Physicians and Families 'Make a Difference' for Those in Michigan's Crisis Shelters

Friday, October 23, 2009 General News
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EAST LANSING, Mich., Oct. 22 The Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS) Foundation mobilized hundreds of volunteers this month in its 13th annual statewide effort to help provide basic comforts to those living in Michigan's domestic violence shelters.

Participants volunteering with MSMS go into their communities, distribute plastic bags and ask that they be filled with basic necessities such as over-the-counter medicines, disposable diapers, new socks and underwear, baby food and formula, and household cleaning supplies. Last year, volunteers were able to collect more than 12,000 bags, which helped approximately 24,000 people.

"The women and children in Michigan's domestic violence shelters often arrive there with only the clothes on their backs," said MSMS Foundation President Dorothy M. Kahkonen, MD, Ann Arbor endocrinologist. "We hope these simple gifts will make their lives more comfortable -- more normal -- as they face the difficulties created by domestic violence."

The MSMS Foundation's annual project is held in conjunction with the Gannett Foundation/Points of Light Foundation's national "Make a Difference Day" on Saturday, October 24. This national effort has become the largest day of volunteering. The goal is to rally millions in a day to change the world. MSMS chooses to help those in domestic violence shelters by providing bags filled with basic comforts.

MSMS Foundation partners with many other groups in their effort to help those in shelters across Michigan. They are MSMS physician members and their families; the MSMS Alliance organization of physician spouses; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM); East Lansing-based medical liability insurer American Physicians; Covisint, a subsidiary of Compuware Corporation; and MSMS Physicians Insurance Agency.

"Our communities and our state really do need us, and we are pleased to be able to help through this good project," said Carol Horowitz, President of the MSMS Alliance.

"The Michigan Blues are pleased to partner with the MSMS Foundation," said Cathy Mozham, Blues' director of community responsibility. "Domestic Violence Awareness Month is not just a month-long focus, but has been a multi-year program to reach out to employees, physicians, youth, elder care givers and domestic abuse survivors."

"Covisint is honored to support and partner with the MSMS Foundation in 'Doctors & Their Families Make a Difference Day' to assist those in need," said Brett Furst, Vice President of Healthcare for Covisint. "We take great pride in continually supporting programs of this type across Michigan."

"It's fitting that we undertake this project in October, which is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month," said Thomas C. Payne, MD, a retired Lansing-area radiologist and a member of the American Physicians Advisory Board. "We all need to help in any way we can."

"The MSMS Physicians Insurance Agency is pleased to continue to support the MSMS Foundation in 'Doctors & Their Families Make a Difference Day' to help those in need," said Robert Lieber, of MSMS PIA.

Those wishing to assist in the 2009 "Doctors & Their Families Make a Difference Day" effort may do so by sending a tax-deductible contribution to the MSMS Foundation, P.O. Box 950, East Lansing, MI 48826.

If you, or someone you know is being hurt, call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224 for the name and number of the domestic violence program nearest you.

Also, a domestic violence "tool kit" to help physicians identify, refer and document incidents of domestic violence is available from BCBSM. Physicians may receive a free kit by faxing a request to BCBSM at 248-486-2017.

The MSMS Foundation was founded by the Michigan State Medical Society, a professional association representing more than 15,000 Michigan physicians.

SOURCE Michigan State Medical Society Foundation

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