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The Power of Organized Medicine

December 6th, 2016 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Dear Docs,

Recently the American Medical Association announced that it has resolved to join the battle to promote the “Call to Action” raised by eight national health professional organizations and reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2015.

The AMA now joins The American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Emergency Physicians, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Physicians, American College of Surgeons, American Psychiatric Association, and The American Public Health Association in calling for:

  • Universal background checks
  • Restrictions on civilian use of military-style assault weapons and large-capacity magazines
  • Elimination of “Gag Laws”
  • CDC funding for gun violence research.

These medical organizations are joined by the American Bar Association, which asserts that the recommendations are not in conflict with the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Cheryl Farmer, a member of our PPGV executive committee and the Michigan State Medical Society, authored the resolution that led to this result. Cheryl wondered why the AMA wasn’t a part of the 2015 “Call” and wanted “the Big Mama” to join us in the fight. She took her resolution from PPGV to the Washtenaw County Medical Society to MSMS and finally to the AMA. And we won! Read about it here:  https://wire.ama-assn.org/ama-news/ama-joins-call-action-stem-tide-gun-violence.

This success shows the way in which organized medicine, through our county and state medical societies, helps physicians protect the public interest. It also shows how PPGV (430 members strong, and growing!) can use its focused commitment to the prevention of gun related injury and death to steer the power of the AMA toward the righteous cause of sensible gun laws. Thanks go out to all: Dr. Farmer, PPGV, WCMS, MSMS, and the AMA!

Statements from our new president–elect suggest that the work ahead of us may be even harder. But as we have seen, much can be accomplished when we work together! Cheers!

Summer’s Work

October 4th, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Chart Notes  September, 2016

PPGV hits 400 members. With recent talks given to Wayne State University Dept. of Family Medicine and UM Medical School we now have 400 members, mostly physicians. It looks like we will continue to present with UM psychiatry medical student rotation.  We are scheduled for a grand rounds at Western Michigan University in October.

New Leaders.  Jody Jones, head of the Michigan College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a member of MiCOG Advocacy Committee and Kim Yu, immediate past president of the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians and a member of MAFP Advocacy Committee recently joined PPGV. Welcome doctor leaders!

Concert Across America. PPGV, led by Sonya Lewis’s organizing effort sponsored a local concert on September 25 in conjunction with over 300 concerts to decrease gun violence across America. Louis Nagel, retired UM professor of piano played a Beethoven sonata. Kevin Fitzgerald conducted a chamber orchestra playing Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. It was beautiful music! And PPGV received over $2500 in donations. Music helps bridge a gap in our culture that is now filled with too many injuries and deaths.

Video of Concert to End Gun Violence

October 3rd, 2016 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Please enjoy this video from last month’s Concert Across America to End Gun Violence featuring pianist Louis Nagel performing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and Kevin Fitzgerald conducting Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. The concert was wonderfully received and we are grateful to everyone who participated, attended, and contributed. Not only did we raise awareness about the epidemic of gun violence in America, we also raised over $2500 thanks to the generosity of our audience members. We hope that through music, we inspired others to work for meaningful change in our country. We are grateful to Genesis of Ann Arbor for graciously hosting this event.

Click here to watch the concert video

Click here to view the concert program – designed by Kate Schlansker




“Mike the Gun Guy” plugs PPGV

September 18th, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Sonya Lewis has organized an Ann Arbor concert for Concert Across America. Mike picked up on it on his blog-
Ann Arbor Is The Location Of An Important Event On September 25th. Get There if You Can.
September 18, 2016
There’s a group of physicians in Michigan who have formed an organization called Physicians for Prevention of Gun Violence (PPGV) which is sponsoring one of the September 25th Concert Across America To End Gun Violence events. Their concert, which will take place in Ann Arbor at the Genesis Center, and will feature performances by the chamber orchestra conducted by Kevin Fitzgerald, as well as solo piano works performed by a member (Emeritus) of the Ann Arbor music faculty, Louis Nagel.

ppgv Events like the Ann Arbor concert are going to take place all over the country, and while the New York and California concerts are going to get the spotlight (how could they not get the spotlight with the artists who are appearing at both venues?) we shouldn’t overlook the value and importance of the more local efforts like the Ann Arbor gig. And the reason we shouldn’t ignore such events is because to really build a national movement for anything, you need to get folks involved in the communities where they work and where they live. After all, it’s one thing to walk into a large, public event where you might or might not know anyone at all. It’s quite another to walk into a room and see other people whom you really know, then all of a sudden the event in that room takes on a special and personal meaning for you.

