A General Medicine Acupuncture Practice
for Bloomington, Indiana
David A. Dawson, Ph.D.,
In late 2007, I moved back to Bloomington from Seattle to set up my acupuncture practice here. My practice is located in downtown Bloomington. In the style of the 'family practice' doctor, I welcome patients of all ages and with any concern.
I started practicing medicine with the idea that the remarkable gifts of Chinese medicine should be made available to patients in a calm, attentive and comfortable manner. I bring my nearly five years graduate training in Chinese medicine to the table, in addition to 18 years experience as a massage therapist, and ten years in practice as a state-licensed and nationally certified acupuncturist.
I am a gentle, attentive and thoughtful practitioner. I discuss options with my patients, and allow them to tell me what they would prefer.
Rather than the 'factory' approach so common in the healing professions, where a practitioner may see as many as 6 or 8 different patients in an hour, I prefer to spend the whole appointment time with the individual I am working with. I take time to listen, and to discuss with you any aspect of your health, diagnosis, treatment plan, or medical theory that you have questions about. You can count on my presence with you throughout the treatment - the patient is the center of attention, rather than the practitioner or the practice itself.
A Walk-in Acupuncture Clinic for Bloomington
While a student, and later as a practicing acupuncturist, I had the opportunity to volunteer at Kang Wen Clinic, a low-cost clinic for patients living on minimal income with HIV, AIDS, and other life-challenging or life-threatening illnesses. It taught me how simply a low-cost clinic could be run, while still meeting the needs of a diverse population who might otherwise have limited access to healthcare.
Kang Wen Clinic did not pretend to be a primary care facility, but did treat whatever patients were concerned about, whether it was reactions to the meds they were taking, anxiety about their health and well-being, or ongoing complications of their illnesses that their pharmaceutical medications were unable to address. Patients paid a minimal fee ($10 per treatment, at one point; it varied while I worked there, but it was found that patients took greater responsibility for being there and on time when they were expected to pay a small fee for their services), or applied for a fee waiver.
The clinic was set up in the basement of a downtown church, 8 or 10 massage tables set up in an open space. Patients got to know each other, and participated in supporting one another through their various difficulties. Two acupuncturists volunteered for each four-hour shift. They moved from one patient to another in the open space, and inserted needles or finished treatments, or checked on patients. The only private space was reserved for patient intakes, so that a certain amount of confidentiality could be maintained. A paid secretary kept track of payments and patient files.
It was a remarkably effective system, and busy. Those whom it served appreciated it deeply for its warmth as well as its medical care.
I would like to see something similar develop in Bloomington. It will not require much more than community support and a small outlay of money to purchase some massage tables, and a place to house them in between clinic shifts. The staffing of the office could be managed, at least initially, by a volunteer. Some form of steady financial back-up would be helpful for ensuring that supplies were maintained at an appropriate level.
It may take some time and energy to get the momentum going on this, but it would be a great asset in our community. Perhaps you would like to participate? I welcome your thoughts, encouragement and support.