindfulness, Guided Imagery and Reiki. She combines these areas of interest in her private practice East West Medicine of Santa Barbara where she uses medical acupuncture for pain management, orthopedic and neurological issues, stress reduction and wellness. A larger passion of Dr. Zisser is to bring many of these healing modalities into the hospital setting to provide truly integrated medical care that can address all of the complex needs of the hospitalized patient. She joined the board of Healing Opportunities in November 2013.

Our Team

Danelly Teutle

Operations Coordinator

Danelly is an integral part of Healing Opportunities, supporting operations for the organization from Indio, California. She is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara, with a degree in Communication, where she assisted in research dedicated to analyzing support that young language brokers receive. With her knowledge of organizational software and systems, as well as her experience in social media and marketing, she brings a myriad of talents and savvy to the team as Operations Coordinator. Danelly looks forward to applying all of her skills at Healing Opportunities, where she is contributing daily to the advancement of the organization's mission.

Amalia Ackerman

Administrative / Programs Assistant

Bio coming soon...

Amanda Kirk

Visuals & Social Media Assistant

Amanda Kirk was born and raised in Santa Barbara. As a local artist and active member of the community, she brings years of experience in visual development, graphic design and marketing to support the mission of Healing Opportunities. Amanda's extensive experience in the behavioral health field, and her first hand experience to the benefits of acupuncture enhance her role as Healing Opportunities' Visuals and Social Media Assistant.

Acupuncturists, Volunteers, Interns, other team members

Coming soon...

Coming soon...

Coming soon...

Previous Interns
Internship Opportunities Available Now

Riley Lindheimer

Communications and Public Relations Intern

Riley is the Communications and Public Relations intern at Healing Opportunities. Originally from Orange County, California, Riley is a recent graduate from the University of California, Santa Barbara with Bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Global Studies. Her experiences with the Jane Goodall Institute and completing a social marketing project for Just Communities in Santa Barbara have fueled her passion for helping people and the environment, particularly in the nonprofit sector. Volunteering for organizations such as Worldhealer’s UCSB Global Awareness Club in Santa Barbara and One Voice in Los Angeles have also allowed her to give back to the communities she loves.

Emely Mancia

Administrative and Events Intern

Emely is the Administrative and Events Intern for Healing Opportunities. She is a Salvadoran American who enjoys reading and drawing in her free time. She is a fourth-year transfer student at UC Santa Barbara, who is majoring in Communication. In the near future, she hopes to publish her own children’s book and start a nonprofit that provides more art programs in schools for children living in low-income communities.

Rozi Yesayan

Social Media and Fundraising Intern

Rozi is the Social Media and Fundraising Intern for Healing Opportunities. Originally from Los Angeles, California, she is a junior transfer at University of California, Santa Barbara majoring in Communication. She hopes to pursue her ultimate educational goal of earning a PHD and becoming a Communication professor or working as a social media coordinator for Disney.

Partnerships