Gratitude for the Life of Dr. Michael Smith

Mike Smith, founder of NADA, passed away on December 24, 2017. I met him when I was an acupuncture student in 1992 and he came to do a lecture at my school, which for me was like rain on a desert. And that’s what he continued to be throughout my acupuncture career.

I remember sitting in a hotel bar with him and Nora Madden, after a NADA conference in Detroit, talking about training acupuncturists. “You can teach somebody to do acupuncture in about 10 minutes. Put the sharp end in the patient. That’s about it,” he said.

I loved his honesty, his humor, and above all his love of people who needed acupuncture. As an acupuncturist, I had very few professional role models for those qualities. He was one of the only people I could count on to give me the unvarnished truth about our profession, which he did in a series of conversations after he read Acupuncture Is Like Noodles. He called me up to tell me how much he liked the book, to argue a little about acupuncture theory, and to encourage me to keep organizing. His support was tremendously meaningful.

In 2009 he came to Portland to give a lecture to what was then the Community Acupuncture Network. I’m re-posting the link to those videos -- you can find them here-- in honor and gratitude for his life. Without him and without NADA, I have no idea what I’d be doing; I doubt I’d be an acupuncturist.  I’d probably be one of those people who went to acupuncture school and then gave up and quit the field after a year or so. I wouldn’t have hung in there long enough to figure out what I was supposed to be doing.

That’s another quality he demonstrated: he hung in there. He persevered -- for decades. He was one thousand percent committed to the project of making acupuncture available to marginalized communities on their own terms. He’s still my role model.

Thank you, Mike.

Note: Mike's memorial service will be held on Saturday March 24 at the New York Society for Ethical Culture in NYC, from 1-3pm.

This story was posted on January 11 2018 by Lisafer.

Comments

  • January 11 2018 at 6:41 PM
    joanneo writes:

    I have a special feeling for Dr Smith and his tireless work for NADA; it was NADA that first interested me in acupuncture. He was a pioneer who never stopped working toward the goal: acupuncture for all who need it!

      6 likes
  • January 11 2018 at 7:29 PM
    Whitsitt writes:

    I also wouldn’t be a punk if not for NADA. I’m grateful for the talk he gave in Portland for CAN, for the pioneering work he and the rest of the folks at Lincoln did, and for everything I’ve ever read from him. He had a tremendous insight into the work we do, and much wisdom,usually on the theme of making it less pretentious. And yet his humility uncovered something magical and full of love. May he rest in power.

      6 likes
  • January 14 2018 at 12:07 AM
    Roppy writes:

    Marie Arnberg, from Down EAst Community Acupuncture, in Maine, sent me Matt Bauer’s post about Mike Smith.  like this, it’s also wonderful.  http://www.makingacupuncturepay.com/ForumRetrieve.aspx?ForumID=3795&TopicID=18600&NoTemplate=False

      2 likes
  • January 14 2018 at 12:47 AM
    joanneo writes:

    Thanks for including that link, Roppie; I just read the Matt Bauer piece and agree with you.

      2 likes
  • January 25 2018 at 10:43 PM
    engerin writes:

    Lisa,
    I am sorry for your loss, and thankful for what you’ve gained from what sounds like a remarkable man. His message is needed now more than ever!

      1 likes

Add your 2 cents!

You must be logged in to comment on the blog.


Who Likes This:

  • mitylene
  • Roppy
  • tatyana
  • melissa
  • betonyj
  • teatree
  • Spartacus
  • andy wegman
  • Lori
  • Cynthia Marie

Featured Events

-- placeholder --

Who's been POCAing lately.

