As a community urologist in Muskegon, Michigan, and throughout my twenty-year professional career, I’ve come face-to-face with local gun violence. Both in the operating room and in clinic, I’ve helped care for children, teenagers, and adult victims of gun violence.
Over and over, I’ve witnessed the tragic effects this type of violence has on—not only the victim—but their families, our community, and our state. In Muskegon County alone, our trauma physicians have treated more than 300 cases of gun violence in a four-year period.
We are facing one of the most important public health problems of modern times.
Advocacy role of the Michigan State Medical Society
In addition to my clinical practice, I am also a Member of the Board of the Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS). Recently, a package of bills was introduced into the Michigan State House and Senate aimed at reducing gun violence and improving gun safety, Specifically, the proposed legislation focuses on: background checks for gun purchases, safe storage, and extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs) in our state.
The Michigan State Medical Society exists to advocate for patients and physicians.
Over the last three decades, the MSMS House of Delegates has passed multiple resolutions focused on gun safety and reducing gun violence in the State of Michigan. Last week, with the assistance of our lobbyist, I had the honor of providing testimony on behalf of MSMS to the Michigan State House Judiciary Committee in support of this proposed legislation.
I invite you to watch my testimony (beginning at 1:27:00) and see one of the many ways MSMS helps its members advocate on behalf of their patients.
Advocacy, a collective job
As someone actively involved in research and the implementation of evidence-based prevention programs in my community, physician advocacy is just another way I can help keep my patients and community safe from gun violence.
Today, more than ever, advocacy isn’t someone else’s job, it’s our collective job. If you are a physician and are not already a member of the Michigan State Medical Society and your county medical society, I’d like to personally invite you to join as a member and even serve as a delegate. Contributions to our political action committee are important and welcomed as well.
We need to deploy a complete array of cultural, social, medical, legal, and educational tools and assets. We need to do it together.Michigan State Medical Society