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MSU Tour Ends, Important New Members

May 27th, 2016 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Three members of PPGV, Bill Wadland, “Mac” Whitehouse, and Jim Peggs made the PPGV presentation “ Gun Violence and Firearm Safety: The Physician’s Role”  to two separate audiences in Grand Rapids last Tuesday, May 17. The first was at 8 AM Grand Rounds in DeVos Children’s Hospital to the Pediatrics residents and faculty. The second at 10 AM was to the Family Medicine faculty and residents at St. Mary’s Mercy hospital. Both audiences were attentive and receptive to our message about how to intervene in the clinical setting to prevent gun violence and how to join and speak out as a profession to change the grim statistics of gun deaths and injuries.

We enjoyed exceptional hospitality from Dr. Keith English, Chairman, Dept of Pediatrics, MSU. We also were successful in signing up 40 new members to lend their support to PPGV.

The MSU Tour lasted almost 1 year. Grand rounds were given at  MSU sites from Flint, Marquette, Traverse City, Midland, Alma (remotely), Grand Rapids and, of course, Lansing. Thanks to Dr. William Wadland for the MSU Tour- a great success for PPGV!

James Peggs

St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor is on its way to becoming perhaps the first Michigan hospital physician council to commit to gun violence reduction with the latest leaders joining PPGV.  Drs. David Steinberg, Chief of Staff, and Bryan Popp, Department Head of OB-Gyn have joined us.  St. Joe now has more leaders than the UM where a similar campaign to align with medical chiefs is in progress. It’s a “race” to see which hospital will be first.

Jerry Walden

National Medical Council on Gun Violence Presentation Summary

May 10th, 2016 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Dear PPGV Members,

Last month Andrew Zweifler and I were pleased to participate in the National Medical Council on Gun Violence conference in Chicago.  This was a CME conference devoted to exploring how the medical community can make a meaningful impact in addressing the epidemic of gun violence in America.  Our talk, titled “Let’s Talk About Guns: Strategies for Successful Clinical Conversations” was well received and generated lively discussion.  In our presentation, we examined the many barriers that complicate physicians’ ability to talk with patients about guns, ranging from legal barriers such as “gag laws”  (otherwise known as the “Docs vs. Glocks” law in Florida) to general mistrust and fear that can directly impact the doctor/patient relationship.  Using the example of a “well child” visit as the context for illustrating successful strategies for discussing this topic, we emphasized the importance of building warm, genuine relationships with patients and also highlighted the physician’s role as an educator in providing common sense anticipatory guidance. Just as physicians routinely advise patients about the necessity of bicycle helmets, car seats, and smoke alarms, so must we educate our patients about the importance of safe gun storage and restricting access to people who should not have them such as children, substance abusers, domestic abusers, cognitively impaired adults, and anyone in the midst of a mental health crisis.

There were many incredible and nationally known speakers at this conference including Deb Azrael from the Harvard School of Public Health, Injury Control Research Center who spoke about the epidemiology of gun violence; Liza Gold – forensic psychiatrist from the Georgetown University School of Medicine and editor of the recently published book, Gun Violence and Mental Illness; surgeon Michael Hirsch of the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center who spoke about an exciting and successful gun buyback program that he has developed in his community, and psychiatrist Elspeth Ritchie, professor of psychiatry at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences who spoke about the unique difficulties related to gun violence with military service men and women. All of the presentations were outstanding. I am hopeful that the entirety of the conference will be made available online so that everyone can learn from the material that was presented. Here is a link to the conference brochure that lists all of the speakers.  We are especially grateful to Mike Weisser for organizing this event and gathering together this passionate and determined group of clinicians, researchers, and advocates.

One of the most exciting outcomes of the conference was a common desire amongst participants to incorporate gun violence prevention into medical training. Dr. Zweifler and I have joined a work group that is collaborating to put together educational materials geared for medical students, resident physicians, and physicians in practice. This is an exciting opportunity, and we welcome the involvement of anyone who is interested in collaborating. Please contact Dr. Zweifler (zweifler@umich.edu) or myself if you would like more information. We are only getting started now, but hope that we will be able to harness the momentum and passion generated in Chicago to make an important and necessary impact in the world of medical education.

It was an honor and a pleasure representing PPGV at this conference, and we look forward to continuing our work together to reduce preventable injuries and deaths due to gun violence in our communities.



