Early this month, the employees and patient volunteers at PCA hosted the annual gathering for the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture. Most of us arrived at the conference center on the shores of lake Scituate in great anticipation and excitement to finally be together with our comrades from around North America and beyond; and we all left feeling incredibly grateful and pleased about this movement and all the support and commitment its made of.
POCAFest was attended by about 120 people from as far away as Australia and Israel. Attendees included acupunks, clinic staff, POCA volunteers, patients, and people interested in enrolling in POCATech, which is the new school we’re starting to make an acupuncture education more affordable and relevant to working people.
A celebration and exploration of the multi-stakeholder co-op which is driving the sustenance and growth of community acupuncture, this was a pioneering event in the way it combined a professional conference with a gathering of all people involved in the movement, including patients.
The weekend was full of classes or workshops designed to inform about all things that pertain to doing community acupuncture. There were nuts and bolts presentations on treatment strategies and using quick books and marketing. But, many of the sessions focused less on acupuncture and more on issues of access, on widening the community in community acupuncture for both patients and clinic staff. Here are some of the things that groups met to think together about
- building community with POCA volunteers
- community acupuncture challenges that men face
- attending POCATech
- trans health issues and access
- being both a parent and a punk
We really focused on setting up the conference so that there was a lot of opportunity for everyone to tell their stories, both in the way we set up the classes but also in the way we allowed for a lot of play over the entire weekend. Whole families attended. And Saturday night featured a kind of coffee house open-mic with performances by punks, patients, and a POCATech student. Your team at PCA, along with folks from other New England clinics were responsible for a ramshackle but inspired puppet show and an interpretive dance/synchronized ballet, both about community acupuncture.
Feel free to ask us at the clinic about the event, or about becoming a POCA member. We might even do a little bit of our interpretive dance for you.