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Acupuncturists Allowed to Return to Louisiana to Help Hurricane Trauma Victims:

Acupuncturists Allowed to Return to Louisiana to Help Hurricane Trauma Victims:
Medical Board Rules that Out-of-State Volunteer Acupuncturists Can Come Back
May 17, 2006

Diana Fried, Executive Director of Acupuncturists Without Borders ("AWB") announced today that the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners ("LSBME") enacted an emergency regulation on May 16, 2006 to allow out-of-state licensed acupuncturists to again offer free trauma relief treatments to victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. This was done pursuant to an agreement worked on by AWB, LSBME representatives and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals ("DHH"). The rule becomes effective on June 1, 2006.

AWB, which has already provided over 4000 free treatments in the Greater New Orleans area since Hurricane Katrina, was forced to suspend its operations earlier this year when the emergency authority under which its volunteer acupuncturists were operating in Louisiana expired.

As anyone who has witnessed the current situation in New Orleans knows, the stress and trauma continues to be enormous and the need for help is urgent. According to a Reuters article (Feb. 16, 2006): "Up to a third of those who lived through the death and destruction of Hurricane Katrina may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and cannot find treatment, mental health professionals said Wednesday.

Symptoms of the syndrome, known as PTSD during the Vietnam War but first recorded during the Civil War, include insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, estrangement and attempted suicides." Executive Director Fried stated that: "Untreated trauma can lead to more violence, despair, health problems, and difficulties with recovery. We hope to begin operating as soon as possible after the emergency rule becomes effective. We have already begun contacting volunteers from around the county, who will need time to make work and travel arrangements. Funding is, of course, a major issue."

Fried also noted that a new, complicating factor is that FEMA has announced that it will close its volunteer housing facilities as of June 1st. "We relied on the FEMA tent cities to house our volunteers. The closing of these facilities is terrible news to us," said Fried.

AWB's Director of Policy and Planning, John A. MacDonald, J.D., worked along with Board member, Keith C. Ferdinand, M.D., Board Attorney Philip O. Bergeron, and Erin E. Brewer, M.D., M.P.H., Assistant State Health Officer and Director of the Center for Community Health, Office of Public Health, DHH, to fashion the legal authority that

Acupuncturists Without Borders, founded after Katrina hit New Orleans, offered free community treatments for stress and trauma in New Orleans from October 2005 into February 2006. Rotating teams of volunteer professional acupuncturists from across the country offer their unique services to health clinics, food distribution centers, Red Cross shelters, mobile units, churches, and the tent cities and hotels housing relief workers. Early reports from AWB data collected indicate that 98.4% (out of a preliminary sample of 250 people) of all people treated want more treatments, and 98% would recommend it to someone else.

homepage: homepage: http://www.acuwithoutborders.org/index.php