Sonya Lewis, MD, MPH

Andrew Zweifler, MD


Dr. Ken Silk Refutes Michigan Gun Owners

February 28th, 2016 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

The Discussion On Gun Control Continues After Kalamazoo Shootings

FEB 23, 2016


Some groups are calling for gun control measures after shootings in the Kalamazoo area left six people dead, but not everybody agrees.

The Michigan Gun Owners organization say the core issue is not being discussed.  The group’s attorney, James Makowski, says it’s not a gun control issue, but rather a mental health one and that should be addressed.

However, those who would like to see more regulations, such as the Physicians for Prevention of Gun Violence group in Washtenaw County, say that’s not accurate.  Psychiatrist Dr. Kenneth Silk says most of the gun deaths in this country don’t occur in mass murders, but they occur because of impulsive actions people take.

There are about 500,000 licensed concealed pistol holders in Michigan.

Like 89.1 WEMU on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

— Jorge Avellan is the Ann Arbor beat reporter and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News.  Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him javellan@emich.edu

Grand Rapids MD, Kathleen Howard sends an Op-Ed.

June 10th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

PPGV member Kathleen Howard targets many of our issues in this Op-Ed.

“The right to openly carry firearms has been getting a lot of attention lately- locally, across the state, and throughout the U.S.
A judge’s ruling this week in favor of a Grand Rapids police officer who stopped and questioned a person who was open carrying a gun is just the latest round in an ongoing debate that has recently featured a Hollywood celebrity comparing firearms to cutlery, open carry proponents  bringing their weapons into schools across Michigan, and efforts in several state legislatures to weaken licensing and registration requirements.
Gun rights advocates — backed by well-funded supporters — have been enjoying some success in their push to allow guns to be carried anytime, anywhere, without regard for the safety of the rest of society, including schoolchildren.
But it’s not too late to fight back. I am part of a group of parents who are asking the Michigan Legislature to close the loophole allowing the open carry of weapons in our public schools. In just a few weeks, nearly 3,000 people have signed our petition asking the House Judiciary Committee and entire Michigan Legislature to enact common-sense gun legislation.
The presence of guns in schools introduces the possibility of unintentional shootings and increases the risk of physical and emotional harm to students, staff, and everyone present in the building. This potential for devastating harm is more than enough reason to enact a strict ban.
I encourage Michiganders who are concerned about this issue to sign our petition, contact their legislators, and consider joining a gun violence prevention group such as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
We don’t have to sit back and watch as a small, well-funded group of gun enthusiasts puts the safety of our children at risk. We can take action and work to protect ourselves and our families.”
Kathleen Howard, MD, FAAP
Grand Rapids, MI

Chart Rounds 5/18/15

May 18th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Chart Rounds-
As part of our 2015 initiative to grow PPGV- we are going West. We have an invitation to speak at a Grand Rounds with MSU Pediatrics late in the year. This is good for our organization that has been centered in Washtenaw Co. Drs. James Peggs (board member) and William Wadland, recent retired chair of family medicine at MSU will lead this move to become a statewide orgainization. This is great!
And in Washtenaw County there has been a huge outcry over the “open carry” of guns in schools with one advocate showing up “packing” to a school event and causing fear and concern for safety. The Ann Arbor School Board stepped up and insisted on no citizen guns. A lawsuit has been filed against the board by the Open Carry group. Meanwhile, the senate leader and NRA supporter, Mike Green, wants to have “special training” to allow some concealed carry guns, but not open carry. HB 4261 calls for no guns in the schools, hospitals and bars going back to a former “safe zones” position. Please go here http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/keep-guns-out-of-michigan-1?source=s.fwd&r_by=1466697. to support this bill. The organizers, local parents and a PPGV physician, are working to get state wide support for gun free schools.
Schools are among the safest places in the country according to David Hemenway, Harvard expert on. gun violence. Allowing any civilian gun makes no safety sense and will inspire fear. PPGV has filed a letter to the editor of the Detroit Free Press and now the Lansing State Journal that in May, national mental health awareness month, there should be freedom from fear- a basic need for mental health. Again go to the link http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/keep-guns-out-of-michigan-1?source=s.fwd&r_by=1466697 to support this as well as to our website ppgv.org to comment or donate to our work.
And June is National Gun Violence Awareness month. More about this later.