  • ewolfk commented on the blog post 'Toward a Culture of Safety, Part 1' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, April 12, 2019
  • Paxcow commented on the blog post 'All Ears!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, March 28, 2019
  • OpenSourceEverything commented on the blog post 'New POCA Tech FAQs' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, March 13, 2019
  • urbanapuncture commented on the blog post 'Fatphobia Part 3: Some Thoughts about Diet Culture and Talking to Patients' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, March 13, 2019
  • Roppy commented on the blog post 'The Acupuncture Profession has 99 problems, but NADA ain’t one of them.' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, March 12, 2019
  • OpenSourceEverything commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture, Part Two: Trouble' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, March 11, 2019
  • OpenSourceEverything commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Too Sexy for This Work?' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, March 11, 2019
  • urbanapuncture commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Poor People's Priorities' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, February 20, 2019
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'Stone Soup and Social Containers' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, February 13, 2019
  • Nityamo commented on the blog post 'POCA Clinic Member Changes' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, February 13, 2019
  • weedyknees commented on the blog post 'Stone Soup and Social Containers' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, February 13, 2019
  • urbanapuncture commented on the blog post 'Stone Soup and Social Containers' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, February 06, 2019
  • swiggs commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Too Sexy for This Work?' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, February 05, 2019
  • urbanapuncture commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Too Sexy for This Work?' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, February 04, 2019
  • monkeyacupunk commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Too Sexy for This Work?' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 31, 2019
  • Roppy commented on the blog post 'POCA Clinic Member Changes' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, January 29, 2019
  • Bob W commented on the blog post 'POCA Clinic Member Changes' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 24, 2019
  • Spartacus commented on the blog post 'POCA Clinic Member Changes' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 24, 2019
  • mollyfread commented on the blog post 'POCA Clinic Member Changes' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 24, 2019
  • Bob W commented on the blog post 'POCA Clinic Member Changes' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, January 23, 2019
  • mcandela55 commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Poor People's Priorities' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, January 23, 2019
  • mcandela55 commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs (for Acupuncture)' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, January 23, 2019
  • mcandela55 commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture: Part Four, Stamina' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, January 23, 2019
  • ewolfk commented on the blog post 'POCA Clinic Member Changes' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, January 23, 2019
  • NicoleManiez commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Poor People's Priorities' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, January 22, 2019
  • Roppy commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Poor People's Priorities' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 17, 2019
  • swiggs commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Poor People's Priorities' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 17, 2019
  • Roppy commented on the blog post 'The Acupuncture Profession has 99 problems, but NADA ain’t one of them.' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 17, 2019
  • Moses.C commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Poor People's Priorities' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, January 14, 2019
  • OpenSourceEverything commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture: Part Four, Stamina' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, January 14, 2019
  • teatree commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture, Part Three: Hope' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Sunday, January 13, 2019
  • Presence_CA commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Poor People's Priorities' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Saturday, January 12, 2019
  • CPMike commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture: Part Four, Stamina' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 10, 2019
  • ChrisRogers commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs (for Acupuncture)' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 10, 2019
  • whitney commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs (for Acupuncture)' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, January 09, 2019
  • keithananda commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture: Part Four, Stamina' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, January 09, 2019
  • ellengrover commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs (for Acupuncture)' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, January 08, 2019
  • tatyana commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs (for Acupuncture)' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, January 08, 2019
  • Moses.C commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs (for Acupuncture)' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, January 07, 2019
  • Jess B commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs (for Acupuncture)' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, January 07, 2019
  • ewolfk commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs (for Acupuncture)' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, January 07, 2019
  • Justine commented on the blog post 'Public Service Announcement: POCA and Ear Acupuncture!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 03, 2019
  • sivesind commented on the blog post 'Public Service Announcement: POCA and Ear Acupuncture!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Sunday, December 30, 2018
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture, Part Three: Hope' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, December 28, 2018
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'Here's to Open Sourcing: Modern Acupuncture, Part One' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, December 28, 2018
  • keithananda commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture, Part Three: Hope' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, December 27, 2018
  • keithananda commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture, Part Three: Hope' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, December 27, 2018
  • Roppy commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture, Part Three: Hope' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, December 26, 2018
  • Roppy commented on the blog post 'The Acupuncture Profession has 99 problems, but NADA ain’t one of them.' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, December 25, 2018
  • crismonteiro commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture, Part Three: Hope' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, December 25, 2018