Survey Says: 750K + Treatments in 2012

(This is a Lisa Rohleder article originally posted at the website of The People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture.)

177 clinics responded to the 2012 POCA Survey, reporting a total of 750,513 treatments in 2012. EDIT: whoops! User error on the spreadsheet, actual number is 753,428! 

I admit that I am amazed by this number. You guys, look what we DID!

There have been a lot of discussions on the interwebs lately about the value of acupuncture and the self-worth of acupuncturists. I like thinking about our survey results in this light because:

1)How can you possibly quantify the total value of that many treatments, especially since we can be relatively certain that the vast majority were received by people who would never have been able to get acupuncture otherwise? So much pain relieved, so much stress lifted, so much solace found in community.

2) We created it collectively. POCA has a lot of smart, talented individual members, but not one of us could have done that alone. Everybody’s contribution matters: everybody’s contribution within each POCA clinic, and everybody’s contribution to POCA as a whole.

3) This is a major measure of POCA’s success as a social business. Cooperatives can do all sorts of things; POCA as a cooperative is designed to produce affordable, accessible acupuncture treatments. 3/4 of a million and we’re only 2 years old.

Self-worth can be such a tricky, difficult issue. It can get distorted in all sorts of ways and confused with egotism. The best thing for me about POCA’s success is knowing that every one of us is contributing something priceless and rare to our world — but that thing we’ve contributed is only as valuable as it is because we all did it together. We can feel good about ourselves and our contribution in a way that’s real and solid, without being puffed-up or selfish.

And because we’re a cooperative, just like the results of the survey belong to every member, the survey data also belongs to every member. POCA super-volunteer Gloria Jacobs has cleaned up and anonymized the data and put it into an Excel spreadsheet, and we’ll be putting it up in the forums shortly.

(Edit: It’s fascinating to look at, and we’re hoping to solicit lots of ideas about what we want to collectively learn from this goldmine of data. All POCA geeks and number-crunchers are welcome to chime in.

Congratulations to us, comrades and cooperators. We did good.

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