In the interests of full disclosure (I love that phrase) I happen to know several of the physicians who are active in the PPGV group. The organization got started after the Tucson shooting (of Gabby Giffords) in 2011 and now counts more than 350 members, including clinicians, residents and medical students in all the relevant medical disciplines. In 2014 the group was featured in a journal article published by the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians after the statewide group adopted resolutions on gun violence prevention.

Back in 2014, Detroit’s Police Chief James Craig became a poster-boy for the NRA when he called for law-abiding Detroit residents to arm themselves against crime. Of course this stance also made Craig an immediate resource for the Trump campaign, and he was, along with Dr. Ben Carson (remember him?) conspicuously present during Trump’s recent drop-in tour of the Motor City. The only problem, of course, is that armed citizens or not, Detroit still has one of the highest murder rates in the United States, and the last time I checked, Detroit is still located in Michigan, which means that the members of the PPGV group have plenty of work to do.

But along with work comes opportunity and when I think about what PPGV has accomplished in such a short time, it reminds me of another group of physicians which started advocating over a public health issue back in 1961. The group came together in someone’s apartment and formed Physicians for Social Responsibility to advocate about the health risks posed by nuclear testing and, in particular, the spread of Strontium-90 in the water, soil and air. PSR limped along for a number of years and then, in 1979, decided to give it one last try. The same week that they sent out what they thought might be their last fundraising appeal, the nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island blew. Guess what? In 1985 this group, known now as the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, shared the Nobel Peace Prize.

Am I saying that gun violence is as serious a risk to health as nuclear war? Well, if you consider that over the last five years alone more than half a million Americans have been killed or seriously injured because of guns is a number that probably surpasses what would be the human toll from the detonation of a good-sized nuclear bomb. So I applaud the work of Physicians for Prevention of Gun Violence, I know their September 25th concert will be a great success, and I only hope they and groups like them will continue to forge ahead

Concert Across America Comes to Ann Arbor

September 17th, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence (PPGV) presents Concert Across America in Ann Arbor to raise awareness about the epidemic of gun violence in America at Genesis Synagogue on Sept. 25 from 3-5pm.

Concert Across America is a series of live concerts across the nation – all taking place on the same day with the mission of ending gun violence.

Our program will feature a solo performance by internationally known concert pianist and recently retired University of Michigan piano professor, Louis Nagel.

It will also feature a performance of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, performed by a chamber orchestra comprised of local musicians and conducted by Kevin Fitzgerald, the current music director of ÆPEX Contemporary Performance. He is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan’s School of Music. Kevin co-organized and conducted the phenomenal “Requiem for Orlando” that took place at Hill Auditorium this past June in the wake of the Orlando massacre.

We look forward to bringing awareness to the preventable epidemic of gun violence through the transformative power of music.

Concert Across America to End Gun Violence

September 17th, 2016 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)


PPGV Outreach to Michigan Physicians

July 31st, 2016 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Presentations by PPGV members to Michigan physicians, 2012-2016

Nov. 14, 2012 U of Mich. Dept Fam Med ( JW, JP )

Sept. 15, 2015 Washtenaw Co Med Soc’y ( JW, AZ, JP, SL )

Sept. 17, 2015 Flint Hurley Hosp Int Med ( JW, JP, BW )

Sept. 25, 2015 Marquette Hosp, Fam Med ( BW, JW )

Sept. 29, 2015 Traverse City Munson Hosp Fam Med ( BW, JP )

Nov. 9, 2015     Midland Hosp Fam Med ( BW, JP, JW )

Dec. 3, 2015     MSU Sparrow Hosp  Peds ( BW, JP )

Jan. 2, 2016     U of Mich Ob/Gyn Dept ( JW, SL )

Jan. 12, 2016   MSU Sparrow Hosp Int Med

May 17, 2016   Grand Rapids DeVos Child Hosp Peds ( BW, JP, WMW )

May 17, 2016   Grand Rapids St Mary’s Hosp Fam Med   ( BW, JP, WMW )

April 16, 2016   Chicago, Nat’l Cncl Gun Violence ( SL, AZ )

June 15, 2016   U of Mich Int Med ( JW, JP, SL )

