Traumatic events such as the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have had profoundly stressful effects on the American population.
However, the attacks have also produced some positive results. One result of the tragedy of last September is a new agreement, which has been reached between the Washington, D.C. Acupuncture Society (DCAS) and the D.C. Emergency Management Agency (DCEMA). As a result of the agreement, any acupuncturist in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area (or anywhere in the country, for that matter) can register to provide emergency health care support should it be needed.
This September, Joe Dente, LAc, a graduate of the Pacific Institute of Oriental Medicine and volunteer at the World Trade Center site, and I met with Steven Charvat, Director of Training and Planning at DCEMA. Arrangements were made so that in the event of a future emergency in the metropolitan area, Mr. Dente and I would be on call to provide acupuncture services. This arrangement began immediately from the time of the meeting. Mr. Charvat is writing a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that will formalize this arrangement.
The District of Columbia is a federal district with special jurisdictional status. Last September 11, D.C. acupuncturists could not provide their services because of the federal emergency in and around the District and their lack of federal clearance. This past year, the D.C. Acupuncture Society has been working to gain access to these areas, which are under the authority of DCEMA, not the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). For security reasons, DCEMA will issue passes to those acupuncturists identified by DCAS as licensed acupuncturists. Because of a mutual assistance compact signed by all states except California, Hawaii and Alaska, all licensed acupuncturists in compact states and the District may lend aid in the event of another tragedy in or around Washington. (New York was not a member of this compact on 9/11; one of the first acts of the New York Assembly on September 12, 2001 was to ratify this compact, which it did unanimously.)
The DCAS is asking all licensed acupuncturists to register as volunteers for future eventualities. To do this you will need to submit Xerox copies of your current acupuncture license and a cover sheet for medical malpractice insurance. (No policy limits are needed.) We will also need a contact e-mail address, along with other contact numbers (e.g., telephone numbers) and a physical street address sent to one of the people listed below.
In the event of an emergency, contact will first be attempted via the Internet, then telephone. Notification of an event may very likely be made by local media, rather than by emergency management.
DCAS is collecting a registry of volunteers who are willing to come out and assist others in acupuncture treatment. There are only about 35 active licensed acupuncturists in Washington D.C., a city of 600,000. During an average workday, an additional 600,000 people work in the city. Were an emergency to occur, the acupuncturists here would be hard-pressed to make do. The District is a target-rich environment, and there is great concern here about future events.
To participate in the DCAS volunteer registry, please contact one of the following:
In Maryland: David Blaiwas, Dipl.Ac., President, Maryland Acupuncture Society E-mail:
Telephone: (301) 270-2117
In Virginia: Joan Lewis, MAc, LAc, President, Virginia Acupuncture Society Telephone: (703) 642-8404
In Washington, D.C.: David Vandenberg, PhD, MAc, President, D.C. Acupuncture Society E-mail:
Telephone: (202) 483-5911