Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A look back at 2011 and moving forward to 2012

Hello all,
I hope this finds you well. We wish to thank you for your ongoing support these past years. We are so grateful for all your generosity and welcome future contributions. As you know Acupuncture Ambassadors is a 501(C) 3 non-profit organizations and all donations are tax deductible. You may donate this week and get the deduction for your 2011 tax return.

Our 2011 missions started off in March where my colleague and Director of Field Operations Adam French and me traveled to Nepal. It seems that Nepal is evolving into our Asian base of operations. It makes lots of sense as the country needs what our medicine can offer and the people and institutions are very open to us.

We worked with the Kathmandu based Acupuncture Association’s Hata Sensei, Dr. Bishal Shrestha and a number of accomplished local acupuncturists to treat at a 6 day free clinic. We were able to give almost 900 treatments to a very needy population.

We wish to thanks Hata Sensei for her incredible hospitality during our stay. She is a force for the medicine of acupuncture in Nepal. Her story is an incredible journey from Japan almost 20 years ago to creating an acupuncture school and a moxa factory serving and employing so many in this country. She treated us to a fantastic dinner at a French restaurant just outside of Kathmandu run by Japanese. She also prepared an amazing Bento Box lunch for us at the moxa factory. It had been some time since I was in Japan and her meal reminded me of what “real” home cooked Japanese food tasted like. Arigato Gozaimas Sensei!

We were also invited to present acupuncture for detox at Maya Nepal and Volunteer Home. These are two organizations working together to help so many drug addicts suffering in Kathmandu. We were very touched by the warm welcome by the patients and directors. It was a very successful day of treatments and education on the use of acupuncture for addictions and emotional issues.

We also presented a lecture and demonstration on “Acupuncture and Emotional Health” at a local Medical College. The doctors, nurses and medical students were eager to know more about our work and plans for future training programs and in discussion for 2012.

Adam and I have started the process of receiving our official license / registration to practice acupuncture in Nepal.

Upon our return we were able to start development on a project that has been brewing for quite some time. In the last few years Acupuncture Ambassadors has been pitching a television series proposal to a number of production companies. We have begun a partnership with two television producers in New York to create a documentary style-travel TV series based on the important work of the numerous Humanitarian Acupuncture groups and volunteers worldwide. The working title is: Point to Point: On the road with Modern Barefoot Doctors. It is our hope that this series will help mainstream the medicine of Acupuncture worldwide. We have 2 well known acupuncturists as hosts in consideration. We are currently looking for co-hosts to be an additional "face" of the series. If you are or know of an acupuncturist (western medical training a plus i.e. psychology, psychiatry, nursing, physicians assistant, wholistic MD, D.O., EMT, etc.) please write us at: info@acupunctureambassadors.org and attach a CV with a photograph. I would also be glad to send a copy of the TV treatment of this series.

In late May we were honored to connect with a distinguished New York Hospital who has developed a program to work with the local refugee population especially those members who have experienced the devastating effects of being tortured in their home country. There are over 90,000 refugees that call New York their new home. So many of them suffer from the physical and emotional scars of their torture. At this time we are working with this organization to add acupuncture treatments to their amazing services. We will keep you posted on our progress.

Just returned from a three-week trip to Nepal in October. As usual it was an amazing experience! I arrived in Kathmandu on October 2nd and was able to meet with Sylvia Kohn acupuncturist of the German Humanitarian Acupuncture group TCM Social Forum. They have been doing some incredible work in Nepal and Laos over the past few years. Sylvia and I have begun to form a strategic partnership with other fantastic groups to try and bring together as many Humanitarian groups to share our experiences, knowledge and resources to unite in mainstreaming Acupuncture into Global Healthcare. We have been working on attaching a Humanitarian Acupuncture forum to existing Chinese medicine symposiums being held in 2012. We will keep you posted as to our progress over the next few months.