Aug. 17, 2016   Flint Hurley Hosp Peds ( JW, JP, SL )

Sept. 20, 2016 WSU Fam Med ( ? JP, WMW, SL )

Oct. 14, 2016   WMU Fam Med ( ? AZ, SL, BW )

Compiled by James Peggs MD, presenter (JP). Other presenters include:

Andrew Zweifler MD (AZ), Bill Walland MD (BW), Jerry Walden MD (JW), Sonya Lewis MD (SL), and Walter M. Whitehouse MD (WMW)

When the Patient is Packing

June 30th, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Subject: handguns in the clinical setting


As discussed in this morning’s Risk Management presentation following the M and M reports there have been several issues related to patients carrying handguns into the exam rooms during regular doctor/patient visits. The specific case discussed involved a patient who is a federal agent who is fully authorized ( and expected) to carry her weapons at all times and therefore expects to keep them with her during medical visits. A variety of responses to such a scenario were discussed including a reasonable resolution to the initial encounter ( a substitute physician provided care to the patient that day and the clinic manager is looking into providing a lock box for safe storage behind the counter.)

Following today’s meeting I visited the Security office at the UMHS for clarity on policy. I learned the following:

Federal agents are indeed exempt from the restrictions regarding carrying of firearms into the Health System facilities. Traditional law enforcement personnel are expected to report at the front desk that they have weapons and are only allowed to carry if doing so in the performance of security enforcement. Otherwise they check their weapons in a safe location i.e. a lockbox at the hospital.


In no case are patients or their visitors/ family members allowed to carry weapons into the UMHS facilities with the exception of federal agents as described above. If you discover such a breach has occurred you are encouraged to alert Security of the presence of a weapon/s in a manner that respectfully informs the carrier of the hospital policy but hopefully does not inflame emotions.


A patient such as this federal agent should have anticipated the concern her weapons would cause and explained in advance to the staff and her physician that she can and will carry handguns with her at all times.


FYI, in my retirement I have become more active in an organization called Physicians for Prevention of Gun Violence ( PPGV ) which is locally based but whose membership rolls number over 400 physicians across the state.  We have made presentations to various groups of physicians in a Grand Rounds format at over a dozen hospitals and residency programs ( Fam Med, Peds, Int Med) with a focus on recognizing our patients who may be at greatest risk of gun violence. These include CHILDREN, DEPRESSED INDIVIDUALS, PATIENTS EXPOSED TO INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE.

Our message :

  1. Ask about guns in the home and safe storage plans
  2. Provide safe storage info ( UM Injury Center has a great 2-sided handout)
  3. Consider any gun in the home of a depressed patient as dangerous and urge removal.
  4. Be alert to signs of intimate partner abuse (e.g. a set of routine risk questions in our current UMHS health maintenance q’airre) and inform of the greater risk of gun violence in this setting/ direct toward counseling.)
  5. PPGV has decals for your office/home preventing guns. $1.

Thanks, Jim Peggs



June 13th, 2016 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Dear PPGV Members,

As we reflect on the unspeakable events in that occurred in Orlando this past weekend, it is impossible to find words that adequately describe our sadness, anger, and horror. We extend our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their loved ones who must suddenly adjust to circumstances that are beyond comprehension.

One way in which we can be helpful in this time of grief is by encouraging individuals to donate blood to assist survivors who are currently fighting for their lives in Orlando area hospitals. Although the immediate response to calls for blood donations was overwhelming, there will be an ongoing need for blood in the days to come. If you know anyone who lives in or around Orlando, please urge them to contact OneBlood at www.oneblood.org or call 1.888.9Donate to arrange to make a donation.

As we keep the victims and their loved ones in our hearts, let us continue to speak out loudly to our local and national legislators to advocate for sensible gun legislation such as universal and comprehensive background checks and a ban on assault rifles. Let us also use our voices to teach our patients, co-workers, friends, and families about gun safety, safe storage, and prevention of access to individuals who should not have access to firearms including children, cognitively impaired adults, substance abusers, domestic abusers, and anyone in the midst of a mental health crisis.

As medical professionals and as compassionate human beings we must work together to heal our suffering society and to prevent our country from succumbing to the forces of hate, intolerance, fear, and destruction.

Thank you for your support of PPVG and for your commitment to promoting health, safety, and peace through the prevention of senseless gun violence.


Physicians for Prevention of Gun Violence Executive Committee

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