Would you like to see DCA be open more hours, so that we could fit your schedule more flexibly–and treat more people? Would you like me to be able to take time off sometimes, without having to close shifts – and, more importantly, would you like to help ensure that the clinic doesn’t shut down if anything happens to me? Would you like to help the clinic provide rewarding, modestly-paying jobs to members of our community? Would you like the current staff to get paid slightly better, and have more stability in their jobs? Would you like us to open satellite locations closer to you or your dear ones? This is our dream! The ONLY way we can accomplish any of those things is to have more community acupuncturists working for us – and since we haven’t had much luck recruiting, we’re facing facts: we’ve got to train our own.
There are two solutions in the works, both of which are going to require a fair amount of patience and collective effort. The medium-to-long term solution is that we’re working on launching the first Community-Acupuncture oriented acupuncture school, POCA Tech (check out the website for lots, lots more about why we need our own school, more than you ever thought to ask about the state of the acupuncture profession, and how you can help – and stay tuned for the super fun fundraiser we have planned for February)!
POCA Tech is going to solve a lot of our problems, but here in Michigan we’re not sure we can wait three or more years for the first class to graduate. Therefore, Darlene (of CHAC in Ferndale) and I are going to try our best to turn out a couple of apprentices within the next year or so. Dianne Adank, who most of you know from our front desk, will be our first trainee! In her training so far, she’s shown a lot of the necessary qualifications for being a great acupunk: compassion, attention to detail, willingness to work hard, skill in working with her hands, and a great sense of humor. The next step, which will start this January, is to have her help out in the treatment room, by quietly observing, pulling people’s needles, keeping track of when people need to be done, etc. Eventually we’ll have her start needling people (probably for a reduced fee at first), but we’ll let you know when that happens.
Over the years, other people have mentioned an interest in studying and practicing acupuncture, but we weren’t ready to do this before now (in fact we’re barely ready now). We have one other potential trainee lined up, and probably can’t take on another until at least 9 months from now— that’s if this early experimental phase goes well. Those folks who may be interested in apprenticing in the future should email the clinic, and I will send you more information as soon as it is available (please do not call). For those of you who are just interested in learning a little more about acupuncture: in the course of developing our training materials, we think we can make some talks about more general topics open to the public. We will definitely post invitations to those when (if!) they happen.
Please note: this apprenticeship project involves a huge amount of unpaid work for Darlene and me (which we will essentially be taking a pay cut to do, because we have to work fewer hours to be able to do it right). We’re doing it out of a combination of desperation for help, love for our work, and a deep desire to see our clinics outgrow and outlive us. We’re going to be building this road as we travel, and we thank you in advance for being patient and understanding about any small bumps we may encounter. We hope that that this undertaking provides real benefit to our communities; and we wish you the best for the New Year!