The Road Ahead Friday, Jun 18 2010 

I know it has been a while since I updated this blog. This is, sadly, my last entry.

My year as a fellow at IHI has come to a close. We had a fantastic end of year sponsors meeting that was highlighted by the IHI Fellow’s presentations as well as presentations by Don Berwick, Howard Hiatt and Julio Frenk (Dean Harvard School of Public Health).

Larry Johnston and Nate Richardson traveled here from Huntsville to participate in this end of year celebration and I extend my most heart felt thanks to them.

I will leave you with a favorite poem of mine and nothing more:

‘Traveler, there is no path.
The path is made by walking.

‘Traveller, the path is your tracks
And nothing more.
Traveller, there is no path
The path is made by walking.
By walking you make a path
And turning, you look back
At a way you will never tread again
Traveller, there is no road
Only wakes in the sea.

by Antonio Machado

SWEET HOME ALABAMA Tuesday, Feb 16 2010 

I reside in Madison Alabama and my daughter attends the Discovery Middle School. She turned 13 last week. Two Fridays ago she did not feel well and stayed home. On that Friday, Todd Brown a 9th grade student at Discovery was shot at point blank range in the 9th grade hall way. He died a few hours later and another 9th grader is being charged. We do not know what happened. There is widespread rumor and speculation that the crime was “gang related” and that the alleged shooter was obsessed with “African American culture” whatever that means. In the end, two families are devastated and a small community is left hurt, confused  and deeply affected by this tragedy.

Discovery Middle School is a 15 minutes walk from where I live. The community is quiet and peaceful. Madison was ranked the top place in the USA to raise children in 2009. The schools are excellent and the city is very safe.  A 14 year old  9th grader somehow got a gun and ended the life of Todd Brown.

I practice Internal Medicine in Madison. No less than 200 yards from my office there is a huge billboard telling drivers the stop by Madison Guns and Ammo to “load up”.  Madison Guns is about a 20 minute walk from Discovery Middle School. In a country where many do not believe health care is a right…I question why so many feel so strongly about the right to bear arms. I have never owned a gun and I never will. We have the right to live in a civilized nation. I strongly believe in gun control. You decide for yourself.

I reside 8 miles from Huntsville Alabama proper and a 20 minute drive from the University of Alabama Huntsville campus where it is alleged that Dr. Amy Bishop, Braintree Mass. native, killed three people, one of which attended the same church that I attend.This story continues to unfold and again leaves my community in pain,  and anguish  which is now shared by many right here in Boston where many are second guessing past events.  How does a person with the alleged history of Amy Bishop manage to get a 9mm handgun?

Huntsville Alabama also has received many accolades over the last year including top place to start a business, top place to ride out the recession, top place to start a medical practice and many more. These two incidents are NOT what Huntsville/Madison Alabama is about. Madison County Alabama is a very diverse, professional, and safe place to live. Downtown Huntsville is lined by beautiful antebellum homes, you will find  US Space camp there, it is where the International Space station was built and is home of the US Space and Missile Command, Oakwood College and Alabama A&M University and many very nice people.

Our community is hurting and needs prayer, our children our confused and need to be listened to, loved and counseled. Please pray with us and for us.

–Ron