Acus Foundation

Newsletter N°17 | May-June 2019

The newsletter of Acus Foundation, bringing life-changing medical acupuncture to our nation's service members and veterans.

Letter from the Acus Team

We are proud to present the second gratitude issue of our newsletter, now an annual tradition at Acus Foundation.
     Please take the time to read the words of appreciation from the military physicians that your donations helped to train in Acus medical acupuncture.
    “With acupuncture, I don’t have to tell my patients that they will have to live with their pain and dysfunction for the remainder of their lives,” said one member of this year’s graduating class. “It is life-changing.”
      “Acupuncture makes unthinkable treatment outcomes a reality,” said another graduate.
      Patients jump off treatment tables, laugh their way out of exam rooms, and dance down hospital corridors, bewildered and ecstatic that their pain is gone, thanks to their treatment with Acus medical acupuncture.
     Your gifts have supported our mission to bring life-changing medical acupuncture to those who serve. Veterans, active-duty service members, as well as their families and friends all benefit from the drug-free pain relief.
     Thank you for your support of Acus Foundation. We are ever grateful.
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In this issue:
1. From the Acus Team
2. Words of Gratitude
3. 2019 Graduation
4. Preceptor Doug Powell
5. Upcoming Events
Help Acus Foundation heal our nation's service members and veterans with medical acupuncture.
Make your tax-deductible donation today.

Words of Gratitude

Members of the Class of 2019 express their thanks to you––our beloved donors!––because your generosity made their specialized training possible. There is no other program in the world that trains physicians as rigorously and comprehensively in medical acupuncture as that of Acus Foundation. Your gifts have helped to alleviate the pain and stress of so many patients in the here-and-now. What's more, your gifts will continue to have an impact as our graduates mature as physicians and carry forward their medical acupuncture skills to serve their patients in the future.

With the skills I’ve learned, I’ve been able to help patients who have suffered for years without relief from conventional treatments.
I have seen patients come off of long-term medications, regain function in injured joints, and rejoin their friends and families in the activities of daily life.
I’ve been able to help patients resume their lives after the disruption of injury or illness in a way I never could before!”

––Capt. Noah Cooperstein, MD (Scott AFB)
"I have been able to treat a multitude of patients with both emotional and physical trauma who previously had no hope for improvement, and provide them with an avenue for a 'normal' life."
––Capt. Kendall Vogel, DO (Eglin AFB)

“The empowering part of learning acupuncture has not only been the academic explanation, but also far, far more impressive has been patient after patient getting off the exam table saying, 'I feel better.' There is nothing better than that moment… It’s not enough to say that it’s lives changed. It’s lives saved. And this is why I truly thank you for your contribution to Acus Foundation.”
––Capt. Christy Broszko, MD (Eglin AFB)
Acupuncture makes unthinkable treatment outcomes a reality. I’ve both seen and experienced it. I look forward to the opportunity to share the gift of acupuncture with countless patients in the years to come. Thank you for all you have given me and my patients through your gift to the Acus Foundation. Without you, none of it would be possible!”

––Capt. Julie Creech, DO (Eglin AFB)
“I had the opportunity to deploy in the middle of my acupuncture training… my skills were invaluable in helping my patients who were away from home and loved ones, working more and under more stress… they often felt that something ‘needed to be done.’ Once again, I had acupuncture to offer. People had amazing responses with improvements in pain, mood, and sleep… I have seen first-hand the impact it has on our active duty members, deployed service members, and dependents!”
––Maj. Sabrina Silver, DO (Eglin AFB)
“I have discovered an entirely new paradigm from which to view health, the human body, and way to treat common ailments that I otherwise have been unable to do. I’ve consistently seen patients’ chronic pain reduced 50%, sometimes even 90-100%. Equally remarkable are the effects on the psyche. Acupuncture is invaluable to the primary care physician treating patients in our high-stress society... One acupuncture treatment took a patient from unbearable pain to 0/10. He was beside himself. To see our patients laughing as they leave our doors is a truly great reward.
––Capt. Dylan Tracy, DO (Eglin AFB)
“My time in the Acus course has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my graduate medical training...
it has revitalized my original desires in becoming a physician:
to care for those in harm's way."

