POCA / CAN
A WCA patient, looking at our map of community acupuncture clinics around the country, after reading our book Acupuncture Is Like Noodles: “I didn't realize you started this whole mess!”
Yes. We did indeed start this mess, otherwise known as the community acupuncture movement.
As Skip wrote in a blog post on the Community Acupuncture Network blog (more about that in a minute):
The above picture is of Working Class Acupuncture's map of Community Acupuncture (CA) clinics in the US and Canada. What is arranged on the outside are business cards from almost all of the CA clinics. WCA's patients can take and send the cards to people they know and love that live in cities across the two countries so they can experience effective Acupuncture, so they can experience relief.
This map actually predates CAN; it's one of the reasons why CAN exists. Back in the day (pre-2007) our patients would tell us how great our clinic was and ask if we knew of any similar clinics in (insert name a city in the US or Canada here) where they could send their mom or friend who couldn't afford Boutique prices as they had serious chronic conditions that needed frequent visits. We (Lisa Rohleder, Moses Cooper, and myself at the time) would say no, we didn't know of any other clinic like ours. After a couple years of saying no and being sad about it, we started to get mad. We wondered why Acupuncturists routinely charged prices that were way too high for most people to come often enough to get well. We wondered why it seemed that the profession didn't seem to care that 99%+ of the population of the US wasn't getting treated via Acupuncture. I mean it's not like the Yellow Emperor or Qi Po in the Nei Jing said that Acupuncturists needed to only treat the upper middle and ruling classes in this country. Or that the Sun Simao says that an Acupuncturists' self worth is tied to how high they set their prices. (that self-worth rationalization for setting a high price for treatment has got to be the dumbest idea in the acu-world. Hmm... Maybe we should make a top 10 list of Really Stupid Things Taught At Acupuncture Schools. Oh that could be fun. But I digress.)
So WCA started reaching out to other Acupuncturists and lo! we found a bunch of them who had similar ideas as our own! Imagine that! The second Community Acupuncture clinic was founded by Mary Saunders in Boulder in what eventually became Boulder Community Acupuncture. We were off and running...But we needed to get organized. WCA was starting to get all sorts of Acupuncturists visiting us for a couple of days, wanting to see what we were doing and while we loved talking with them it was tiring us out. So we offered our first workshop on how to make a CA clinic in October 2006 and after that workshop the Community Acupuncture Network was formed.
And ever since, one way or another, we have been trying to get organized. The Community Acupuncture Network turned out to be a beautiful thing, for a lot of acupuncturists and a lot of patients, but within five years we were starting to run into some limitations. Because we want to keep this story reasonably short, we'll skip to the important part: in order to continue to grow the community acupuncture movement, we realized that we needed a new kind of organization with a new kind of structure. And so the People's Organization of Community Acupuncture, a multi-stakeholder cooperative, was formed.
POCA (get it?) has four kinds of members: community acupuncture patients, acupuncturists, community acupuncture clinics, and organizations. The goal of POCA is to create a stable economic foundation for the delivery of affordable acupuncture. POCA, like WCA itself, is a social business. (Link to page 3c). Joining POCA allows patients, acupuncturists, clinics and organizations to invest in the community acupuncture movement.
To learn more about POCA, visit the POCA website: www.pocacoop.com
Or read this blog post: http://www.communityacupuncturenetwork.org/blog/poca-stroke-belt-and-little-bird
Or read the POCA member handbook: ( link coming soon)
Or read the Little Red Book of Community Acupuncture, #3.
Or watch our documentary.