Feature story in the Las Cruces Bulletin: Service through training and access

27 Jul

Crossroads Acupuncture offers affordable care and support to providers

By Craig Massey

For the Las Cruces Bulletin

Whether it’s using acupuncture to relieve pain, seek behavioral health solutions or provide a venue to promote artists, Crossroads Community Supported Healthcare is about serving people.

Established three years ago by Ryan Bemis, the nonprofit organization does business as Crossroads Acupuncture at its clinic at 130 S. Main Street. Bemis moved to Las Cruces from Portland, Ore. because he wanted to help provide affordable healthcare in a region that included many who couldn’t afford it.

“We work to provide low-cost service to the under-served and also to help train health providers,” he said.

The organization is strong on community action and partnerships. They has offered support for churches, recovery programs, shelters for the homeless and mentally ill, orphanages, and for free medical clinics such as St. Luke’s Health Clinic at Las Cruces’ Community of Hope, and Families and Youth, INC. They train providers working in these programs in techniques like ear acupuncture, so these programs can offer their own cost-effective services for underserved groups like the homeless, or people struggling with addictions and mental illness. They also provide technical support, and assist with curriculum development, research and guidance for regulatory issues. Crossroads Acupuncture’s flat fee for the first-time acupuncture treatment is $30 and follow- up visits cost $20.

Crossroads estimates over 50,000 treatments have been provided via 600,000 needles since the training and treatment project was launched in 2011.

Krishna Chari, a clinical psychologist at the University of New Mexico, is one of many in the region who have shared Bemis’ vision of helping those in need.  Krishna was trained in ear acupuncture (acudetox) by Crossroads last year.

“The greatest thing is he’s helping create access to health care for people who wouldn’t normally have access to it,” said Chari, who has consulted with Bemis and has also traveled to Las Cruces to offer his expertise in the border region as a volunteer. “It’s community- based intervention and the stronger your community is, the stronger the individuals are.”

The organization also is serving and assisting in Juarez through the Crossroads Border Project. Healthcare training is part of the mission there as well as helping build sustainable health programs.

“We want to respond to the needs there as well” he said. “Our training program has provided us a way to help empower people in Juarez.”

Crossroads also helps sell “prayer flags” and other artwork created by Juarez artists at the Las Cruces Farmers Market, and displays art for sale in a gallery at its clinic. “It’s just one small way that we can help support some those in our region,” he said. “We’re a small business that still has a lot to prove,” Bemis said, adding that they are working hard to make it sustainable.

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