––Capt. Alexander Marquez, MD (Nellis AFB)

“It has changed the way I will practice medicine forever… Acupuncture not only helps me treat common medical problems more effectively but also provides a way to address the much more important emotional and spiritual side of medicine. I am energized and excited again about medicine in a way that I have not been since I started medical school years ago.”
––Capt. Jared Eames, DO (Nellis AFB)
“Over the course of the past year, I’ve been able to use my acupuncture training to help my patients in ways I’ve previously thought unimaginable…I have been able to treat patients in areas that conventional medicine comes up short. The techniques I’ve learned… will continue to be an important part of my medical practice in my military career and beyond.”
––Capt. Anna Wiley, MD (Scott AFB)
“I cannot tell you the number of times I have had a patient get off the treatment table, move around, and then look at me with a bewildered face. “Where did the pain go?” and “Is it possible?” are among the many questions they ask as they move around trying to find or intensify their pain. It is not uncommon to be told that they have not felt 'this good' in years.”
––Capt. Rebecca Peebles, DO (Offutt AFB)

"I feel now that I can meet a person as a whole entity, gather all the important information about them and their issue, and tailor a treatment that will make them feel better before they leave my office. Most doctors can’t do that. Acupuncture training has given me this invaluable skill set, like a super power… I intend to make you very proud by helping so many more people than would have ever been possible.”
–Capt. Brooke Organ, DO (Eglin AFB)
“Acupuncture has changed how I see and treat patients. There have always been those patients with chronic stress that would not resolve despite my best efforts. With acupuncture, I don’t have to tell them that they will have to live with their pain and dysfunction the remainder of their lives. It is life changing.”
––Maj. (ret) Kevin Eckersley, PA-C, DMSc (Las Vegas VA)
“I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude for the ability to learn medical acupuncture… It has given me an entirely new level from which I can communicate with, relate to, treat, and heal my patients. Patients who had exhausted Western medical options now have new hope and subsequent relief.”
––Capt. Carol Hungerford, DO (Nellis AFB)
“As an Air Force physician, I have been able to treat so many people that had not yet been able to find help or relief. I have seen drastic differences in stress and decreases in pain.”
––Capt. Megan Cook, DO (Nellis AFB)
Healing acupuncture has given me a way to connect with my patients on a more personal level that I haven’t been able to do previously.”
––Capt. Matthew Wright, DO (Offutt AFB)
“In the military population, we see so much TBI, PTSD, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain that Western medicine is not able to treat. It is very gratifying to be able to offer medical acupuncture treatments, which change the lives of our military members for the better."
––Maj. Monika Krzyzek, DO (Ft. Belvoir)
A graduate of the Class of 2019 receives her certificate from Acus Founder, Joseph Helms, MD, while Acus Preceptors stand by to offer their congratulations.

Congratulations, Acus Graduates!

Class of 2019 Represents Air Force, Army, and VA Physicians

LAS VEGAS, Nev.–––In early June, the Acus team celebrated the graduation of its fourth class of physicians who will carry forth the philosophy and the practice of “think acupuncture first” into the world of medicine.
     “Acupuncture has re-sparked my curiosity and reinvigorated my desire to continue to advance my ability to grow and become a better physician to my patients,” said Lt. Col. Katy Garner, MD, a graduate based in Nebraska at Offutt Air Force Base.
     “It has strengthened my resolve to make the military health system better for patients and staff alike,” she added. “My new mission is to find a way to create a culture of healing mind and body that is sustainable.”
     Twenty-two physicians successfully completed the 300-hour Acus medical acupuncture course, the most rigorous and comprehensive training of its kind in the world.
     “I was initially somewhat skeptical of medical acupuncture’s merit; however, that skepticism transformed to an excitement of renewed ability to provide treatments to patients who would otherwise be a ‘lost cause’ in the medical system,” said Lt. Col. Matt Snyder, DO, Director of Medical Education at Nellis AFB in Nevada.
     He added, “I am deeply grateful for the medical acupuncture training I have received through the Acus Foundation.”
     At the graduation ceremony, student speakers shared inspiring stories of their patients and their own journeys in becoming physician-acupuncturists.
     “We are very proud of you,” said Acus Founder and President, Dr. Joseph Helms. “Go forth and think acupuncture first!”
     Physicians in this class represented family medicine residencies from four Air Force Bases (Eglin, Nellis, Offutt, Scott AFBs) as well as one Army base, Fort Belvoir in Virginia. There were also two representatives from the Southern Nevada VA Health Care System in the graduating class.
     The fifth cohort of military physicians starts their medical acupuncture training in Las Vegas on August 2, 2019.


