Nordic Acupuncture Awareness Week - NAAW
It was in conjunction with the TCM Congress in Rothenburg 2015 we gathered at a Nordic meeting for the first time. The purpose of the meeting was to try to find closer cooperation between our five Nordic countries. We noted at this meeting that we are relatively similar in terms of education and development in our countries. We are also relatively similar in terms of regulatory regulations and accreditation.
In the discussion we were told that Norway the year before had introduced an acupuncture day.
We decided at this meeting that we would work together in a broad auction to raise our professional group with the aim of informing our decision makers, but also creating more knowledge of classical acupuncture and TCM among the broad public.
Immediately after our first meeting in Rothenburg, we created a closed group on Facebook to easily continue our planning. To this closed Facebook group, all board members of the Nordic associations were invited so that everyone easily could contribute in the discussion and planning.
This first year we conducted NAAW in October. Participating countries were Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. Iceland participated in this first meeting in Rothenburg but they had no organization and needed more time to gather their practitioners. However, they chose to remain as observers and, with the help of the other Nordic countries, continue to establish their own association.
Each country would have its own information material as we all had a little different starting point. We shared all the material we created in our internal Nordic Facebook group so that we could inspire each other to create our own customized material for each country.
Prior to the week, we sent out a mail to our members in Sweden, where we attached some documents from the Swedish Acupuncture Association TCM.. All single members could use the material during the week. Each member could easily print this material by himself or herself.
The idea was that all members would receive support from the association to be able to carry out something simple at their own place during this week.
• Invite to open house at his clinic
• Offer trial-on-treatments with a reduced price
• Invite to a short lecture on acupuncture - at the clinic, the local library, a local patient organization or a local Rotary group etc.
• Share information at any central location in its city
• Provide local politicians and authorities with information on acupuncture
• Contact the local newspaper
• Make their own small movie clips about their business.
A press release with information about Nordic Acupuncture Awareness Week was sent from the Swedish Acupuncture Association. We also utilized the channels we already had - Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and our blog.
The board and some school leaders produced a number of movie clips that were uploaded to the Swedish Acupuncture Association's YouTube channel. We could easily share these movie clips from here to our other social media channels.
We also asked our members to create their own events and email all information to the board. We created a specific page on Facebook with the name Nordic Acupuncture Week from which all events were published evenly distributed during the week.
A Google Map with all events in Sweden was created with clickable links directly from the map.
We created a new underlining on our official website where press releases and articles as well as the Google map were published.
Finland chose a similar strategy like Sweden and we combined our Google Maps into one map.
Norway and Denmark chose to focus on fewer but larger events centrally organized by the associations. In Norway, a group of members gathered outside the government building to talk to passers-by to share information about classical acupuncture and TCM. In Denmark, the association focused on press releases and to publish a number of articles.
During the three years that passed, we have deepened our cooperation and further developed NAAW. We have placed NAAW in September instead, as it was more appropriate time for all associations. Nowadays, NAAW is always placed to week 38 and we have already planned a specific theme for NAAW three years ahead. We aim to organize physical meetings with representatives of the Nordic boards twice a year where we share experiences to help each other in the development of both internal work and external lobbying. Iceland has in recent years been able to get both help and inspiration from other Nordic organizations to organize and with great pleasure they newly formed their professional association so we could welcome them join the ETCMA.
After evaluating the three first NAAW, both Sweden and Finland have come to the conclusion that it is very difficult to capture members' individual involvement. We will this year follow Denmark and Norway's model and focus more on a few centrally organized events. In Sweden, we also have great help from our school leaders who contribute both lectures and articles during this week.
The cooperation between our countries that are close to each other, both geographically and regularly, has brought both strength and inspiration to all of us. We have had the opportunity to quickly turn to each other to get help from each other's experience in dealing with important issues.
With this story, I hope to inspire other member countries of ETCMA to interact in smaller local groups in order to grow stronger.
By: Eva-Marie Janelo
Swedish Acupuncture Association TCM