A New Ball Game

April 11th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Time for Docs to “Get our Game Face on” – Gun Violence
I love basketball! As I watched the NCAA finals last Monday night I loved the fierceness of the game and the desire to win and the strong team play. It didn’t really matter who won. It was a dog fight and both teams showed us their mettle. They wanted to win badly. They were a proud bunch. Like doctors can be at our best.
Taking a stand counts. Medical societies are joining together- our team- to try to get in the game that has been dominated by the NRA, gun companies, and many politicians. Nationally 8 medical societies have pledged to work harder to make us safe from guns:

Firearm-Related Injury and Death in the United States: A Call to Action From 8 Health Professional Organizations and the American Bar Association. Ann Intern Med. 2015;162(7):513-516. doi:10.7326/M15-0337

In Ann Arbor the school board recently made a strong statement about the determination to keep guns out of schools and allow kids to concentrate on their studies.
Meanwhile in Michigan some of our societies are pledging more leadership on this issue. It’s critical that they do so, as little by little Michigan is becoming less safe under our present legislature. For instance, they passed a bill that prevents a citizen from using the Freedom of Information Act to see if a neighbor has a gun license. Formerly, a parent could have checked to see if their child was playing in a home with guns. And last month over PPGV opposition, they did away with local gun licensing boards. These boards with a sheriff, prosecutor, and state police representative kept a small number of people from obtaining gun licenses and undoubtedly saved lives.
Now Senator Mike Green, beloved by the NRA and ALEC wants to stop open carry in schools in favor of “specially trained” concealed carry. He is readying a new bill. This doesn’t inspire me with a sense of relief that safety is going to win out, and Green’s dismissal of any expert argument by physicians on the above bills gives one pause. However, the call from our medical societies has gone out: Get in the Game! Get your Game Face On! You are a doctor, and you should have something to say about how society works.

Emergency Medicine Physicians Urge Prevention of Gun Violence

April 4th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

NEWS | March 25, 2015

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) —

In an editorial posted online today in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, Garen J. Wintemute and Megan Ranney, two practicing emergency medicine physicians from the University of California, Davis, and Brown University — both thought leaders at the forefront of finding solutions to the public health crisis of gun violence — urge their colleagues to take direct action to protect the health and safety of patients and communities.

Their editorial follows the Feb. 24 call to action by eight health professional organizations, including the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the American Bar Association, to reduce firearm injuries and deaths in the U.S. — unprecedented support that suggests mobilization to prevent firearm violence may be underway.

“Firearm violence causes nearly as many deaths as motor vehicle crashes,” said Garen J. Wintemute, an emergency medicine professor at UC Davis and a national authority on evidence-based strategies to prevent firearm violence. “Firearms are involved in most homicides and suicides, and the number of suicides by firearm is increasing — especially among older white men.

“Emergency medicine physicians have limited opportunities to prevent a death once a shooting has occurred, because most people who die from their wounds do so where they are shot. Gun ownership or having a gun in the household is a well-documented risk factor for a violent death. For that reason, we believe physicians should also work to help prevent shootings,” he said.

The authors describe how America successfully reduced motor-vehicle-related deaths by better vehicle and roadway design and public policies that make driving under the influence a crime. Yet no comparable public-health campaign focused on reducing gun violence has been launched.

The authors particularly emphasize the need for a national policy requiring background checks on all transfers of firearms to help prevent access to firearms by those who are prohibited from having them. They recommend adding two other high-risk groups to the list of individuals who are prohibited from purchasing firearms. These include persons with a history of violent misdemeanor convictions, such as assault and battery and domestic violence, as well as those with a documented history of addiction and alcohol abuse.

“Controlled studies of felons, those who have committed violent misdemeanors and persons prohibited for mental-health reasons have all shown reductions in risk for future violence of 25 percent or more when these individuals are denied firearm purchases,” said Megan Ranney, an emergency medicine physician and director of the Emergency Digital Health Innovation program at Rhode Island Hospital and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

The authors also address mental illness and gun violence. While they agree with recommendations that focus on behavior and expanded access to treatment, they emphasize that serious mental illness directly accounts for only 4 percent of interpersonal violence. In contrast, mental illness is associated with between 47 and 74 percent of suicides. The risk of firearm injury increases when mental illness coexists with alcohol abuse, drug abuse and a history of prior violence.

“Physicians need to include questions about firearms when assessing risk of violence in their patients, and need to act on the information, especially when patients are expressing thoughts of dangerousness to themselves or others, are intoxicated or are in the emergency department for a violence-related injury,” Ranney said.

At a time when civilian fatalities from gunshot wounds for 2004 to 2013 have outnumbered combat fatalities from World War II, the authors welcome the unprecedented support from leading organizations of health and legal professionals for policy recommendations to reduce gun violence.

“Physicians can take direct action to protect the health and safety of patients and communities,” Wintemute said. “While we may not all agree on all the specifics, enough of us will agree on enough of them to make a difference for the better.”