We have recently started an online forum for those interested in Humanitarian Acupuncture on a terrific website: www.mediyak.com The forum is called Humanitarian Asian Medicine Community. You can join the site and the community by joining up on the Mediyak site. There are also a number of projects, links and discussions about this work on our newly launched website: www.acupunctureambassadors.org

While in Nepal we had the wonderful opportunity to work with Soraj Khanal, the Nepal director of a NGO called Service for Peace. They run two fantastic children’s homes in Nepal. The children are orphans and displaced families who are victims of the cival war that Nepal suffered in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. The beauty of these homes is that the children are from both sides of the conflict and living together peacefully. Amazing work.

Soraj invited us to work in a remote area of Nepal called the Terai. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terai) It is quite a poor and remote place and deficient in the way of healthcare in this area of Nepal. When we showed up, needles in hand, patients just came from many miles around. I joked with Soraj that in New York my patients come to my office by taxi and subway. In the Terai they come by wagon pulled by water buffalo.

My wonderful assistant Anjali Tamang, incredible local volunteers and I performed 370 treatments in 4 days. Overwhelming and at the same time incredible humbling and rewarding.

The Terai is also an area where their years long civil war started. There is still much reconciliation to be done there and we are looking at how the protocols of acupuncture could help in opening peoples minds and hearts to be forgiving and compassionate. We are calling the initiative "Acupuncture for Peace". We are exploring issues of reconciliation with psychologists and acupuncturists to develop a pilot program for this area and then move it to other places in the world.

When we got back to Kathmandu we had the tremendous opportunity to visit some hospitals in the Bhaktipur area of the Kathmandu Valley. Our friend and great supporter of acupuncture orthopedic surgeon Pradip Sapkota was our guide. In Bhaktipur we had a meeting with a teaching hospital and college of Health Science about adding an acupuncture course of study. The meeting was very positive and we are working on a proposal for this venture.

We also had the honor to visit Patan Hospital and observe and treat patients in the leprosy clinic. Although Leprosy is a curable disease so many in Nepal came to have treatment too late. They have had limbs and facial features distorted by this devastating disease. Dr. Sapkota has been doing amazing work to help with reconstructive surgery to bring more function for everyday activities for these patients. Heartbreaking and moving we saw patients in all states of the disease. The hospital was very open to having acupuncture therapy in the future.

We also met with a Nepali medical officer who is involved in research in the public health area. TB is still a huge issue where by statistical data some areas have 80% of their population effected by TB. Our friend and colleague Merlin Young of Moxa Africa (www.moxafrica.org) is working on Phase II of a study to use moxa to treat TB and Drug Resistant TB. We are working very hard to support his efforts. With this local medical officer we are trying to introduce this therapy in Nepal. Please go to the Moxa Africa website and support this important effort.

We also met with an incredible hospital and College for Health Sciences in Bhaktipur (just outside of Kathmandu) to discuss the possibility of creating and acupuncture training program for their graduates. They were so enthusiastic about the possibilities of having acupuncture training to their curriculum. We have sent them a proposal that includes the potential establishment of a three year masters degree acupuncture program within their college. I look forward to working with them on bringing a world-class program to this first rate medical center.

We plan to continue our efforts to build our profile in Nepal and introduce as many programs to this wonderful country. We are also getting invitations every week to working in many countries like Jordan, Columbia , Venezuela, India, Ghana and the New Republic of Sudan.

Unfortunately our planned trip to Amman, Jordan has been postponed due to lack of funding but we are committed to making this happen in 2012.

We have just connected to a new strategic partner in Jeffery Goodman, L.Ac. and his amazing work in the deeper understanding of the medicine of acupuncture. Please check out his website: http://webbrain.com/brainpage/brain/54C48125-4AB6-A954-BE99-EBFB1FD0CC05/#-1

Now that we are back in the States we are working harder than ever to help integrate the medicine of Acupuncture into Global Healthcare.

As always I thank you for your ongoing support.

Best to you,

Anthony M. Giovanniello, MS.Ac.,L.Ac.
Founder and Executive Director
Acupuncture Ambassadors