NADA US Conference in Delaware

Last May 4-6, 2017, the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) of the United States of America hosted the 28th NADA Annual Conference in Wilmington, Delaware. The 3-day conference featured speakers from the US and from all over the world sharing their experiences in their work in their respective areas, bound by the theme Healing and Hope for Stress, Trauma and Addiction.

Through the assistance and support from NADA Philippines, and also through the generosity of Dr. Michael O. Smith, NADA USA President Dr. Libby Stuyt, NADA USA Board of Directors, and Executive Director Ms. Sara Bursac,  a delegation composed of five acupuncture detoxification specialists (ADSes) from NADA Philippines was able to attend the conference. Present were Janet Paredes, John Joseph Posadas, Trisha Janine Sanijon, Ace Lennon Babasa and Lorie Fe Estavillo.

NADA 101

The first day of the conference was called NADA 101 and it opened with a welcome reception for the guests and then proceeded to a morning filled with heartfelt tributes to NADA founder, Dr. Michael O. Smith, who was also present.  Among those who spoke were Sarah Bursac, Joanne Lenney, Carlos Alvarez and Nancy Smalls. Lenney, Alvarez and Smalls were the pioneers who were mentored by Dr. Michael Smith himself. The tributes were interspersed with videos on how NADA started in the Lincoln Recovery Center in the Bronx, New York. ADSes from all over the world shared their experiences working with Dr. Smith and narrated their individual learnings with him.  NADA Philippines shared a short audio-visual presentation highlighting the contributions of Dr. Smith to the organization.

In the afternoon, conference attendees were invited to receive treatments from the latest batch of NADA US trainees who were completing their practicum at a nearby venue.

Plenary Sessions


The second day of the conference marked the start of the plenary sessions. ADSes and NADA supporters were selected as readers who opened the conference by reading excerpts from Dr. Smith’s works, articles and other remarkable quotations. The first plenary session focused on the Delaware NADA Story and was moderated by NADA Executive Director, Ms. Sara Bursać.

Cheyenne Luzader provided a historical perspective on the changes and development in the ADS law in Delaware, David Mercier shared how the first NADA services were shaped in the state, and Barney Monks provided insight on how NADA was integrated in the treatment services in New Castle County.

In the second plenary session, the focus was on getting the word out about NADA, with Claudia Voyles, NADA U.S.A. trainer, as the moderator. The speakers shared about their experiences in bringing NADA to different areas and populations. Katurah Bryant shared how persistence pays off in getting NADA established. Dolores Jimerson shared about their experience in bringing NADA to the Yellowhawk Tribe in Oregon. Danialle Rose spoke about the grassroots outreach at Standing Rock. Stacy Sayre gave insight on the collaboration between NADA and the Medical Reserve Corps.  Libby Stuyt shared about NADA outreach, education, and training in Colorado.

The third plenary session put the spotlight on the experiences of the ADSes of NADA International. Mette Wiinblad of NADA Denmark moderated the session. Adelheid Luchtrath, MD of NADA Germany shared her experiences in using NADA for PTSD among refugee populations. Rita Nilsen of NADA Norway spoke about the addiction program they established “Retretten” and how they expanded NADA into multiple health sectors.


The third speaker was none other than the NADA Philippines Board President, Janet Pimentel-Paredes who gave a presentation on how they have faced the challenges of the Philippine Drug War using the NADA protocol.  The presentation included a short video tribute to Dr. Michael O. Smith and to the international solidarity, the Spirit of NADA.

To express our appreciation for all the support that NADA Philippines has received from international friends to date, NADA Philippines distributed the NADA pin that says “Healing People, One Needle at a Time”.

The fourth and last plenary session of the day focused on the question how does NADA work get funded? Denise Romano served as the moderator for the session. Cindy Jimenez shared about supporting NADA services at a community health clinic in Colorado. Sybil Marsh focused in finding staff time to sustain NADA in a methadone program in Ohio. Glynis Simmons spoke about securing NADA Acupuncture through the Ryan White Care Act in New York. Angie Smith-Butterwick shared about obtaining funding for NADA programs through Federal Block Grants in Michigan.

The third day of the conference opened with the fifth plenary session focusing on evidence-based NADA, with Ken Carter as moderator. Adrianna Barajas and Bratati Chakraborty talked about NADA Program Survey Results and shared their observations as NADA’s Social Work interns. Jessica Lee and Doug Miller spoke about merging research and clinical practice at Keystone Substance Abuse Services in South Carolina. Zara Melyan shared their research on the efficacy of the NADA protocol as studied on non-human subjects. Claudia Voyles gave a retrospective on research over the past decade.

The sixth plenary session focused on NADA at its best: Helping people help themselves. Jo Ann Lenney served as the moderator. Mark Farrington provided a view into the chronic pain clinic at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. Deb Geno shared about applying creative solutions to integrate NADA services at a community mental health program in Michigan.

The seventh and last plenary session focused on bringing NADA to communities in need, with Nikki Rodney as the moderator. Gill Croft and Rachel Peckham of NADA UK shared how they brought NADA into the Wider Sphere England.

Phillip Millerov and Bob Storrer gave insight on a grassroots training approach in keeping the Spirit of NADA alive in low-income and underserved communities. Lars Wiinblad of NADA Denmark shared about their training approach and how facilitated NADA growth in Denmark, from employment unions to workforce centers.



The conference concluded with the conferring of NADA ADS certificates to the NADA US trainees who completed their practicum.

Insights and Learnings

The delegation from NADA Philippines found the opportunity of attending a conference hosted by another NADA community a rich and rewarding experience, not only from the plenary sessions but from interacting with ADSes from NADA US and from the international community. One issue that stood out was the difficulties that ADSes in the US experienced because of the restrictions raised by their federal law. But through the very act of sharing of experiences by these ADSes—which included not only the obstacles they had faced, but how they had overcome them—the best practices were also shared which would be hopefully replicated in the other states.

Another insight that was gained by the NADA Philippines ADSes was the similarity of the struggles between those of NADA international and of NADA Philippines. In particular was the struggle of the indigenous peoples in the US, with the problem of accessibility to basic health and social services, and the limited opportunities afforded to them, which echoes the problems faced by the indigenous peoples in the Philippines, and also highlights the significance of training these people—not only the indigenous peoples but also those that belong in the marginalized and vulnerable sectors—as a way to empower them and also for them to help their respective communities.

One of the most striking things about the conference occurred even before it started, in the morning when ADSes from all over the world paid tribute to Dr. Michael Smith. The strength of the emotion and gratitude was palpable in the room on that morning and continued on to be felt during the conference and after. Dr. Michael Smith’s role was not just of a founder of an organization, but also of a guiding spirit who encouraged people and organizations to blossom in accordance to the needs of their respective environments.

Much of what had been shared in the conference had been the unique experiences of the ADSes from all over the world. And yet, these unique experiences are woven together to form a tapestry of unity of those that share in the Spirit of NADA. It is not only the ADSes who take part in it, but those whose lives have been touched in one way or another as the NADA Spirit is shared in practice. A sense of community, of camaraderie, of family was felt in this gathering, united by the work that everyone is doing in sharing the NADA Protocol in their respective areas.

18275137_1800506796643490_3014366652538567128_nNADA Philippines ADSes with NADA International ADSes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: