This week we're taking an in-depth look at POCA.
What is POCA? It stands for the People's Organization of Community Acupuncture.
It all started when Working Class Acupuncture was founded in Portland, Oregon, in 2002, by acupuncturists Lisa Rohleder and Skip Van Meter. Lisa realized as an acupuncturists that the difference in her patient base was black in white-literally her patients were either extremely wealthy people who could afford the $60-75 price per treatment, or they were impoverished drug addicts she served while in rehab. There was no in between, no middle class, no working class patients.
According to the POCA site, pocacoop.com:
"The community acupuncture (CA) business model they developed is based on many of the traditional community styles of treatment often practiced in Asia. In setting up the first CA clinic, the founders asked some simple questions:
What were the barriers to people getting acupuncture?
What is really necessary for acupuncture treatments?
How can acupuncturists make a sustainable income providing treatments to more people?
In 2006, the Community Acupuncture Network (CAN, a non-profit) was formed by Lisa, Skip, and several others and by the end of 2006, 11 clinics had started practicing as community acupuncture (CA) clinics. Within two years, 32 clinics were in operation and the CAN forums were bursting with discussion as people continued to simplify and refine the CA model. Growth continued to increase: by 2009, 115 clinics were open, and Lisa, along with several CAN members, published Acupuncture is Like Noodles. The 200th CAN clinic opened in 2011; practitioners and acupuncture students turning to this affordable sliding-scale community model generated a critical mass of energy that propelled the CA movement into its next stage of growth and development.
On March 18, 2011, POCA formally incorporated in the state of Oregon to meet the growing demand for more clinics and support. POCA offers membership and leadership to community acupuncture patients, licensed acupuncturists, and those in training programs, community acupuncture clinics, and organizations who support their mission and members. "
When Lisa first started her CA clinic, she treated 12 patients a week. Today, she serves upwards of 850 a week and has more than 20 employees to help with the growing demand for affordable treatment-how incredible!
Today there are over 200 CA clinics in the United States, with clinics also in Canada, Europe, and Australia. I think it's absolutely amazing how much and how quickly Community Acupuncture has grown in the US, I believe it shows how large of a need for it there is . Alternative medicine is usually shunned by the mainstream or discredited, however, thankfully it's becoming more and more accepted. Is is both incredibly fortunate and unfortunate that Maplebrook is the only CA clinic in the state of Oklahoma, hopefully that will change soon. The more people we can treat as soon as possible, the better.
Until next week,