We win Gov’s Veto on Senate 789. Now it is Senate 34.

February 23rd, 2015 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

About 2 weeks ago PPGV was part of an effort to defeat Senate Bill 789 that would allow some persons with protective orders against them to obtain a concealed gun permit. Governor Snyder vetoed that bill and made the New York Times and other news while doing it!
Now we are facing a new bill- SB 34. This bill lacks the domestic violence abuser problem, but still poses a public danger according to Daniel Webster MD, a national expert from Johns Hopkins.
The bill’s sponsors say it streamlines the process to a concealed carry permit. To more critical eyes it omits the county gun board made up of sheriff, prosecutor, and others. Instead of the sheriff doing a background check that would be done by the state police. Local eyes would be removed and the process slightly shortened and made less in cost $90 down from $110. But the state police have said it would take about 50 of their partrol officers and $8 million. They originally opposed it.
Michigan has 450,000 CPLs now! And most recently 87, 000 applications a year of which 3-4% were denies and about 250 were denied by local boards. But, these were important denials according to Dr. Webster.
“The best research on the topic of shall issue vs. discretionary concealed carry laws shows evidence that no discretion shall issue laws lead to more gun violence. There is also research showing that many individuals who are not prohibited from possessing guns to keep in their home – legal gun owners – are not so law abiding and most objective people and public safety officials would look at their backgrounds and conclude that it’s too risky for the person to be allowed to carry a concealed loaded firearm outside of their homes. Promoters of nondiscretionary concealed gun policies or no restrictions on concealed carry try to perpetuate a myth that all legal gun owners are God-fearing, rock-solid individuals who are poised to be heroes to take down the next person who attempts a mass shooting or predatory criminals lurking among us. I can try to counter that myth with some facts.
But what would be most effective is for someone on the local boards to give examples of people who they denied a carry permit – prior arrests, drunk driving violations, restraining orders, calls to police at their residences.”
Dr. Webster will voice his concern, but may well not be asked. This week has been a busy one this fast tracking senate action. Moms Demand Action is concerned as are we at PPGV. We will likely write a letter to be read on the Senate floor prior to the vote. It looks like that may not succeed, but clearly this bill creates problems and I think should voice our concern.

Senate Bill 789 and Basics of Game

January 15th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

The Governor has a decision on Senate Bill 789 allowing some domestic abuse suspects to get a concealed carry gun permit. He will decide this very soon. Among other voices, including some of ours, Gabby Giffords and Debbie Dingell have written the governor. These two women are each significant to PPGV. Gabby’s shooting in 2011 sparked us to organize PPGV, asking each of you to join and have a physician voice on this issue- a louder, clearer voice than that of most of organized medicine. And Debbie’s husband, Rep. John Dingell, protested to me that personalizing a gun and making the manufacturers more responsible would not be a good idea. He has deep NRA connections. Now, his wife makes her case for a veto of this bill. The links to their voices are here and here

Playing Defense. My friend, Joe, talks about blocking and tackling, his words for life as sport. To do a good job in life you have to do the basics, blocking and tackling. Nothing fancy, but the job doesn’t get done without a ground game. On gun violence to try not to lose more lives and make us safer we need to get our “ground game” together. In playing defense, as we are now that there are few allies in the Michigan legislature, we need to be able to counter the NRA offensive. That said, how we become better at the basics and at building a winning coalition remains our job- our life. Short range go Everytown for Gun Safety call tool to call the governor. And go to our website ppgv.org or respond to this email to be involved in longer term.

AAFP Action on MAFP Resolutions on Gun Violence

December 4th, 2014 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

In July Resolutions from the MAFP’s Annual Meeting were sent to the AAFP.

There was debate at the AAFP Advocacy Committee that resulted in the following decisions and they were accepted at the Congress.
  RESOLVED, That the American Academy of Family Physicians advocate for regulations to promote safe firearm storage, and be it further

RESOLVED, That the American Academy of Family Physicians advocate for children’s firearm access prevention laws, and be it further

RESOLVED, That the American Academy of Family Physicians support firearm safety training programs.

Another step for the national academy that already had good policy, but we thought there was room for improvement.  And the process may enable other medical societies to follow. If you are interested in the process that was used by family medicine let us know.

Two Michigan resolutions, one on criminal penalties for parents failing to safely store  weapons and another on reinstatement of data collection on gun violence banned under Obamacare  were not dealt with by the advocacy committee and were referred to the Board of Directors directly. Those decisions are not known.