The Go To Them Project with the Won Institute
For the Academic Year 2017-18, The Won Institute served veterans at the Veterans Multi-Service Center (VMC). VMC is in Center City Philadelphia and offers, as the name implies, multiple services to primarily low-income veterans. Students and staff worked one day a week in each semester serving an average of 58 patients per semester, with a total of approximately 160 served. They are adding a women’s-only group in October 2018.
The primary reported health benefit from the veterans at VMC is increased sleep and reduction in stress. This current fall semester, they are introducing a self-care module that will allow the veterans to apply ear seeds (auricular point acupressure) to continue the benefits of treatment for the days between visits to the center.
Auricular point acupressure (APA) is the placing of ear seeds at specific points along the inner and outer earlobe in positions that are indicated for issues like sleep, stress, cravings, mood, and pain. The effectiveness is well documented. A study referenced in the Journal of Behavioral Sleep Medicine indicated a marked improvement in sleep duration and waking after sleep onset when using auricular acupressure for four weeks. Another study on lower back pain indicated improvement after one week.
Each year they continue to participate in Operation Stand Down and on the very rainy September 8, 2018 they were able to serve 81 veterans, which matched the numbers from the previous year.
The Won Institute Veterans Clinic, Herbal Clinic, and Student Clinics provides an average of 80 treatments to veterans per semester.
While not specifically designed for veterans, they do serve veterans at the other Go To Them locations:
- Pennsylvania Recovery Center-Achieving Community Together (Pro-Act). Pro-Act is an addiction recovery center located in a low-income neighborhood in North Philadelphia. In addition, we offer services at ProAct Bristol. While not a specific veterans organization, the recovery population served includes veterans, as well as the caregivers at the locations.
- Steven Klein Wellness Center, part of Project Home. Project Home is a well-respected agency serving the homeless population, many of whom are veterans. Current and former homeless of the north Philadelphia area are served at the Wellness Center.
The Go To Them project has gained a reputation and many provider organizations are now seeking them out. They will be entering a fee-for-service arrangement with Office of Addiction Services of the DBHIDS and anticipate that the active self-care component will be folded into any agreement with a service provider.
One major impact from their service to veterans is the awareness gained through student training. The Acupuncture Students are exposed to the health needs of veterans and the status of veterans. Those who use VMC’s services are primarily low-or no-income and may also be homeless. Students are impacted by what they experience and become committed to continue their service within their own practices in the future.
Stay tuned for more inspirational stories and information from the Won Institute and the Go To Them Project.