Using Acupuncture and Traditional East Asian Medicine to Combat Health Disparities in Texas

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Community Programs
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I am a Licensed Acupuncturist who has been practicing acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine since 2005. I am also a Doctoral candidate at Pacific College of Health and Science. My vision has always been to bring whole health and this traditional medicine to the underserved populations of my community. 

In 2001, after two years of discussions, I accepted a position as one of the first Licensed Acupuncturists in a large safety net hospital, and have successfully instituted acupuncture services in a multidisciplinary collaborative outpatient setting there. 

Still, unaddressed barriers to care stood in the way. Transportation challenges and the inability to afford the acupuncture treatments due to complicated billing practices and uneven insurance coverage kept patients from receiving treatment. I am determined to find a way to make this care more accessible to those who most need it. 

The motivation behind this goal is to leverage the preventative aspect of this indigenous medicine in order to narrow the health disparity gap over time. There are large, long-term observational studies showing that acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine have the potential to reduce the risk of patients developing two of the chronic diseases most often noted in discussion of health disparities: cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes, when seen with other co-morbidities. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine is inexpensive, portable, and easy to deliver by a fully trained and Licensed Acupuncturist. In the process of fostering health equity, removing barriers to acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine is an important and underutilized way forward which I want to promote and facilitate. 

President, Clinician
Hawken Acupuncture

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