Online Program

Insta-acup and some pointed remarks: Group, medical acupuncture with homeless and poor women

Monday, November 4, 2013

Marcia Tanur, MD, Women of Means, Inc., Wellesley, MA
Nancy Defillippis, BA, Women of Means, Inc., Wellesley, MA
Roseanna Means, MD MSc, Women of Means, Inc., Wellesley, MA
Mary Smalarz, EdD, RN, School of Nursing, Regis College, Weston, MA
Group or community acupuncture has proliferated across western cities in the last two decades. Ready access and bargain costs attract patients and health care administrators. There is increasing evidence of acupuncture's effectiveness in treating symptoms of headache, menstruation, back pain, stomachache, substance misuse, and mental illness. Acupuncture continues to be portable and relatively low cost; this treatment could well be an ideal complementary therapy for homeless or poor women. Sometimes, our patients opt for acupuncture treatment as they are “food banking” nearby or as they (with their aching feet and backs) enter the wellness center for an over-the-counter pain pill. Our two wellness sites, located in a Northeastern medical hub, provide ”walk-in” first aid, gap care, medical advocacy, and even primary care. These group acupuncture visits, available two mornings a week, have increased healing options and diminished the cost of treatment. Sometimes participants have convinced nearby skeptical women to try this novel treatment. After two years (or 400 visits) into our unique, medical acupuncture innovation of Insta-acup for homeless women, we hope to describe qualitatively our successes, shortcomings, and insights. Our group service stand outs as the only, free American acupuncture designed for women and their specific wellness needs. We will gather feedback from our patients as well as health professionals in training who have been participant observers of urgent, generalist acupuncture. Cross disciplinary learning and exchanges among health professional students could culminate with acupuncture interns working alongside nursing and medical students to reach underserved women in pioneering venues.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Program planning
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Describe three reasons that poor women frequent ‘drop in’ acupuncture at women’s homeless shelters Examine how such women rate group acupuncture for chronic conditions Discuss how medical and nurse practitioner students regard group medical acupuncture

Keyword(s): Women's Health, Homeless Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been intensively caring for homeless women and families (and other underserved communities) for the last two decades. I initiated (and currently provide) group medical acupuncture in Women of Means’(WOM) wellness centers. As medical director of WOM, I design and implement versatile, wellness care for homeless families. Among my strong professional interests are increased access by poor women to CAM therapies as well as orienting nursing and medical students to medical acupuncture.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.