Acus Preceptor Profile:
Douglass Powell, MD, Physician-Philosopher

Publishes First Novel, Donates Proceeds to Acus

SKANEATELES, NY––Acus Preceptor Douglass Powell, MD, FAAMA can be best described as a physician-philosopher.
     He has long combined his medical practice with spiritual investigation, drawing particular inspiration from the East. If one were to describe Powell’s manner in the form of a haiku, it would say: Gentle waters flow, quiet kindness all around, still meditation.
     But that was not always the case.
     A dozen years ago, Powell almost left medicine.
     “I didn’t sleep. I didn’t have time for myself. It was classic burnout,” he said. “I knew I had to do something different.”
     Powell enrolled in a medical acupuncture course organized and delivered by Acus Founder, Dr. Joseph Helms.
     “It was terrific––the best course of any kind that I’ve taken in terms of medical practice,” he said. “It got me out of the drama and the trauma of a busy medical practice and gave me a practice in which I could be quiet and contemplative.”
     Learning acupuncture not only transformed Powell’s approach to medicine, but it also restored him to balance.
     “It gave me a new lease on life,” he added.
     It opened up the time and space for Powell to pursue his favored creative outlet: writing.
     “I’d always done a bit of writing in college and medical school, but I didn’t finish that first novel because I didn’t think I had enough life experience to put into it,” Powell said.
     According to Powell, fellow Acus Preceptor, Mitch Elkiss, encouraged him to get back to work on the novel and to finish it.
     “It was as if he [Elkiss] was disappointed by my slothfulness,” Powell added, jokingly. 
Since that inspired push, Powell finished that first novel and has since finished five more.
     The books constitute the Jay Mountain Healing Series, the third of which is called: On the Other Side of Death’s Mountain (2019). Published by Dorrance, Powell describes the novel as a one of healing.
     It tells the story of a protagonist—a young woman in chronic pain—who is healed by being told stories and eventually acupuncture, while a group of assassins target our main characters leaving them to flee over Death Mountain, an actual place in upstate New York. In the course of their escape over the mountain, the protagonist encounters characters who have dedicated their lives, almost monastically so, to hone their abilities to heal.
     “In acupuncture, my work is contemplative, quiet, compassionate,” Powell said. “I try to do the same thing for my characters.”
     Without giving away the ending of the novel, Powell says readers will find a chaste thriller intertwined with a story of transformative healing.
     All proceeds will be donated to Acus Foundation because Powell believes all military doctors and patients deserve the contemplative and compassionate care afforded by medical acupuncture.
     “We need thoughtful physicians who care and can treat our veterans and their dependents in effective ways with no side effects,” he said.
     On the Other Side of Death’s Mountain is available for purchase on or directly from Dorrance Publishing.
Acus Preceptors getting ready to "sock it" to their students before the start of final training module. From left to right, Ali Safayan, MD; Tom Etges, MD; Acus Founder Joseph M. Helms, MD; Douglass Powell, MD; Allen McDaniels, MD; Brad Lawrence, MD; and Mitchell Elkiss, DO.

Upcoming Acus Events

August 2-5, 2019: Nellis Module 1 & Course Convocation (5th cohort), Las Vegas VA, Nellis AFB
October 31, 2019: Acus Board Retreat, Las Vegas, NV
November 1-4, 2019: Nellis Module 2 Las Vegas VA, Nellis AFB
November 11, 2019: Veterans Day
November 12, 2019: Acus Q4 Board Meeting, Berkeley, CA

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Copyright © 2019 Acus Foundation, All rights reserved.

Editorial: Stephanie Hom
Photography by Sarah Weiss courtesy of the USAF.

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