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Michigan State Medical Society Foundation 'Makes A Difference' by Assisting Those in Crisis Shelters

EAST LANSING, Mich., Oct. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a statewide effort to help provide basic comforts to those living in Michigan's domestic violence shelters, the Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS) Foundation mobilized hundreds of volunteers this month to collect and distribute personal care items in conjunction with the Gannett Foundation/Points of Light Foundation's national "Make a Difference Day" on Saturday, October 27.

"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." This is the MSMS Foundation's 11th annual project titled "Doctors and Their Families Make a Difference."

Partners in the MSMS Foundation's effort to help those in shelters across Michigan 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 Assurance Corporation; SCW Agency Group, Inc., 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 Linda Allen, president of the MSMS Alliance, an organization of physician spouses.

Participating volunteers go into their communities, hang plastic bags on doorknobs and request 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.

"Our goal is to collect thousands of bags filled with donated items," said Mary Crawford, MSMS Alliance board member and Make a Difference project chair. "They will be collected by our volunteers across the state, and distributed to local shelters across Michigan."

"The Michigan Blues are pleased to partner with the MSMS Foundation," said Diana Jones, Blues vice president of community affairs and chair of the Domestic Violence Workgroup. "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."

"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 2007 "Doctors and 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
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