As we near the end of 2021, there is much to reflect upon as we continue to navigate great collective uncertainty and challenge. We are grateful for this opportunity to share with you some of our accomplishments this past year and what we have planned for 2022.
Navigating the ongoing pandemic continued to offer new challenges but also new opportunities for growth and change for our organization. We are proud to share that this was the first year we expanded our long-term recovery clinics for a variety of communities impacted by major wildfires across Northern California. Long-term recovery has been a part of our dream for impacted communities from the start.
It means that these communities and first responders will get the care they need for years after major disasters, not just in the moment. Given that the impact of major disaster lasts for up to ten years or longer, we know how important this care is.
Some highlights include working with a wide variety of partners in Sonoma, Butte, and Santa Cruz Counties to bring free trauma, environmental health, and pain management support through integrative health and medicine for fire survivors, first responders, and Latinx Farmworkers. In 2021, we helped run 34 clinics that provided 984 free treatments for 527 clients. We focus on providing care for physical and mental health through our amazing team of integrative health providers who are licensed and certified in naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, clinical homeopathy, massage therapy, chiropractic, and yoga.
We often are asked the question of how we can provide mental healthcare if we are not offering traditional talk therapy. The answer lies in the now well-accepted fact that trauma lives in the body. We see this time and time again with the community members we serve. Whether it’s someone who lost their home to a wildfire and is experiencing chronic migraines and insomnia due to the unprocessed grief and overwhelm that accompanies such a loss. Or the overworked volunteer firefighter whose exposure to toxic environmental hazards is causing respiratory health challenges and feelings of anxiety. Or the Latinx farmworker who has no choice but to continue working in the fields during the height of fire season and their chronic pain makes it difficult to connect with their family and friends.
The body and mind are deeply connected, and at IHAN, we strongly believe that we cannot fully address the many mental health challenges that climate disasters are bringing to folks who are on the frontlines without tending to the body as well.
This was also a year of firsts in regards to how these projects were funded. Due to the challenges of COVID-19, this was the first year that the majority of IHAN’s funding did not come from the American Red Cross. Since congregate sheltering was to be avoided as much as possible in 2020 and 2021, the funds that are usually allocated to community organizations like ours were diverted to pay for hotel vouchers to ensure health safety for wildfire evacuees during the ongoing pandemic.
We are incredibly grateful to donors like you who have kept our programs running during this time of great uncertainty and change. We are so grateful to our corporate sponsors for supporting our efforts, especially our Community Clinics Headlining Sponsor, Fullscript.
When we started IHAN during the 2017 Sonoma County wildfires, we had no idea how that fire response would be the beginning of what is now becoming the new normal. The climate crisis is impacting every part of our planet in different ways and the need to provide care and tools to build resiliency for those who are on the frontlines is imperative. Integrative health and medicine is an integral part of the solution and IHAN is committed to doing our part in bringing this type of care to communities who would not otherwise have access to these types of treatments.
We are asking you to join our commitment to healing disaster-stricken communities. Please consider a donation to IHAN’s year-end campaign. Just $20 provides free integrative health services for a California wildfire survivor, first responder, or farmworker.
Will you join us in supporting IHAN?
Jenny Harrow-Keeler, MA | Co-Founder and Executive Director (image left)
Jen Riegle, ND | Co-Founder and Medical Director (image right)