03-15-2018 Letters and Commentary

Correction In the March 8, 2018 issue of the Tri-City Record, an error was made on Page 3 under Hartford Township board meeting reporting the fire department air packs’ grant was turned down. The correct report should say the grant is in process. Tri-City Record is sorry for any inconvenience or confusion this error may have caused.

Speaker series to discuss impact of racism, trauma

Professionals in medicine, allied health fields, and social work, as well as government leaders and community members are invited to attend the first speaker series as part of a three-year event titled Community Grand Rounds: Healing the Trauma of Racism. The free program, “Moving Our Community toward Health Equity: Overcoming the Impact of Trauma and Racism” will take place on Wednesday, April 11 beginning at 3:30 p.m. in the Hanson Theatre at Lake Michigan College, located at 2755 E. Napier Avenue in Benton Harbor. During the event, Lakeland’s Program Director for Trauma-Informed Initiatives, Tasha Turner, MA, LLPC, along with internal medicine physician, Pat Rush, MD, MBA, will discuss the impact of psychological trauma on the brain and the impact of trauma on chronic disease and health inequities. They will also provide scientific evidence-based strategies for overcoming the effects of trauma. Dr. Rush has worked with underserved populations for over 40 years. She retired as Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago. Dr. Rush graduated from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine and completed her internal medicine residency at Cook County Hospital where she also served as Director of Cook County’s Emergency Room for six years. She received a Master’s in Business Administration from University of Chicago with a concentration in strategic management. “Through the care of over 500 patients in a private practice in Chicago I identified a distinct group of high-risk patients with serious chronic illness,” said Dr. Rush. “These patients had a consistent pattern of trauma at a young age, profound sleep disorders, and emotional distress. Although not previously reported in the medical literature, this pattern represents a common pathway for many chronic illnesses and is a major contributor to health disparity.”

Upton, Faso, Dingell, & Esty lead bipartisan push for more mental health funding

U.S. Representatives Fred Upton, R-Michigan; John Faso, R-New York; Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan; and Elizabeth Esty, D-Connecticut; led a bipartisan letter, signed by 28 Members of Congress, to leaders of the House Appropriations Committee pushing for more funding and resources to address mental health issues. “Important reforms in the 21st Century Cures Act made mental health services more affordable, provided new funding authorizations for research programs to develop best practices in mental health treatment that are backed by science, and established new federal grants to increase the number of mental health providers nationwide. In addition, the legislation pushed states to develop early intervention for psychosis and serious mental illness, which is needed for the best hopes of recovery. However, patients and families have yet to benefit from many of these programs due to our government operating on continuing resolutions resulting in the inability to provide funding without completion of the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriation bills,” the lawmakers’ letter reads. “As such, we respectfully request that as you are completing the FY 2018 appropriations package, you include necessary funding to ensure that the programs established in the 21st Century Cures Act achieve the success that was intended by Congress… As our nation faces many challenges, we remain committed to ensuring better identification, treatment and care for those facing mental health issues,” the letter concludes.

Planned Parenthood: a non-political political organization

Dear Editor, As Planned Parenthood’s health services and client figures continue to decline every year, their involvement in the political system continues to expand. And that’s not all. On February 27 it was reported by Buzzfeed News that Planned Parenthood was getting involved in the gun control debate. Planned Parenthood has pledged their support to the March for our Lives event on March 24. CNN reported on March 1 that Planned Parenthood is planning on spending $20 million in eight battleground states as part of their 2018 election plan, including Michigan. And then on March 8, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report to Congress showing that the abortion industry received more than $1.5 billion in federal tax funding and federal-state matching funding from 2013 to 2015. That includes Planned Parenthood Federation of America, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and Marie Stopes International. Can you imagine the outcry if the National Rifle Association received $500 million taxpayer dollars a year for hosting gun safety trainings? Would that fact not be reported on a near-constant basis? What about National Right to Life? The howling would be deafening and unending. Here’s a question that’s not been properly discussed lately: what does a women’s healthcare provider have to do with gun control? If Planned Parenthood’s mission is simply to provide healthcare to women, why get involved in other political issues? Their mission creep goes beyond gun control. In the last year Planned Parenthood has involved itself in nearly every major public policy issue. They’ve been lobbying and making public statements on immigration laws, tax laws, and even telecommunication regulatory policy. Planned Parenthood is a de facto political party now; they have a platform that extends to every major policy issue. It’s perverse to see a major political player receive an incredible chunk of their budget from the taxpayers. Without your tax dollars, Planned Parenthood would have to drastically rethink their business model. Your money affords Planned Parenthood the opportunity to spend $20 million on elections you vote in and lobby your legislators about what Planned Parenthood thinks your tax rates should be. Planned Parenthood is treating the U.S. Treasury as a political slush fund to help them flex their muscles into every aspect of your life. Even people who don’t necessarily object to taxpayer funding of the abortion industry should be concerned about the terrible precedent continued tax funding creates for our national politics. Chris Gast Director of Communication/Education Right to Life of Michigan